Politics

Why bid to oust Ngilu failed

Why bid to oust Ngilu failed

Summary

  • Wiper reps spent several hours holed up in meetings, where each was tasked with “sweet-talking” their colleagues from the side backing Ms Ngilu to convince them into supporting the impeachment.
  • The Nation established that at stake were six crucial votes required to guarantee the success of the botched motion in the assembly.
  • With hours remaining to the D-Day, the focus was who between Ms Ngilu and former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper would command enough numbers to either pass or defeat the motion.

A flurry of meetings and intense lobbying by Wiper Party Ward reps yesterday culminated in the last-minute decision to withdraw the impeachment motion against Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu.

The motion, which was supposed to be tabled on the floor of the county assembly today, was called off after the mover, Mr Peter Kilonzo (the majority leader), failed to garner the requisite two-thirds majority of 36 votes.

Wiper reps spent several hours holed up in meetings, where each was tasked with “sweet-talking” their colleagues from the side backing Ms Ngilu to convince them into supporting the impeachment.

The Nation established that at stake were six crucial votes required to guarantee the success of the botched motion in the assembly.

With hours remaining to the D-Day, the focus was who between Ms Ngilu and former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper would command enough numbers to either pass or defeat the motion.

STAND WITH NGILU

When it became apparent that about 25 Assembly members had firmly decided to stand with Ms Ngilu, including some from Wiper, a decision was reached that the motion be withdrawn by failing to gazette it as required in law.

This conclusion by Wiper ward reps was reached to avoid the embarrassment of losing the impeachment motion, because initially the majority leader had announced that more than 40 reps were supporting him.

Mr Kilonzo told a hurriedly convened press conference that he had notified Assembly Speaker George Ndotto of his decision to drop the motion from today’s order paper due to “unavoidable circumstances”.

'NOT PICKING CALLS'

Revealing the frustration of his efforts to raise the required numbers, he claimed that some of the reps who had signed up to support the impeachment motion had since changed their minds and were not even picking his calls.

Wiper enjoys a majority of 30 elected and nominated MCAs in the 54-member assembly, but two members – Mr Kasee Musya (Kisasi ward) and Mr James Musyoka (Kiomo Kyethani ward) — broke ranks with their party and announced they would oppose the motion.

With 28 members remaining, the mover was supposed to convince eight reps from other parties to garner the requisite two-thirds majority of 36 votes to see the motion sail through.

On the other hand, Ms Ngilu’s party has 12 members but it enjoys the support of ward reps from smaller political parties and independents.

Two hours later, the Speaker dispatched a letter to the governor communicating that the motion had been dropped and hence cancelling the summons he had earlier issued.

“This is to inform you that due to unavoidable circumstances, the mover has called off the tabling of the motion, which was scheduled for Wednesday (today),” Mr Ndotto’s letter read in part.

The Speaker said the assembly will invite Ms Ngilu in good time and in line with the county assembly standing orders once the mover gives his intention to table the said motion.

ANGRY REACTIONS

Mr Ndotto’s letter drew angry reactions from the Executive, with the governor protesting that the Speaker had no powers to withdraw the motion.

Through her lawyers Martin Oloo and Morris Kimuli, Ms Ngilu accused the Speaker of violating the law to shield the mover of the motion from facing her team at the assembly.

She said the procedure on the removal of a governor is guided by Article 8 of the Constitution and Section 33 of the County Government Act, and an impeachment motion cannot be withdrawn by a letter from the Speaker.

“The law says the motion should proceed for debate if it garners a third of members in support, therefore the Speaker doesn’t have the discretion to amend the constitutional provisions guiding the impeachment process and cannot purport to withdraw the motion,” Mr Oloo said.

In a terse letter to the Speaker, the governor said the mover should proceed to table the motion to have the matter settled on the floor of the assembly to avoid polarising the county further.