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Monday, December 6, 2021

Impeached Governor Abdi says he is still in charge of Wajir County

By Nicanor Ndiege

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Impeached Wajir governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud has maintained that he still in charge of the County despite his ouster at the Senate Assembly and the subsequent swearing-in of Ali Muktar as governor.

But even as Governor Muktar settles down to work, the former Governor Abdi  on Monday took to his social media handles to inform the public of a High Court order that dismissed a gazette notice on the swearing-in of governor Muktar.

“Meru High Court has today ruled on the enforcement of the 18th May Court Order stopping the Gazzette Notice on the Swearing-in of the Deputy Governor and as well as the Senate Resolution to impeach me as governor, Wajir County,” he said.

Abdi says that his administration remains in office even as the High Court refers petition nullifying his impeachment to Chief Justice Martha Koome for formation of three-judge bench to hear it.

 “The entire process of the ‘impeachment’ and the ‘swearing-in’ issue were illegal and unprocedural from the start. Rest assured my administration remains intact, despite the immense obstacles and tensions caused by political cartels and enemies of Wajir’s progress,” he added.

His sentiments come barely a week after he attended the Council of Governors (CoG) meeting despite being impeached and his deputy taking over.

His attendance followed an invitation he received from COG, which has also criticised the process of his impeachment saying it is not only unprocedural but also unlawful.

Led by Chair Martin Wambora, CoG lamented over the emerging trend of swearing-in deputy governors, immediately after the impeachment of governors, without regarding court processes.

The council said it was unhappy with how senators handled the impeachment motion against Governor Abdi.

Governor Wambora claimed the process violated the law, saying the Senate did not investigate the matter as provided for under Section 33 (4) of the County Governments Act.

Justice Patrick Jeremy Otieno of Meru High Court in his ruling noted that the court had ssued three orders during the events that culminated in the replacement of Mr Abdi by his deputy, Ahmed Mukhtar, but that none was obeyed.

He pointed out that the order he issued on May 18, stopping Mr Abdi’s replacement as Wajir governor, was still in effect.

On April 26, the court issued orders temporarily stopping the impeachment until an application into the legality of the process was determined, but the Wajir County Assembly carried out the exercise.

They want Mr Mukhtar stopped from carrying out the executive duties of a governor since there is a pending petition and four court orders on the matter.

However, Lawyers Ahmednasir Abdullahi and Issa Mansur, appearing for the respondents, opposed the application, saying the orders sought had been overtaken by events since a new governor was sworn in.

They argued that the case ought to be taken to the Garissa High Court since it is near Wajir, but Mr Njiru informed the court that there were no sittings there when the petition was filed.

Interestingly, on Thursday, Mr Abdullahi Hassan Maalim, Wajir County Secretary wrote to the Chairman Council of Governors over operations at the county’s liaison office at Delta House.

Mr Maalim accused the CoG staff at Delta house of disrespecting the law by allowing the former governor to continue using the Wajir County Liaison facility in Nairobi.

“It is worthy to note that the Wajir Liaison Offices are paid by the County Government of Wajir and we will not allow such intrusions subsequently,” the letter reads.

In the letter, CoG was urged not to further contribute to the delay of services to the people of Wajir by encouraging parallel leadership.

The County Secretary asked the CoG to follow the law for any genuine grievances raised.

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