Governor Nyaribo survives impeachment attempt

Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo

Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo before the County Public Investment Committee (CPIC) at KICC, Nairobi on September 21, 2023.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Speaker of Nyamira County Assembly Enock Okero said the motion did not attain the threshold, so it has been shot down.
  • Mr Nyaribo was facing 12 accusations, including illegal recruitment of staff, non-remittance of statutory dues, favouritism and nepotism.

Nyamira County Governor, Amos Nyaribo, has survived an impeachment motion after Members of the County Assembly pushing for his removal failed to attain the two-thirds threshold during a vote on Tuesday afternoon.

Sixteen MCAs voted Yes while 18 MCAs voted no. 

Speaking immediately after the vote tallying exercise, Speaker of Nyamira County Assembly Enock Okero said the motion did not attain the threshold, so it has been shot down.

"It (the motion) can only be brought back to the House after six months," the Speaker said. 

A 12-point impeachment motion was tabled in the County Assembly last Tuesday. 

According to the 19-page document, Mr Nyaribo faced 12 charges, including illegal recruitment of staff, failure to remit statutory dues, favouritism and nepotism.

"This was the most blatant abuse of power by a county assembly where your opponents are ganging up with other leaders in the devolved unit to remove you from power to take over," said Rigoma Ward MCA Nyambega Gisesa. 

In particular, the strategy of Mr Nyaribo's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) party on Monday to whip its members to vote down the impeachment motion appears to have worked in the governor's favour. 

Governor Nyaribo is the leader of the UPA, which has a majority in the Nyamira County Assembly.

Nyamira has 20 elected and 15 nominated MCAs: UPA (six), Orange Democratic Movement (four), Jubilee (two) and Ford Kenya (two).

Wiper, United Democratic Alliance, Amani National Congress, PPOK and KNC have one MCA each. There is one county representative elected on an independent ticket.

Elected and nominated MCAs together give the UPA nine members.

However, the party lost its majority leader in the Assembly, Elijah Osiemo, in a gruesome road accident last month.

In a letter to all party members in Nyamira County Assembly, UPA Secretary General Jacob Bagaka threatened disciplinary action against anyone who doesn't vote to save their party leader from the axe.

"The party hereby directs all UPA party members in the Nyamira County Assembly to oppose and/or vote down the above motion sponsored by Mr Reuben Miinda Riechi for the removal of Mr Amos Kimwomi Nyaribo, the Governor of Nyamira County Government," Mr Bagaka's letter reads in part.

Mr Bagaka noted that it is the position of the UPA party that must not be contravened in terms of Article 4.5. (v) of the party constitution which requires members to respect and abide by the decisions of the regular party organs.

"Any member of the UPA party who affixes his signature to the said motion, supports the same, speaks in favour of the same and votes in favour of the said motion shall be deemed to have violated Article 4.5.1 (v) of the UPA constitution and shall be liable for disciplinary action under Article 4.6.1 (ii) & (iii) of the UPA constitution which provides for termination of party membership," the letter added. 

The Nation has established that UPA had approached other Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya Coalition member parties, including ODM to help them rescue Mr Nyaribo.

As a result, ODM and other pro-Azimio parties reportedly approached their MCAs to give dialogue a chance.

The impeachment motion, moved by Esise Ward MCA Josiah Mang'era, sought to show the door to Mr Nyaribo under Article 8(1)(a), (b), (c) of the Constitution of Kenya, Section 33 of the County Government Act (2012) and Standing Order No. 62 of the Nyamira County Assembly.

Mr Mang'era accused Mr Nyaribo of subverting the norms of the law by allegedly cherry-picking Godfrey Nyang'au and Elmelda Nyaberi as the Director of Human Resource Management and Human Resource Officer respectively.

The governor was also accused of disobeying a court order by Justice Christine Baari that made the appointment of Mr Nyang'au and Ms Nyaberi illegal.

In May 2023, the motion accused the governor of bypassing the County Assembly when he suspended the CEO of the County Public Service Board in the middle of an active recruitment exercise.

The suspended CEO, the motion said, had been replaced by a junior and unqualified officer.

Mr Mang'era also wanted Mr Nyaribo removed from office for alleged nepotism and favouritism, non-remittance of statutory deductions, irregular reallocation of emergency funds, dysfunctional revenue automation system and failure to complete construction of the county headquarters office complex.