Devolution was and still is a very exciting idea to many Kenyans, especially since it is an assurance of their participation in governance through decentralization. This refers to transfer of public authority and resources, including personnel from national to sub-national jurisdictions. This came with the creation of county governments, and hence the positions of Governors. These Governors are tasked with various duties. They are expected to be accountable for the management and use of County resources, as well as promote and facilitate citizen participation in the development of policies and plans, and delivery of services in the county, among other duties. Should the governor fail in executing his duties, he or she risks being impeached by Members of the County Assembly (MCAs).
The recent upholding of the senate's decision to impeach the Embu Governor Martin Wambora by the Judiciary has cemented the doctrine of separation of powers among the three arms of government.
The doctrine allows the three different arms of government, namely the judiciary, legislature and the executive to function independently without the interference of either arm.
Further, the High Court's ruling in favor of the Governor's impeachment is an illustration of non-interference of the decision that was arrived at the county assembly.
The incident has shed light on the removal of errant public officers from office, in this case the Governor. Article 181 of the Constitution provides for the removal of a county governor from office on the following grounds:
- Gross violation of the Constitution or any other law;
- Where it is believed that the governor has committed a crime under national or international law;
- Abuse of office or gross misconduct; or
- Physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of office of the county governor.
In this instance, the Embu County Assembly initiated the process of impeaching the governor for contravening the Constitution and on grounds of gross violation of public finance and procurement laws."
In another similar case, a Speaker of the county assembly of West Nyakach Ann Adul was last year impeached after members of the county assembly voted in favor of a motion to have the speaker removed from office for abuse of office and gross misconduct.
The office of the Speaker of the County Assembly is a creation of article 177 (1) (d) of the Constitution. The Speaker forms part of the membership of the County Assembly which also includes members elected by registered members of wards, special seat members who ensure that the two-thirds gender margin gap is filled and members representing the marginalized groups.