Counties

Impeachment of CEC halted

kericho

Kericho County Assembly. PHOTO | JACOB OWITI | NMG

Summary

  • Justice Onesmus Makau quashed a decision by the MCAs to start the impeachment of Barnabas Ng’eno for reinstituting the Kericho and Litein municipal boards in January last year.
  • The judge said the county assembly and the Speaker were victimising and removing Mr Ngeno from office without following the due process of the law.

The Labour and Industrial Relations Court has barred Kericho MCAs from impeaching Land Lands, Housing and Physical Planning executive over alleged irregular reconstitution of two municipal boards.

Justice Onesmus Makau quashed a decision by the MCAs to start the impeachment of Barnabas Ng’eno for reinstituting the Kericho and Litein municipal boards in January last year.

The judge said the county assembly and the Speaker were victimising and removing Mr Ngeno from office without following the due process of the law.

“I grant a permanent injunction restraining the respondents (county assembly and Speaker) from initiating any impeachment proceedings against Mr Ng’eno because the process amounts to victimisation for a collective decision of the whole executive committee of the County Government of Kericho to reconstitute the municipal boards,” stated the judge.

Mr Ng’eno was alleged to have violated the law by allowing the chief officer for urban areas and two senior public officers to take an oath of office as members of the boards before county assembly vetting and approval.

MCAs argued that the process violated the Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011 and the Constitution.

On January 22, 2021, the MCAs approved a Motion to form a select committee to investigate the conduct of the CEC setting, the stage for the impeachment.

But Justice Makau said the minister was not served with the impeachment Motion tabled and approved at the assembly.

“The petitioner’s right to fair administrative action was breached by being invited to appear before the select committee to defend himself from allegations he did not know in advance and without any outlined scope,” said the judge.

Secondly, the motion tabled before the Assembly for approval was not supported by at least one-quarter of the MCAs.

The court also observed that the basis for the impeachment process was the reconstitution of the Kericho and Litein Municipal Boards.

Justice Makau said the reconstitution was not done at the whims of Mr Ngeno but pursuant to the change of the law vide the Urban and Cities (Amendment) Act No 3 of 2019.

“In addition the petitioner alone cannot complete the exercise of reinstituting the Boards without approval by the Executive Committee. The County Assembly and the Speaker have not rebutted what the petitioner alluded to in his petition that the report of the reconstitution was presented to, and received approval by the County Executive Committee before being forwarded to the County Assembly,” said the judge.

“He is being treated as the sacrificial lamb for collective action taken by the Executive Committee including the Governor,” said the judge.

He ruled that the result of the law violations is that the whole impeachment process is fatally incompetent and void from the beginning.

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