There are many reasons to remove or impeach a deputy governor in Kenya. The procedure to impeach a county governor in Kenya applies, with the necessary modifications, to the impeachment of a deputy governor.
The Senate is in charge of the process to impeach a deputy governor in Kenya.
Grounds for the removal of a deputy governor
Article 181 of the Constitution provides the grounds for the removal of a deputy governor in Kenya:
- Gross violation of the Constitution or any other law.
- Where there are serious reasons to believe that the deputy county governor has committed a crime under the national or international law.
- Abuse of office or gross misconduct.
- Physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of the office of the deputy county governor.
Process to impeach a deputy governor in Kenya
Section 33 of the County Governments Act contains the procedure for the removal of a deputy county governor in Kenya.
The county assembly moves a motion to impeach the deputy governor
A Member of the County Assembly moves a motion to remove a deputy county governor by notice to the speaker. The member relies on the grounds to remove a deputy county governor to move the motion (Article 181). The member must receive the support of two-thirds of all the other members to move the motion.
If the motion goes through, the county assembly speaker informs the speaker of the Senate within two days. The information is in writing and refers to the county assembly resolution passed to impeach the deputy governor.
The deputy governor continues to perform the functions of the office pending the outcome of the impeachment process.
Role of the Senate in the impeachment process
The speaker of the Senate then convenes a meeting of the Senate. The meeting is to hear the charges the county assembly brought against the deputy governor. The Senate, by a determination, then appoints a special committee comprising of eleven of its members to investigate the matter.
The senate meeting and the appointment of the special committee should occur within seven days. That is seven days from the day the Senate speaker received the notice of the resolution to impeach the deputy county governor from the county assembly speaker.
The 11-member special committee of the Senate should then investigate the matter. The committee should report to the Senate within ten days. It should report whether it finds proof for the charges the accuser brought against the deputy governor.
The deputy governor has the right to appear and to be represented before the committee during the duration of its investigations.
Further proceedings do not take place if the special committee finds no proof against the allegations facing the deputy governor. If it finds proof, the Senate proceeds to vote on impeachment charges. The vote only takes place after the assurance that the deputy governor receives a fair hearing.
If a majority of the county delegations in the Senate vote to uphold the impeachment charge, the deputy governor ceases to hold office. If the delegations vote to reject the impeachment charge, the Senate speaker should notify the speaker of the respective county assembly.
Any member of the county assembly can only introduce the same charges before the assembly after three months from the day the Senate votes against the impeachment charges.
The procedure for the removal of the President on grounds of incapacity under Article 144 of the Constitution should apply, with necessary modifications, to the removal of a deputy governor.
Vacancy in the office of the deputy county governor
When a vacancy occurs in the office of the deputy governor in Kenya, the county governor should nominate a new holder within 14 days. The county assembly should then vote on whether to approve or reject the nomination within 60 days.
Where a vacancy occurs at the same time for the office of the county governor and deputy governor, the deputy’s office ought to remain vacant until the election of a new governor. The incoming governor should then nominate a person to fill the deputy governor’s office within 14 days and the county assembly to vote on the nomination within 60 days.
The vacancy does not occur if the Senate rejects the impeachment charges facing the deputy governor. It also does not occur when the special committee finds no proof for those charges since no further proceedings take place. And that is the complete process to impeach a deputy governor in Kenya.