The fate of the embattled Nakuru County executive for Roads Lucy Wanjiku Kariuki has been sealed after the assembly overwhelmingly voted for her impeachment.
Ms Kariuki becomes the first executive since the advent of devolution in the cosmopolitan county to be impeached
Earlier, Governor Lee Kinyanjui relieved Ms Halima Gababa was of her duties as Gender, Youth and Spots executive following complaints of underperformance.
Interestingly, a day before Ms Kariuki was impeached, Governor Kinyanjui transferred her to the Gender, Youth and Sports department.
But this did not stop the MCAs from sending her home when 49 of them voted for her dismissal while 21 opposed her ouster and only one abstained from the vote.
Last week on Thursday, six MCAs in the 78-member assembly skipped the motion which turned chaotic after the MCAs failed to agree on the mode of voting.
But on Tuesday, the assembly unanimously agreed on secret ballot voting after the House leadership led by Speaker Joel Maina Kairu held a meeting ahead of the motion.
The impeachment motion was moved by the chairman of the ad hoc committee Peter Mwamba Kajwang.
This is the second impeachment motion since the ward representatives were sworn into office in 2018.
On Tuesday the MCAs required a simple majority to sack Ms Kariuki.
The first impeachment motion was against Speaker Joel Maina Kairu which flopped last year after the House failed to attain the mandatory constitutional threshold of 75 percent support of the MCAs.
During the Tuesday motion, Mr Kajwang said that Ms Kariuki is not suitable to hold any executive position.
“She is unfit to hold any executive position as the impeachment motion was built on three pillars of abuse of office, incompetence, gross misconduct and the committee did its work and proved all the allegations against her,” said Mr Kajwang who is also the Kaptembwo MCA.
He added, “This assembly has adopted a landmark ruling and it is just prudent for Governor Kinyanjui to get the right people for the job.”
Mr Kajwang said an official communication will immediately be sent to Governor Kinyanjui by Speaker Kairu to implement the House recommendation to dismiss Ms Kariuki.
Minority Leader and Olkaria MCA Peter Palanga said that the House had spoken.
“When one has abused the previous office, he or she can still abuse another office. So whether Ms Kariuki is transferred from Roads department to Youth and Sports, her integrity remains questionable,” said Mr Palanga.
He added, “We expect nothing short of dismissal from the office by Governor Kinyanjui and he must act according to the law because that is what is required of him now.”
The MCAs denied that the impeachment was based on witch-hunting and denial of tenders and contracts by the executive.
“The impeachment was about her failure to implement projects because as MCAs, it doesn’t matter who does the work, what we want is implementation of the projects according to the timelines and value for the taxpayers’ money,” said Mr Palanga.
Dundori MCA Michael Machembu Chege said the road infrastructure in the agriculture-rich Dundori is pathetic as a result of poor leadership at the Department of roads.
“Many programmes such as Boresha Barabara and the street lighting project have collapsed and the absorption rate of the development funds under Ms Kariuki has gone as low as 25 percent,” said Mr Machembu.
“The removal of Ms Kariuki is an added advantage to Governor Kinyanjui as his development agenda in the department will now move as per his plan as we have overcome one major obstacle and a big hindrance to infrastructural development in the county,” he added.
The MCAs said they will vet the next executive in the Roads department thoroughly.
Flamingo Ward Rep Eddy Kiragu said that the MCAs were not impeaching an office but an individual.
“The executive cannot, therefore, transfer incompetence to another department. We cannot transfer abuse of office and gross misconduct. We need a serious person to handle this critical docket. The Youth docket is not a dumpsite for failures,” said Mr Kiragu.
Majority Leader Moses Ndung’u Kamau said that ward reps are facing a rough time with the people at the grassroots due to bad roads.
“Numerous demonstrations against MCAs have been staged due to pathetic roads. We hope Governor Kinyanjui will respect the verdict of the majority in the House and dismiss Ms Kariuki and nominate a qualified person to hold the office,” said Mr Kamau.
Ms Kariuki had been rejected by the assembly’s Appointment Committee led by Speaker Kairu last year.
The committee then claimed that she was unfit for the position.
But after lobbying by some MCAs, she was endorsed.