EXPLAINER: Why Meru County is at the verge of being suspended
When Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza survived her second impeachment trial before the Senate, a majority of Senators debated the need to streamline the country’s entire leadership.
The only way of doing so was to advise the President to suspend the County Government of Meru as guided by the Constitution.
Article 192 of the Constitution speaks about the suspension of a county government, where the President can suspend the county government on two occasions, one being if there is an emergency arising out of internal conflict or war, and in any other exceptional circumstances.
In the first case, the Executive side, and County Assembly of Meru have been in wrangles for the last year, which saw the governor being impeached twice by MCAs for allegedly abusing her office.
However, the Senate vindicated her because the Assembly did not have what it takes to impeach the governor in terms of evidence to support their bid.
Even after being cleared, it has emerged days later that the County Assembly is plotting to impeach Mwangaza’s six 6 CECs, and 3 chief officers over incompetence, a move that has annoyed the governor as she calls for dissolution of the county government.
“If dissolution is how Meru residents will get help, I will support them,” Mwangaza said on Thursday morning during an interview at Muuga FM.
The second clause states that a county government shall not be suspended unless an independent commission of inquiry has investigated allegations against the county government.
The commission shall then advise the President according to its findings, and if the President is satisfied that the allegations are justified and the Senate has authorised the suspension, all the MCAs and the Executive side of the governor are sent home.
If the county is successfully suspended, the government shall make arrangements for the performance of the functions of the county government in accordance with an Act of Parliament.
However, the Senate may at any time terminate the suspension, but if not, the suspension shall not extend beyond a period of ninety days.
After ninety days, elections for the relevant county government shall be held.
Makueni County was the first county that almost went through the suspension process.
In the last administration of Uhuru Kenyatta, a commission asked Mr Kenyatta to suspend he commission after the former governor Kivutha Kibwana engaged with MCAs in a conflict that paralysed the operations, including failing to pass the budget for 2013/2014 financial year for five months.
However, in his decision, Mr Kenyatta said that the right precedent needed to be set by setting a high standard.
“”In view of the special place of devolution in our new constitutional order, and the need to set the right precedents, the President believes a decision that results in the ejection of an elected government is extremely grave and one that ought to be exercised sparingly and in the most exceptional circumstances,”Mr Kenyatta said in a statement when he refused to dissolve Makueni County.
President Kenyatta also successfully managed to convince then Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to forward some county functions to the newly formed Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).