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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Wambora laments impeachment endless woes

The embattled Embu governor Martin Wambora is a man under siege after he lost his seat for the second time  after the High Court sitting in Nairobi dismissed his petition challenging his impeachment last year.
But politically, according to Wambora and his allies, all is not lost. Those who know him say he is a nine-life politician, the same court allowed Wambora to challenge it at the Court of Appeal. He told his friends he has lost weight and rarely sleeps. Wambora surprised those present when he claimed to have lost his sex power since the impeachment process was initiated.
What this means therefore is that for 14 days from the date of judgment, Wambora will still serve as the governor as he prepares his appeal. Had the court not granted Wambora the appeal period, then it could have made Wambora’s deputy Dorothy Nditi to be sworn in as a governor to serve the remainder of the term which ends in 2017.
Although Wambora at one time almost gave up after the senate impeached him for the second time, sources say his main problem is stopping his deputy from being sworn in as his replacement.
Wambora’s first impeachment was in February 2014 but was overturned by the High Court in Embu, following a successful petition. But that did not stop the Embu county assembly from impeaching him on the same allegations of misconduct, a decision that was again confirmed by the senate. The governor went back to court and obtained orders stopping his deputy, Nditi from assuming the office.
It is now emerging that Wambora does not have a good rapport with MCAs from Embu county but enjoys support from the residents, professionals and the clergy. During the impeachment, Wambora argued that members of the public should have been involved in the removal of the governor, saying the people of Embu were denied the opportunity to participate.
Wambora’s tribulations began following revelation by the auditor general that the county government of Embu had misappropriated Sh442m. The 2013-2014 report, raises serious concerns bordering on the violation of the public procurement and disposal Act and the public finance management Act by the county executive.
The report highlights lost revenue Sh17.1m, unaccountable imprests, fraudulent purchase of vehicles and graders and irregular rehabilitation of Embu Stadium, unsupported salary payment and irregular payment of allowances among others.
The report further censured his administration on the violation of the procurement laws. The county government procured 18 vehicles worth over Sh88 million, and documents availed for audit revealed the vehicles were single-sourced. The tender committee did not approve the purchase of the vehicles at CMC and the discrepancies in engine rating were not explained.
The audit discovered that six more vehicles were procured in August last year. Ford Kuga worth Sh31,200,000 and one Land Rover vehicle at Sh4,900,000 were supplied but no payment had been made.
As Wambora prepares his appeal, he is said to be reaching out to some of the influential personalities with the county to help in reconciliation with the MCAs.
Sources say the man Wambora is now relying on to save his skin is the head of Catholic church in Kenya, Cardinal John Njue. Since Wambora took over after the 2013 elections, Njue has been accused of meddling into political affairs of the Embu county.
To show how Wambora and Njue have been secretly dealing, barely a week before the judgment, he had taken Wambora and a number of leaders from Embu county into a meeting with Uhuru Kenyatta at State House. Sources say the meeting was to request Uhuru to influence the court ruling which was due for delivery.
Sources divulged that during the State House meeting, Wambora begged Njue to ask his friend Uhuru to help him with the case pending in court in which he has challenged his impeachment by the senate. Njue and Uhuru are buddies with Njue being said to be a regular State house visitor. Njue is widely believed to be a close supporter of the president, given their shared origins in central Kenya. Uhuru is Catholic.
The worry for Njue and Wambora is that the impeachment of Wambora had the blessing of almost the entire political class of the Embu county and when word went around that Njue was brokering a deal that would see Uhuru intervene to save his skin, the entire Embu leadership went up in arms accusing Njue of misusing his office to play politics at the expense of the people of Embu.
But Njue in a quick rejoinder denied meeting Uhuru to save Wambora, saying his meeting was to bring reconciliation in Embu county and other counties embroiled in endless squabbles. “I didn’t know there was a pending court case. Ideally the meeting was to bring reconciliation in the county and finding ways of saving other counties,” said Njue.
Reports now indicate that Njue left State House a disappointed man after Uhuru refused to make a commitment on Njue’s request, telling Wambora to lie in his own bed and carry his on cross.
Back to the local Embu politics, Wambora has been making allegations that Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire together with Embu senator Lenny Kivuti and county assembly speaker Kariuki Mate are the masterminds of his political woes.
The three have denied that they are undermining Wambora because they are eyeing his seat saying questioning deals at the county did not mean they want to oust the leader.
Mbarire has publicly maintained that she is not interested in becoming Embu governor following Wambora’s impeachment but has been overheard telling her allies that come 2017, she will go for the governor’s post.
It has been whispered that Mbarire will pick on Mate as running mate or Kivuti will go for the governor’s seat with Mbarire as running mate while Mate will retain the speaker’s seat.