Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza has pleaded not guilty to all charges levelled against her by the Members of County Assembly (MCAs).
The governor listened pensively as Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye read out all the charges as the impeachment proceedings started at the Senate.
The governor is facing seven charges including misappropriation of county funds, creating posts without approval of MCAs, illegally naming a road after her husband, and sending relatives to China to assess cancer treatment equipment without approval.
Other charges levelled against her include vilifying MCAs and her deputy, Mutuma M’Ethingia, irregular appointment of some chief officers without MCAs’ approval and creating “traffic marshals” to oversee revenue collection monitoring in Meru town without the approval of MCAs.
Mwangaza is represented by lawyers; Elisha Ongoya, Elias Mutuma, Duncan Okubasu, and others. The county, on its part is being represented by Dr.Muthomi Thiankolu as the lead counsel.
The hearing is happening through a Senate plenary, meaning all the 47 senators will vote on each of the charges.
In the case that the plenary will uphold the charges, then Mwangaza will stand impeached; but if the charges will be dismissed then she will have survived.
Earlier before the impeachment proceedings started at 11 am, senators retreated to a closed-door session under the leadership of Speaker Amason Kingi.
During the close meeting, the senators agreed on rules for conducting the impeachment proceedings.
This included setting time for cross-examining witnesses during the hearing.
“Consequently, a hearing program has been prepared and appended to today’s order paper. As is the tradition and in line with the schedule of activities for an impeachment hearing, the senate will hold a preparatory session to discuss the management of the investigation,” Kingi ruled.
Kingi said that the discussion is aimed at ensuring that the process is conducted seamlessly and concluded in line with the requirements set under the County Governments Act and the Senate Standing Orders.
“And now therefore I direct that all members of the public including the media withdraw from the galleries and any form of broadcast from the chamber to cease forthwith,” Speaker Kingi said.