Two Governors have so far been impeached, Murang’a and Embu Governors and while none has yet to lose their seats, the process and what happens next is a discussion George Githinji shares in this post.
Grounds for the removal of a county governor
Article 181 of the Constitution provides for the removal of a county governor. A county governor may be removed from office on the following grounds:
- Gross violation of the Constitution or any other law.
- Where there are serious reasons to believe that the county governor has committed a crime under national or international law.
- Abuse of office or gross misconduct
- Physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of the office of the county governor.
Article 181 also mandates Parliament to come up with legislation providing the procedure to remove a county governor from office on any of the grounds provided above. The 10th parliament hence incorporated this procedure in the County Governments Act.
Procedure for the removal of a county governor
Section 33 of the County Governments Act contains the procedure for the removal of a county governor.
A member of the county assembly (MCA) by a notice to the speaker may move a motion for the removal of a Governor under article 181 of the Constitution. However, the member must be supported by at least a third of all the members of the county assembly to move the motion.
If two thirds of all the members of the county assembly support and pass the motion to have the county governor impeached, the speaker of the county assembly informs the speaker of the Senate (in writing) about that resolution within two days. The Governor, nevertheless, continues to perform the functions of the office pending the outcome of the impeachment proceedings.
The speaker of the senate then convenes a meeting of the senate to hear the charges brought against the governor by the county assembly. The Senate, by a determination, then appoints a special committee comprising of eleven of its members to investigate the matter. These two actions should take place within seven days after the speaker of the senate receives the notice of the resolution to impeach the governor from the speaker of the county assembly.
The 11-member special committee of the Senate should then investigate the matter and report to the House within ten days on whether it finds the charges brought against the governor as being substantiated. The governor has the right to appear and to be represented before the committee during the duration of its investigations.
If the special committee reports the allegations or particulars of the allegations against the governor have not been substantiated, further proceedings shall not be taken in respect to the allegation. However, if it reports that the allegations or particulars of the allegations are substantiated, then the senate shall vote on the impeachment charges, but only after ensuring that the governor has been given a fair opportunity to be heard.
If a majority of the members of the senate vote to uphold the impeachment charge, the governor shall cease to hold office. Nevertheless, if the members of the senate vote to reject the impeachment charge, then the speaker of the senate shall notify the speaker of the concerned county assembly accordingly. The impeachment motion on the same charges may then be introduced again before the county assembly only after the end of three months from the date of such a vote by the Senate.
The procedure for the removal of the President on grounds of incapacity under Article 144 of the Constitution shall apply, with necessary modifications, to the removal of a governor.
Vacancy in the office of the County Governor
Article 182 of the constitution provides for the procedure to fill a vacancy in the office of the county governor. When the governor is impeached, the deputy governor shall assume office as county governor for the remainder of the term of the county governor.
However, if the deputy speaker cannot assume the office of the governor as contemplated above, then the speaker of the county assembly shall act as the county governor. Elections for the office of the county governor shall then be held within sixty days after the speaker assumes the office of the county governor.
The writer comments on political issues in Kenya – blogs at Politics Kenya