Court declines to nullify Waiguru impeachment

The High Court has declined to nullify the impeachment of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.

Justice Weldon Korir on Thursday declined to overturn the impeachment, ruling that the county assembly had proved it did not violate any court orders.

Judge Korir had barred the MCAs from tabling the motion in April because Waiguru had argued that because of Covid-19, she could not leave her home.

The governor told the court that she had a pre-existing medical condition that had forced her not to leave the house so she could not go to the assembly.

Justice Korir had further ruled that the court cannot interfere with the MCAs’ mandate but because of Covid-19, he had to intervene for Waiguru’s rights not be violated.

Waiguru had challenged the impeachment motion that led to her removal from office.

In an amended application filed in court on Tuesday — the day she was impeached — Waiguru wanted the court to declare the whole process illegal.

“…a declaration that the proceedings commenced by the county assembly in respect of the impeachment motion during the subsistence of the order issued on April 7 are null,” court documents read.

Justice Weldon Korir allowed her application and barred the assembly from tabling the impeachment process, pending the hearing of her petition.

Justice Korir in April ruled that Waiguru had demonstrated that her constitutional rights had been threatened by the assembly and if the motion was allowed to proceed to conclusion, then the doctrine of public participation would be violated.

“Even though the court ruled that it could not interfere with the mandate of the county assembly, the unique circumstances posed by the Covid-19 pandemic imposed a duty on the court to interfere in so far as Waiguru’s impeachment,” Korir ruled.

However, on Tuesday, the MCAs tabled the motion and impeached the governor, a decision Waiguru said was against the court orders.

Waiguru said she only came to learn of the motion on Monday evening when she was informed that the MCAs were sleeping in the assembly waiting to move and pass the motion.

Through lawyer Waweru Gatonye, Waiguru argued that the tabling, discussion and passing of the motion violate her rights as well as the members of the public who have not been given a chance to participate in the process.

She further wanted the court to stop the county assembly from further discussing the motion. Waiguru argues that the coronavirus is still an issue and so there will be no fair hearing until it is contained to allow everyone to participate.

“As Covid-19 has not been contained nor the petition been heard and determined, the MCAs are in contempt of the order of the court and unless the court grants these orders, the governor will be grossly violated,” Gatonye argued.

Waiguru said the impeachment proceedings were carried out without granting her a right to be heard and without affording the members of the public a chance to participate as outlined in the amended petition.

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