It might soon be difficult to impeach a governor if the court grants the Council of Governor’s prayers to give an advisory on the threshold for impeachment.
The county chiefs will Thursday hold a crisis meeting to discuss, among others, ways of safeguarding devolution against perennial impeachments.
Three county bosses have lost their seats in the past year after the Senate upheld their removal by their county assemblies.
They also want the courts to establish the rationale for publishing Gazette notices declaring the impeachment of a governor at night.
Through their chairman Martin Wambora (Embu), governors say the impeachments have been riddled with politics and the threshold lowered, thus costing them their jobs.
“We are going to discuss the issue. The threshold has been lowered. Clearly, it is politics that has been at play both in the Senate and county assemblies,” Wambora told the Star.
On Monday last week, former Wajir Governor Mohammed Abdi Mohamud lost his job after senators upheld his impeachment. He was accused of gross violation of the Constitution, the Public Finance Management Act, the Public Asset and Disposal Act and the County Government Act.
He joined Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) and Mike Sonko (Nairobi) who were hounded out of their offices in January and December last year respectively for gross violation of the Constitution, abuse of office and gross misconduct.
According to the chairman, the full council meeting set for Thursday will explore several ways, including but not limited to moving to court to seek the interpretation of the threshold of impeachment.
“In Nigeria, it is a bench of judges that hears impeachments then files a report to the Senate for a vote. Maybe these are things we should explore,” he said.
The governors claim senators and MCAs have turned into ‘lynch mobs’.
They lament that they have in some cases violated valid court orders barring them from prosecuting impeachments.
They gave an example of Mohamud, saying he had court orders but the same were ignored. They held that the courts must establish the right threshold for impeaching them.
However, senators have defended their action as justified, saying governors have turned the county governments into their personal property.
Article 181 of the Constitution highlights grounds for the impeachment of a governor. They are gross violation of the Constitution or any other law, abuse of office or gross misconduct.
A governor can also be removed when there are reasons to believe he or she has committed a crime under national or international law, or if he or she exhibits any physical or mental incapacity to perform office functions.
However, the interpretation of what constitutes a gross violation of the Constitution, or any other law or abuse of office or gross misconduct is left to the impeachment body to decide.
According to a letter of notice dated May 24 and marked as urgent by Wambora, the meeting shall be held at Tamarid Tree Hotel in Nairobi.
“The meeting shall be physical. There will be no provision for a virtual link,” reads the letter.
The county bosses will also discuss the condition of grants following Parliament’s decision to withhold cash amounting to about Sh4 billion for lack of a legal framework after a court ruling.
They will also discuss the frequent delays to delayed release of funds by the National Treasury that stifle operations of most counties.
Also on the agenda is the status of the seventh devolution conference that was cancelled because of the coronavirus, as well governors’ pension.