Reinstated, Wajir governor wants Treasury to freeze county spending

Mr Mohamed Abdi Mohamud

Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Reinstated Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud now wants the National Treasury, the Controller of Budget and the Central Bank to temporarily freeze the county’s spending, save for salaries.

Mr Mohamud said handover reports and preliminary audits of projects need to be scrutinised to help safeguard public funds and resources.

Addressing journalists in Nairobi on Thursday, he lauded Wednesday’s High Court decision as a win for devolution. He said he would hold his first cabinet meeting on March 11.

The governor lauded the Judiciary for concluding the case against him quickly despite numerous challenges.

“I thank the Judiciary for that and more importantly in setting an important threshold for the removal of a governor from office, which is a major win for not only the people of Wajir but also devolution at large,” he said.

The decision was also a milestone victory for current and future governors who might face similar political antagonism, he noted.

“The landmark judgment issued yesterday (Wednesday) will go a long way in guiding county assemblies and the Senate on how to properly conduct impeachment proceedings and to avoid victimising governors through the application of the law of the jungle,” he said.

“As confirmed by the judges, my impeachment was unlawful and unconstitutional.”
He said he would embark on receiving handover reports from county departments during the transitional period.

“Handing over is a process. I, therefore, expect departmental reports by (executives) and chief officers to be given to me during this transitional period. This is important for smooth operations and service delivery. Shortly, I will engage with them at the county government offices in this regard,” he said.

The governor challenged the Senate to protect devolution and uphold the Constitution.
He also extended an olive branch to his deputy Ahmed Ali Mukhtar to work with him for the benefit of the people of Wajir.

“To the people of Wajir, my dedicated ultimate service to you is unwavering. I would like to extend a warm hand to the Deputy Governor Ahmed Ali Mukhtar and invite him to work with me as we did since 2017,” he said.

“I also would wish to convey my gratitude to my legal team, led by Prof Tom Ojienda, Peter Wanyama, Martin ole Kamwaro and Njiri Ndegwa, as well as the Council of Governors for their support and encouragement.”

Mr Wanyama said at the press briefing that Mr Mohamud’s impeachment was declared null and void and so “he remains the governor”.

The Meru High Court on Wednesday overturned Mr Mohamud’s impeachment, saying his removal from office was illegal.

In a judgment delivered via video link, justices Edward Muriithi, Patrick Jeremy Otieno and Thripsisa Cherere ruled that there was no public participation during the impeachment at the Wajir County Assembly.

And to allow a smooth handover, the judges ruled that Mr Mohamud resume office on March 10 when Mr Mukhtar, who had taken over as governor, is supposed to vacate office.