Impeachment of a governor should be as hard as that of removing an MP from office

Impeachment of a governor should be as hard as that of removing an MP from office

By Joshua Cheloti

The recent impeachment attempt on Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza has yet again exposed legal loopholes in the process.

The fact that Meru Members of County Assembly (MCAs) managed to easily pass the motion – merely three months into office – is a clear indication that it was time for change – to perhaps make it a bit harder for a governor to be impeached.

As it is now, a small misunderstanding between the governor and the MCAs will most likely end with an impeachment motion – or a threat to it.

And as some Senators once said during past impeachments, the process is usually political, not legal.

This means a governor can simply be impeached – if he/she finds himself on the opposite political side.

Luckily for Governor Mwangaza, politics were not at play, and she ended up being saved by the Senate. But what happens next to a governor if politics come into play – he/she will most likely end up impeached.

Surprisingly, the current legal process makes it easier for a governor to be impeached. In fact, it is easier to impeach a governor than to remove an MCA from office through the recall process.

I find this process a bit unfair to governors. A governor is elected by voters in a whole county yet it just takes MCAs and Senators to seal their fate. At the same, it will take months or even years before an MCA is removed from office – the same applies to an MP and a Senator.

For fairness, it is time laws on the impeachment of governors are reviewed so that MCAs don’t misuse them. With the current provisions, a governor is always at the mercy of the MCAs, they have to give in to their demands or face the chopping board.

With this kind of mentality, no governor will perform. They will always be looking over their shoulders.

The best way devolution and governors can work is by making an impeachment process too complex, and out of reach for MCAs.

I am not saying a governor should not be impeached, my point is that it should not be as easy as what happened with the Kawira Mwangaza case. None of the charges against the governor was proven but with political influence, she would be impeached now.

As much as MCAs must keep the county executive in check, they should not be given free will to use impeachment threats to blackmail governors.

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