By: JOHN NJAGI
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru was on Wednesday saved — for the third time — from sacking, after National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi rejected an impeachment motion, sparking a walkout by opposition MPs from the chamber.
Mr Muturi told the House that he had used his discretion, as provided for in the standing orders, to reject the impeachment motion initiated by Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter.
The MP said his motion was supported by 188 members, well above the 88 required by law.
Standing orders allow the Speaker to reject a motion on various grounds, including insufficient evidence.
“These are your standing orders and not unless you change them, this is what they provide. The mover of the special motion has to provide the evidence and annexes indicating what violations the CS is alleged to have made and which sections of the Constitution were breached as a result,” he ruled.
TAKING ORDERS FROM “STATE HOUSE”
Mr Keter called a press conference to protest the decision and accused the Speaker of working under orders from “State House”.
He said Mr Muturi had made “suspect” demands that pointed to special treatment of Ms Waiguru.
“During the impeachment motion (against) Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, similar conditions were not placed, so why is it different with Ms Waiguru? The Speaker, under the direction of State House, is working to stop the impeachment of the minister, but we will not relent,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi had claimed that the “boss” intervened to save Ms Waiguru from a similar impeachment motion that the Jubilee MP had filed 14 months ago.
During a morning show on Citizen TV, the MP said the Executive prevailed upon him to drop the motion.
Mr Linturi said he had a discussion with the President, who explained that the timing of the motion was wrong.
“We had all the necessary signatures and the motion had been slated for debate, but ODM and Cord had come up with the Okoa Kenya issue and we said the timing of this motion is not good and if we do this now, it will bring down the government,” he said. “There was a lot of goodwill, but there was a lot of discontent from the Executive as to whether this motion should be discussed.”
EACC GRILLS WAIGURU
Ms Waiguru appeared before the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on Tuesday and was questioned for more than two hours.
Later in the evening, her lawyer, Mr Ahmednasir Abdullahi, claimed that Ms Waiguru would at best be a witness in the case involving the loss of Sh791 million and attempted theft of Sh800 million from the National Youth Service (NYS), which falls under her ministry. Ms Waiguru did not address reporters. She left EACC headquarters after 7pm.
On Wednesday, EACC officials could not say whether the Devolution CS would be treated as a witness or a suspect. The officials said investigations were still under way.
“It is our rule not to make any statements on incomplete investigations,” said an official, who refused to be identified because of the sensitivity of the case.
On Thursday, EACC officials are scheduled to meet 12 envoys for talks on corruption in government.
On Wednesday, Mr Keter described Mr Muturi’s ruling as suspect, saying it was meant to hinder the success of the impeachment motion.
He claimed the Speaker was acting with the authority of “State House” to throw out the motion.
Mr Muturi’s ruling sparked a walkout by Cord MPs, led by Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo, who accused the Speaker of abusing his powers and superseding the Constitution.
“The Constitution is very clear on the procedure of impeaching a Cabinet Secretary and the Speaker cannot purport to use his discretion to supersede the law,” said Mr Midiwo.
ODM chairman John Mbadi said the Speaker was working at the behest of other forces and accused State House of attempting to legislate “through the back door”.
However, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale accused the Opposition of doing a poor job of drafting the motion.
He also said they had used the “wrong man” for the job.
“The Opposition picked the wrong renegade member of Jubilee, who has failed to provide the proper grounds for the impeachment of Ms Waiguru,” said Mr Duale.
Although Mr Keter claimed he had obtained 180 signatures from MPs who, he said, supported the motion, Mr Muturi demanded that the Nandi Hills MP substantiate the grounds under which Ms Waiguru was to be impeached before he could approve the motion. An MP requires the support of at least 88 others to move such a motion.
Mr Keter vowed to push for the motion to be approved, arguing that it met the threshold for introduction in the House.
Similar demands were not made last year when Mr Linturi sought to impeach Ms Waiguru. The motion was, however, withdrawn because the MP was absent from the House when he was supposed to move it.
On Wednesday, Mr Linturi said he regrets giving in to pressure from the “boss” to withdraw the motion, stating that the level of corruption at the NYS and the Devolution Ministry would not have reached the current levels.
“I was very clear from the beginning why I was doing it and I think had I been allowed, the problems we are seeing today would not be there.”
Asked why the Devolution CS, unlike her counterparts Charity Ngilu (Lands), Felix Koskei (Agriculture), Kazungu Kambi (Labour), Davis Chirchir (Energy) and Joseph Kamau (Transport), has not been suspended, Mr Linturi said: “Waiguru is not like anybody else, she is a super lady, a super minister with all the protection.”
SOURCE: DAILY NATION