West Pokot county assembly speaker impeached
West Pokot members of the county assembly have approved a motion to impeach speaker Catherine Mukenyang.
Twenty five members out of 32 voted in support of, while seven members opposed the motion tabled by Endough ward MCAEvanson Lomaduny. The heated 8-hour long session was chaired by Deputy Speaker Francis Krop, who abstained from the vote.
Mukenyang was accorded a chance during morning session, to defend herself, and later excused herself from the afternoon voting session citing ill-health.
The MCAs cited abuse of office, gross violation of the public finance management act, gross violation of the public procurement and disposal act and gross misconduct as the offences that triggered the push for the speaker's impeachment.
According to the mover of the motion, Mr. Lomaduny, the speaker has been irregularly employing staff on contracts of three years without following due process of recruitment. The mover alleged the Mrs Mukenyang used the appointments as rewards for her political cronies.
She was also accused of using county machinery in her early 2022 campaigns.
While addressing the house, Majority leader Thomas Ngolesia accused the ousted speaker of taking the roles of the clerk contrary to section 13 (4) of the county government act.
"She gave out directives that are adminstrative in nature and demanding that such orders be respected by everyone. The speaker has even created a new centre of power to demean and sabotage the office of the clerk while the clerk is the custodian of all documents including board minutes." he said.
On gross misconduct, the speaker was accused of inciting a section of county assembly staff to create groups of violence and mayhem at the county assembly.
“The county assembly speaker should not have called upon county assembly staff to meet and plot to intimidate, harass or disobey the clerk or other staff instead the speaker should have acted as a symbol of unity and transparent leadership,” Lomaduny noted.
Mrs Mukenyang was further accused of receiving a payment of Ksh 590,600 from the county government under unclear circumstances.
Further, the embattled speaker faced accusations of involving herself directly in supplying goods and services to the county assembly.
In her defense, nominated member of county assembly Elijah Kasheusheu opined that the impeachment of the speaker was politically instigated and the grounds tabled could not be substantiated.
"The speaker did her roles according to the law, their was no fairness in the impeachment process. We shall move to court to challenge her impeachment,"he said.
Eunice Andiema also challenged the allegations tabled against the speaker were false, claiming that the speaker was not operating solely but rather with a board that has powers of approving employment of staff.
Deputy speaker Francis Krop declared the speaker impeached, stating that her impeachment motion had successfully sailed through, having met the 75 Percent voting threshold.
While speaking to the media, the impeached speaker said that ward representatives who were behind her removal were blinded by political differences. She has vowed to seek legal intervention, stating that she was not given enough time to mount her defence.
"I requested for the members of county assembly to give me seven days to prepare my defense but they refused to listen to me. I will go to court to challenge the impeachment motion," she said.
Her lawyer, Erick Naibei, said his client was not supplied with evidence to prove the allegations and the law was not procedurally followed towards the speaker's removal.
"We are headed to court to air our grievances. We hope to get justice from the court of law. They have violated her basic rights since she was not served with enough documents " he said.