Governor Nyaribo under fire as MCAs threaten to impeach him

Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo's decision to sack his health secretary, Dr Timothy Ombati, over corruption allegations has put him on a collision course with a section of the county's ward representatives.

The MCAs want the governor to resign, claiming that the Health executive's dismissal was irregular.

Mr Nyaribo sacked Dr Ombati over allegations that the health executive had misappropriated about Sh37 million meant for the purchase of drugs for various hospitals in the county, including Nyamira Level Four Hospital.

The governor gave the CEC his marching orders last week at the end of a 30-day compulsory leave.

Mr Nyaribo accused Dr Ombati of misleading the governor's office about the county's purchase of drugs worth Sh37 million.

However, the MCAs led by the Deputy Speaker, Thaddeus Nyabaro (Ekerenyo MCA) and the Deputy Majority Leader, Duke Masira (Nyamira Township) joined local leaders in condemning the county boss for sacking Dr Ombati, claiming that the health executive was a victim of witch-hunt because he did not belong to the governor's clan.

The MCAs called on the governor to resign or face impeachment for what they described as abuse of power.

"In the interest of fairness, Mr Nyaribo should vacate office to allow for independent investigations to unearth the truth behind the alleged theft of money meant for the purchase of drugs in public hospitals," said Mr Nyabaro.

The leaders claimed that the CEC was not the designated accounting officer of the health ministry, pointing out that if the sacking was genuine, the first person to be shown the door should be the chief officer.

"We do not have any drugs in any of the facilities. Even the one they told us they had delivered, we have not seen anything there. And that is why our people are running away from our facilities to the clinics that we have around here," said Mr Nyabaro.

"I can tell you that every second time our brothers and sisters visit our premises for medication, they are told to go to a private pharmacy to buy the prescribed medication."

The MCAs called on Governor Nyaribo to step aside and invite the EACC to investigate the alleged fraud "instead of punishing this great man who has worked tirelessly for the good of the county".

Some leaders also accused the governor of allowing malpractices in his leadership and questioned his moral integrity to crack the whip.

A Nairobi-based lawyer, Dunstan Omari, who hails from Nyamira, has threatened to go to court to challenge the sacking.

Mr Omari claimed that Dr Ombati's dismissal was irregular.

"He was sacked unprocedurally," Mr Omari said, "no money was lost and he is not the accountant. He is just a victim of clannism".

In the sacking letter, the governor alleged that on 13 July 2023, Dr Ombati lied to him while commissioning the distribution of drugs that he - Ombati - had delivered the consignments to the entire county.

"Your services to Nyamira County Government as a County Executive Member are hereby terminated and you are dismissed from service with effect from the date of this letter," the letter reads in part.

Mr Nyaribo alleged that he had directed the health department to purchase drugs for the entire county, but the consignment delivered was for a section of the devolved unit.

Mr Nyaribo further alleged that Dr Ombati had acted dishonestly by misleading him about the purchase of the drugs. The governor concluded that the executive had betrayed the trust placed in him as a senior government official.