You can’t dislodge Ruto by collecting signatures, DP Gachagua tells Azimio

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during a fundraising event in support of women's groups and boda boda groups in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County on June 23, 2023.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Saturday dismissed Raila Odinga's move to collect signatures across the country in a bid to dislodge the Kenya Kwanza administration, saying it was a waste of time and has no constitutional backing.

Mr Gachagua says the attempt to start an impeachment process by collecting signatures is futile and that the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition is deceiving its supporters.

According to Mr Gachagua, "There is no provision in our constitution giving a leeway to remove a sitting president through signatures."

"The provision is that you vie in an election and win", he said Saturday.

Mr Odinga on Friday said he intends to collect 10 million signatures in a bid to remove his arch-rival President William Ruto from office.

The 78-year-old lost the August 2022 election to Dr Ruto and has repeatedly denounced the poll as "stolen".

Article 145 of the Constitution, however, does not list signature collection as part of the requirement in impeaching a president.

The constitution provides that a member of the National Assembly, supported by at least a third of all the members, may move a motion for the impeachment of the President.

The Article list gross violation of the Constitution, when the President has committed a crime under national or international law or gross misconduct as the only grounds for impeaching a President.

If such a motion is supported by at least two-thirds of all the MPs, the National Assembly Speaker shall inform his Senate counterpart of the resolution within two days. At the Senate, the law requires the House to form a special committee of 11 members to investigate charges against the President, which if substantiated requires a vote by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate to have the President leave office.

Azimio, on its part, argues that the signature collection was to make the process a people-driven one, with Mr Odinga insisting the people were sovereign and that while their elected representatives could move on their own motion to push such an agenda, on this, they needed—and would have—the backing of the most powerful person in the chain, the people.  

Last week, Dr Ruto signed into law a finance bill expected to generate more than $2.1 billion for the government's depleted coffers and help repair the heavily-indebted economy.

The Finance Act provides for new taxes or increases on basic goods such as fuel and food and mobile money transfers, as well as a controversial levy on all taxpayers to fund a housing scheme.

The government says the taxes will help create jobs and reduce public borrowing.

The Nairobi high court last month suspended implementation of the legislation after a senator filed a case challenging its constitutional legality.

But Kenya's energy regulator nevertheless announced a hike in pump prices after the doubling of VAT to 16 percent as stipulated in the law.