Kisii DG Robert Monda in the soup as court ‘okays’ impeachment bid

The politics of Kisii County have taken an interesting twist after President William Ruto’s lawyer, Katwa Kigen, moved to court to defend Deputy Governor Robert Monda, who is facing impeachment.

But Mr Kigen suffered a major blow after the High Court in Kisii on Tuesday declined to issue orders stopping the impeachment. He is assisted by lawyer Wilkins Ochoki.

“No prejudice would be occasioned if this court doesn’t grant interim orders at this stage. I am not inclined to grant the interim orders at this stage and I say no more, as it may prejudice the outcome of the proceedings herein,” ruled Justice Teresa Odera.

Mr Kigen had moved to court on Monday with urgency, seeking to have the impeachment motion quashed based on eight grounds.

“I, Katwa Kigen, do certify that the application is of utmost urgency as the petitioner is at the peril of irreparable injury of being subjected to a process of impeachment,” averred Mr Kigen in the court papers.

Ichuni Ward Representative Wycliffe Siocha filed the motion of impeachment on February 21. He cited four grounds; gross violation of the constitution, abuse of office, gross misconduct and crimes under national law.

Dr Monda was instructed to appear before the House to defend himself tomorrow.

The Speaker and Clerk of the Kisii County Assembly and Mr Siocha are listed as the first, second and third responders.

Through Katwa and Kemboy Advocates, the lawyers said that the petitioner, Dr Monda, was within his right to contest the propriety of the legal process and procedure of the motion.

Mr Kigen opined that the impeachment process was “fatally defective” considering that the notice dated February 13, does not show on its face execution by one-third of the Members of the County Assembly duly verified, for the “notice” and “motion” for impeachment to be valid in law, contrary to Section 33 of the County Governments Act (2012) and Standing Order 60(1), 60(5) and 60(6).

The lawyer equally advanced that the notice was “fatally time-barred” by five days. He opined that both the notice and the motion lack particulars of the case as per the requirements of the law.

He also said that Dr Monda, if subjected to the impeachment process, would be denied the right to a fair hearing, fair administration and his legitimate expectation, in breach of articles 47 and 50 of the Constitution of Kenya (2010).

The petitioner was seeking court orders to bar the respondents, their deputies or their agents from presenting before an assembly session, for debate and resolution, the matter of Dr Monda’s impeachment as per the notice and motion already before it, until when the application is heard and determined.

The Assembly scheduled a public participation exercise over the matter of Dr Monda’s intended impeachment on February 26, 2024, the same day Mr Kigen moved to court to defend the DG.

Though public participation succeeded nearly in all wards, there were violent disruptions in parts of Nyaribari and Kitutu constituencies.

In Gesusu ward, for example, armed police officers guarded the venue and chased away members of the public. In Ibeno, goons accompanied by some MCAs supporting Dr Monda disrupted the proceedings.

In Monyerero Ward, violent goons attacked members of the public.

Mr Kigen poked holes into the exercise saying that it was out of time by three days.

“It means, it is time-barred and that the case the petitioner would need to respond to on February 29, is still mutilating and developing on matters made by the public, thereby making his defense impossible,” he averred.

Accompanying the petition is Dr Monda’s affidavit noting that he has always performed the functions of his office diligently, responsibly and transparently.

In one of the accusations facing the deputy county Chief Executive Officer, Mr Siocha revealed that the Gusii Water and Sanitation Company (Gwasco) advertised for various job vacancies in April 2023, and the Deputy Governor alerted one, Mr Dennis Mokaya’s father that he could secure his son a job upon paying a bribe of Sh 800,000, only upon his shortlisting and being interviewed for the post.

Mr Siocha went on to explain that the Deputy Governor used his office to improperly confer a benefit to himself when he solicited a sum of Sh 800,000 from Mr Mokaya and his family in the pretext of securing him a job for the said post of a commercial manager of Gwasco, an entity of Kisii County Government.

“The Deputy Governor in an attempt to influence the award of a contract of employment to Mr Mokaya, sent via M-Pesa Sh100,000 to the Gwasco Managing Director to influence her to employ the said person which request was not acceded to and the money was returned via M-Pesa,” said Mr Siocha.

“The Deputy Governor’s actions of requesting and receiving a bribe is meant to compromise the integrity of the recruitment institution of GWASCO and the same is driven by nepotism, favouritism, improper and ulterior motives and for corrupt purposes in complete disregard of the constitution,” said Mr Siocha while tabling the impeachment motion.

But Dr Monda submitted in his affidavit, “On the substantive allegation, I deny any accusation against me. These allegations are entirely without merit and are founded on misinformation.”

Dr Monda was elected alongside his boss Governor Simba Arati on a joint ticket of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party.

But he recently hosted some of his boss’s bluntest critics at his home. He has since been seen with the Arati’s critics, including Education CS Ezekiel Machogu.

Others are National Assembly Majority Whip and South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro, Kisii County Woman Rep Donya Aburi and Kisii County Senator Richard Onyonka.

Sources indicate that his boss, Mr Arati, has in the recent past been at loggerheads with the MCAs for initiating the impeachment process without his knowledge.

A source told the Nation that the MCAs were reprimanded by Mr Arati on the day they tabled a notice of impeachment notice in the Assembly.

The MCAs have publicly told the Kisii governor to keep off the impeachment and allow them to do their work independently.

With President Ruto’s invisible hand already detected in the Kisii political battle, the determination to have Dr Monda impeached is headed right into a cul-de-sac.

This, considering that even if the court petition fails, and the County Assembly impeaches him successfully, then the Senate may still rescue him. President Ruto has the majority of members in the Senate.

Last year, Siaya County Deputy Governor Dr William Oduol was rescued by the Kenya Kwanza senators following an initial successful impeachment by the MCAs of the Siaya County Assembly.

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