Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo suffered a major setback on Friday when the county assembly impeached four county executive committee members accused of incompetence, gross misconduct and violation of the law.
The four, who are now waiting to be sacked by the governor in line with the assembly's resolution, are Pamela Kimwele (Public Service), Amos Kutwa (Health), Paul Mbuni (Lands) and Kenneth Keseko (Trade).
The impeachment process began on May 27 following the tabling of four motions that led to formation of four select committees to probe the conduct of the four executives.
And during the Friday's special sitting presided over by Speaker Hasna Mudeizi, the four were also accused of corruption and mismanagement of county government affairs.
This, they said, affected the performance of the governor and his administration and asked Dr Ottichilo to act on the assembly's resolution. Thirty three out of the 38 MCAs attended the special sitting.
Should Dr Ottichilo accede to the resolution to send the officers packing, his executive committee will be left with only six CECs.
The sacking comes at a time when political temperatures in the county have heightened after residents petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to suspend Dr Ottichilo's administration.
Former County Secretary Francis Ominde and political analyst Joseph Simekha are currently leading a signature collection drive to force the suspension of the county government over allegations of incompetence and corruption.
Engineer Keseko was the first to be shown the door following approval of the motion that was moved by Shiru Ward MCA Nixon Butiya. During the sitting, 32 MCAs voted in favour of the impeachment of Eng Keseko, one abstained while five were absent.
Mrs Kimwele was the second to be removed after all the 33 MCAs supported her impeachment that was moved by Banks Ward MCA Mr Collins Ayugu. Lands Executive Mbuni suffered a similar fate after 30 MCAs voted in favour of his ouster. The removal motion was moved by Central Maragoli MCA Evans Chunguli.
Abuse of office
Thirty 30 MCAs voted to compel Dr Ottichilo to sack Dr Kutwa after the motion by Mungoma Ward Representative Wycliffe Masini was approved. Moving the motion against Eng Keseko, Mr Butiya accused him of abuse of office, incompetence and gross violation of the Constitution.
Mr Butiya claimed that Eng Keseko had influenced road contracts in favour of his own companies and firms allied to his associates.
This, Mr Butiya said, is a violation of Section 16 of the Leadership and Integrity Act that bars officers against showing personal interests that conflict with official duties.
Eng Keseko was also accused of failing to implement the Vihiga County Trade and Enterprise Fund and the Vihiga County Markets Management Act.
In Mrs Kimwele's case, Mr Ayugu - the motion mover - told the House the embattled Public Service Executive usurped the powers of the County Public Service Board and undertook "an expensive" staff audit that cost the devolved unit Sh46 million.
Staff audit, according to the MCAs, falls under the County Public Service Board and not the CEC's mandate.
Violation of the law
The assembly further said the CEC failed to take charge of the county payroll leading to the rise of the wage bill to 46.7 per cent.
The MCAs accused Ms Kimwele of failing to develop a staff establishment through her department in line with Section 5(2) of the County Public Service Human Resource Manual.
Mr Chunguli, while moving the impeachment motion against Mr Mbuni, said his actions when he served as Public Service Executive were in violation of the law.
Mr Mbuni, currently the Lands CEC, was accused of irregular procurement, conception and construction of the county data centre that cost the taxpayer Sh95 million.
He was also accused of presiding over "many irregular entries" into the county payroll and influencing the employment of his son at the county.
"He influenced the employment of his own relatives to the department where he was the head. He therefore violated Article 10 of the Constitution and the PFM Act," said Mr Chunguli.
In Dr Kutwa's case, Mr Masini - while moving the impeachment motion - said the Health CEC failed to curb the perennial unrest of health workers in agitation for promotions and non-payment of health workers.
Mr Masini said Dr Kutwa presided over the employment of extra 181 health workers, causing a difficulty in paying salaries. At least 528 health workers have gone without salaries for 20 months.
This, added Mr Masini, caused health care workers to suffer over continuous salary delays without justifiable reasons from the health department.