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County officials sweating in their seats over impeachment : The Standard

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A section of Members of Nakuru County assembly celebrate after Impeaching the former Roads CEC Lucy Kariuki on July 16.[Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

County executives are living at the mercy of MCAs who more often than not use threats of impeachment to have their way. 

While impeachment is a tool ward representative can use to advance public interest, the validity of such motions raises more questions than answers.
Analysts warn that this may hurt counties than secure public interest.
Constitutional lawyer Mutakha Kangu says it was easy to understand the excitement of ward representatives in the first years of devolution in their quest to exercise oversight.
SEE ALSO :With misguided court judgements, who will save devolution?“One would have to forgive the MCAs tendency to threaten or impeach county executives or even governors for the flimsiest reasons. It was only natural that, having discovered the immense powers at their disposal, they would be excited to try them out,” Kangu says. He worries that years later, MCAs are still eager to impeach leaders.
“And this can only mean they have understood the extent of their powers and are not afraid to use them to advance selfish interests,” he says.
However, most of the resolutions adopted by the MCAs have failed to make any impact in the management of counties, as they have either been overturned by the courts or ignored by governors.
Two weeks ago, Laikipia County Finance and Economic Planning executive Murungi Ndai was shown the door by ward reps who accused him of violating the Constitution.
Ndai’s fate was sealed after the assembly voted unanimously to remove him from  office for failure to conduct public participation during the making of the 2018/2019 budget. All the 21 MCAs present voted for his ouster. Only three were absent.
SEE ALSO :Nine years after onset of devolution, nothing much has changedHowever, the High Court in Nyeri overturned the impeachment awaiting the hearing of the matter.
In April, the Baringo County Assembly passed a motion to impeach Finance executive Jane Jepkorir while their counterparts in Nakuru tabled an ouster motion against Roads executive Lucy Kariuki.
Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis came to the rescue of Ms Jepkorir and moved her to the Department of Trade. But Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui outwitted the MCAs after he did a reshuffle of his cabinet that saw Kariuki moved to Youth, Gender, Culture and Social Services.
The defiant MCAs went ahead with the planned motion and voted 49 against 21 to send Kariuki home on July 16. Speaker Joel Kairu said the assembly would forward to him the resolution of the house for ratification. “We did our part as per the standing orders and the Constitution. It is up to the Executive to ratify the members’ decisions,” he said.
County executives, who spoke to Sunday Standard, believe that the frequency of the impeachment attempts is an indication MCAs have completely missed the point.
SEE ALSO :Senators to sue MPs in fresh round of turf wars“Instead of the ward reps looking at the impeachment as a weapon of last resort, they have chosen to wield it like a rogue’s gun, threatening to use it at the slightest provocation,” said a Baringo County executive.
An officials from Nakuru County who sought anonymity for fear of repraisals, claimed some MCAs have been using impeachment to blackmail governors in to giving into their demands.
“There have been cases where impeachment threats have fizzled out after MCAs have been treated to out-of-town junkets or have some favours done,” said the executive.
MCAs have also been accused of using impeachment to advance political interests of third parties.
Masese Kemuche, a civil rights activities and an official of the Center for Development and Good Governance says threats to impeach governors and their executives are likely to increase ahead of the 2022 elections. 
SEE ALSO :Baringo didn’t spend Sh2.4b development cash“It is good for MCAs to exercise powers responsibly. We want them to be less inclined to impeach. But if the situation obtains, there is need to review the law to make it harder for MCAs to throw out governors and county executives,” Mr Masese says. He wants the Senate to check the excesses of MCAs.

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Related Topics
DevolutionMutakha KanguImpeachmentMCAs

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US official coming to Kenya to discuss huge potential aid project

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KEVIN J.  KELLEY

By KEVIN J. KELLEY
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The head of a special US development programme is due in Kenya next week to hold initial talks on the country’s potential eligibility for project funding that could total billions of shillings.

Sean Cairncross, CEO of the Millennium Development Corporation (MCC), said in a press briefing on Thursday that Kenya is making “excellent progress” toward meeting criteria for inclusion in the programme.

Kenya has failed the MCC’s eligibility tests for more than a decade, largely because of rampant corruption.

But the US government-sponsored MCC decided last month to qualify Kenya for a “threshold programme” that will likely carry funding of between $20 million and $30 million.

The money to be given to Kenya through that programme would be used to promote additional gains in the country’s efforts to limit graft.

Successfully completing this initial step could result in Kenya being chosen for a “compact” with MCC. Such an arrangement, usually focused on infrastructure development, involves an MCC grant averaging about $350 million, Mr Cairncross said.

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Established in 2004 during George W Bush’s presidency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation conditions its assistance on countries’ performance in “ruling justly”, following free-market economic policies, and investing in health, education and environmental initiatives.

Since its inception, MCC has awarded a total of more than $8 billion to 25 developing countries, including 13 on the African continent.

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Kenya must make additional progress in controlling corruption before it can be deemed eligible for an MCC compact, Mr Cairncross noted. The country’s standing in that regard is determined by assessments on the part of the World Bank and other “third-party data sources,” the MCC director said.

Corruption does not have to be eradicated in order for Kenya to qualify for an MCC compact, Mr Cairncross told reporters. Eligibility is assessed on the basis of a “trend toward dealing with that corruption and a willingness to engage government resources and political will to take those issues on,” he said.

This is not the first threshold programme for which Kenya has been chosen.

It entered into an initiative of that type in 2007 that was aimed at reforming the country’s public procurement systems, improving health service and delivery, and enhancing the monitoring capacity of government and civil-society organisations.

Despite some progress on each of those fronts, Kenya was still falling short of MCC eligibility standards when the first threshold programme concluded in 2010.

“Kenya is an important partner in East Africa,” the MCC said in December in announcing the country’s approval for a second threshold programme.

That MCC move likely reflects Washington’s aim of countering the influence China has gained in Kenya through its large-scale infrastructure investments in recent years.

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Form One admission extended to January 24

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OUMA WANZALA

By OUMA WANZALA
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The Ministry of Education has extended admission of Form One students to January 24.

Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang in a circular to regional and county directors of Education dated January 17, said the exercise has been extended to ensure that no learner is locked out of secondary school.

The exercise was to end on January 17 and the extension is a relief to parents, who were struggling to raise fees.

“Schools should use the extension to trace their learners who have not reported and at the same time capture all reported learners in NEMIS,” said Dr Kipsang.

He also directed primary school head teachers to use their 2019 candidates’ list to ensure that they have been placed in secondary schools.

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Dr Kipsang directed the head teachers to report any child, who is out of school for any reason to respective Education officials.

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The government introduced 100 percent transition to secondary school three years ago.

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Police seize illegal gambling machines in Runda

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SARAH NANJALA

By SARAH NANJALA
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More than 1,200 gambling machines were Friday seized by detectives at a private residence in Nairobi’s Runda estate.

Confirming the incident, Gigiri Sub-County Commanding Police Officer Richard Muguai said officers received a tip-off from members of the public.

“A tip to the police station on Thursday led us to begin our investigations and send officers to check the house.

“At the house we found a green tent outside that was well covered and after opening we found more than 1,200 slot coin machines,” he said.

Mr Muguai further said that the house was unoccupied, save for a gardener at the compound who opened the premises for the police.

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“There is no one currently at the house and we are doing investigations to find the owners and tenants of the house. The gardener could not tell us much about who lived there and only told us that the machines were brought to the house in 2018,” he added.

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Preliminary investigation according to the police boss show that the slot machines were brought to the house by three foreigners. The foreigners were of Chinese, Tanzanian and Zambian nationalities.

The police boss said no arrests have been made yet.

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