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Activists in court over Ondieki's impeachment

30 April 2014, 13:17 Millicent Kawii

Nairobi - Two activists yesterday moved to court to stop an impeding impeachment of Nairobi County Assembly roads, public works and transport executive MCA Evans Ondieki.

Mr Okiya Omtata and Wycliffe Gisebe have sued the Nairobi County Assembly Speaker for passing and approving a censure motion by Ngara Ward MCA Chege Mwaura on April 23 and want the possible impeachment of Mr Ondieki to be stopped.

“We are seeking a stop of the motion approved by the speaker of the Nairobi County assembly to censure the executive MCA responsible for roads, public works and transport or doing anything prejudicial to him,” said Mr Omtata.

They also want Court to call for the records relating to the impeachment proceedings as well as  the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission named in the suit ordered to conduct investigations into allegations that members of the Nairobi County Assembly were bribed in order to block the purchase of city buses.

The County Assembly and its interim Clerk have also been sued.

Mr Ondieki faces impeachment following a decision to introduce purchase of city buses that would charge sh 35 only to all routes.

The two claim that there were alleged remarks that some MCA’s had been bribed, the impeachment plan had been startled and created discontent and discomfort amongst members of the Assembly who had initiated the process to censure and impeach Mr Ondieki in a deliberate scheme to settle scores.

They also claim that county assemblies have the responsibility of ensuring County Executive Committee (CEC) members govern in a lawful and effective manner yet the schemed impeachment process is actuated with malice, bad faith, witch- hunting and revenge.

However, they allege that impeachment should only be allowed to stop an irregular process not settle political scores in a bid to enforce good governance and accountability.

“Impeachment is not a political process, it is a prejudicial process akin to trial by a legislature and starts with a motion moved in the County Assembly, it must meet certain standards of fairness and impartiality, it is a violation if it used to advance personal interests,” said Mr Omtata.

They have accused the Speaker, the interim clerk and the County Assembly of violating a due process.

They also allege that MCA’s are interested parties and therefore cannot be allowed to be judges in their own case both at the county assembly and in the special committee of the assembly that will be formed to investigate the matter.

They argue that matters complained of by MCAs  on corruption accusations should be reported to the EACC or the Criminal Investigation department  and that the required day notice calling for dismissal of Mr Ondieki is illegal.

According to Mr Omtata and Mr Gisebe, the court should be the one to decide whether there was procedural fairness followed and substantial grounds for the removal of Mr Ondieki.

High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi only certified the case as urgent and set inter parties hearing on May 2.

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