What you need to know:
- In the ruling on the BBI last week, the High Court said President Kenyatta contravened Chapter Six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity.
- At least 117 MPs would need to show their support before motion is tabled.
Allies of Deputy President William Ruto have dismissed suggestions to impeach President Uhuru Kenyatta despite a court ruling exposing the Head of State to such an action.
In the ruling on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) last week, the High Court said President Kenyatta contravened Chapter Six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity.
City-based lawyer Charles Kanjama yesterday said any MP who wants to impeach the President has the basis to do so.
“This is strengthened by the President’s failure to appoint 41 judges. There have been other grounds before,” he said.
However, MPs in Dr Ruto’s team said they would not be party to such a scheme. Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua said their focus is to see the Jubilee government complete its second term.
“Mr Kenyatta is our President. Why would we impeach our own? Ours is to support him define his legacy,” he said.
Mr Gachagua’s Keiyo South colleague Daniel Rono said the Ruto group has been humiliated before “but we will not reward a wrong with another wrong”.
The harder task
“We have no reason to plant seeds of discord. The Bible advises us never to pay evil with evil. Our ultimate goal is the presidency in 2022,” Mr Rono said.
Initiating such a motion at the National Assembly requires the support of at least 117 MPs.
Only 83 Ruto-allied lawmakers voted for the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, 2020 when it went to the floor, with Mr Kenyatta’s side marshalling 235.
While getting 117 MPs might be possible, the harder task is in securing a two-thirds majority – or 233 lawmakers – needed to send the trial of the President to the Senate.
The President’s side, with the support of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and other pro-BBI parties and leaders hit the two thirds majority at the National Assembly and Senate for the first time during the vote.
There would be another hurdle – the rules issued by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi in 2015.
“Averments made in the special motions should be accompanied by evidence, including annexures and sworn testimony,” the Speaker said.
According to Prof X. N Iraki of the University of Nairobi, impeaching the President could backfire on Dr Ruto.
“I doubt if anyone has the numbers to impeach the President. Which MP or senator wants to rock the boat with less than two years to the elections? If the DP attempts that, he will fall into the trap of disloyalty,” he said.
Mr Javas Bigambo, a political analyst, said if the DP’s camp entertains an impeachment motion against Mr Kenyatta, it would turn the tide of vengeance against Dr Ruto.
“The DP could lose the favour he would have received from Mt Kenya. He must not be seen to celebrate the indictment of the President by the court. He must be seen at least to sympathise with the President even though such would be crocodile tears,” Mr Bigambo said.
Belgut MP Nelson Koech said impeaching the President has never crossed the DP’s camp’s mind.
“We said were are not interested in BBI as the country has other things to focus on. The court has vindicated our position,” Mr Koech said, sentiments echoed by his Turkana North counterpart Christopher Nakileau.
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said the President’s side is not worried.
“The court was wrong and the DP does not have numbers to do anything in Parliament,” he said.