• May 22, 2024
  • Last Update May 22, 2024 11:20 AM
  • Nairobi

Explainer: What it takes to impeach a Cabinet Secretary

Politics

By Peter Ochieng

Cabinet Secretary (CS) for agriculture Franklin Mithika Linturi is literally a man on the chopping board, after a Member of Parliament (MP), this week filed a notice of an impeachment motion against him.

Bumula MP Jack Wanami Wamboka wants the former Meru Senator out of Kilimo House ‘like yesterday,’ owing to the fake fertiliser scandal that rocked the country right in the middle of the long rains planting season.

The outspoken first term legislature elected on the Eugene Ludovic Wamalwa-led Democratic Action Party (DAP) of Kenya, said his motion is based on the allegations of the CS’s gross misconduct and violation of the constitution.

“The motion is rooted in grave allegations of gross misconduct, violation of constitutional provisions and serious breach of public trust. The evidence presented before the assembly paints a distressing picture of negligence, mismanagement and potential of criminal activities within the ministry,” the MP said while addressing the press on Thursday.

“I firmly believe that the gravity of this allegations demands swift and decisive action. As elected representatives, its our duty to hold public officers accountable and to safeguard the interests of the people that we serve. Agriculture is such a key sector, we want to tell the President, please don’t allow one rogue minister to derail your agenda of attaining food security in the country,” he added.

He wants the National Assembly Speaker Moses Masika Wetang’ula to fast-track the motion, so that it comes up in the House for debate as soon as possible.

According to Wamboka, the bill is being backed by over 100 MPs, both from the government and opposition sides of the political divide. They include Laikipia North’s Sarah Korere who will be seconding the motion. She urged the CS to resign before the motion comes up for debate.

“We want to tell the CS to step aside before we impeach him. Even if investigations were to happen, it won’t be thorough if he is still in the office. If investigations will find him innocent, he can always come back,” she stated.

Among other MPs who have so far reportedly signed the motion include; Joyce Kamene (Machakos County Women Representative, Wiper), Raphael Wanjala (Budalang’i, ODM), Pauline Lenguris (Samburu MP, UDA), Maryanne Kitany (Aldai, UDA), Adams Korir (Keiyo North, UDA), Otiende Amollo (Rarieda, ODM), Samuel Parashina (Kajiado South, ODM), Beatrice Adagala (Vihiga County Women Representative ANC), Stephen Mogaka (West Mugirango, Jubilee Party), and Clive Gisairo (Kitutu Masaba, ODM).

In a new twist of events, MP Wamboka claims that his life is in danger, adding that he has become a marked man since filing the notice of an impeachment motion. He however insists that he will not be ‘boxed into a corner’ via threats to his life, urging Speaker Wetangula to move with speed and approve the motion.

“The CS must be impeached to restore sanity in the ministry and fast-track farmers compensation. The impeachment will cushion farmers from unscrupulous fertilizer business deals.”

However, the question ringing in the minds of many Kenyans is what does it take to impeach a Cabinet Secretary?

Article 152 of the Kenyan Constitution states that the President shall nominate and appoint Cabinet Secretaries with the approval of the National Assembly. The Head of State shall not nominate fewer than 14 and not more than 22 Cabinet Secretaries. Unlike in the previous constitution, the 2010 constitution dictates that a Cabinet Secretary shall not be a Member of Parliament.

The Office of a Cabinet Secretary becomes vacant if he/she resigns by delivering a written statement of resignation to the President; is dismissed by the President; or is dismissed by the President following a resolution passed by the National Assembly, through impeachment, requiring the President to dismiss a Cabinet Secretary.

Article 152 (6) of the Constitution states that a member of the National Assembly, supported by at least one-quarter of all the members of the Assembly, may propose a motion requiring the President to dismiss a Cabinet Secretary. With reports that he is being supported by over 100 of his colleagues, Wamboka is well on course.

The grounds for the removal of a Cabinet Secretary are; gross violation of a provision of the Constitution or any other law; where there are serious reasons for believing that the Cabinet Secretary has committed a crime under national or international law; or for gross misconduct.

If at least one-third of the members of the National Assembly support a motion to remove a Cabinet Secretary, the Assembly shall appoint a select committee comprising eleven of its members to investigate the matter; and the select committee shall, within ten days, report to the Assembly whether it finds the allegations against the Cabinet Secretary to be substantiated.

The Cabinet Secretary has the right to appear and be represented before the select committee during its investigations.

If the select committee reports that it finds the allegations unsubstantiated, no further proceedings shall occur; or if substantiated, the National Assembly shall afford the Cabinet Secretary an opportunity to be heard; and vote on whether to approve the resolution requiring the dismissal of a Cabinet Secretary.

If a majority of the members of the National Assembly support a resolution requiring the President to dismiss a Cabinet Secretary, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall promptly deliver the resolution to the President; and the President shall dismiss the Cabinet Secretary.

Linturi maybe facing a real threat of becoming the first MP to be impeached in the Kenya Kwanza administration.

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