Impeached Kiambu county governor Ferdinand Waititu on Monday moved to the Supreme Court to contest the decision to lock him out of office.
Waititu claims in the notice of appeal to the apex court that he is dissatisfied with the Court of Appeal’s decision last Friday to uphold his suspension, claiming that it amounted to removing him from office through the back door.
“Being dissatisfied with the entire decision of the Appellate Court, the applicant is seeking the Supreme Court’s intervention to enforce his rights as an elected governor and those of Kiambu people who stand to suffer if the decision is not overturned,” read the notice of appeal.
Appellate Judges Daniel Musinga, Agnes Murgor and Gatembu Kairu on Friday upheld a High Court decision, which suspended Waititu and Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal from office after they were charged with embezzling public funds.
The governor was charged in July with conspiracy to steal Sh58 million from Kiambu County during the award of a Sh588 million tender for roads construction.
He was charged alongside his wife Susan Wangari Ndun’gu, former County Chief Officer for Roads Luka Mwangi, businessman Charles Chege and his wife Beth Wangeci as well as six county employees.
The trial magistrate then barred Waititu from accessing his office as a condition for being released on bail.
The ruling was upheld by High Court Judge Grace Ngenye who declared that the governor should not set foot in the county offices until the corruption case is concluded.
Judges Musinga, Murgor and Gatembu ruled that public interest outweighed the two governors’ individual rights to access their offices.
“We find nothing wrong with the lower court’s decision to bar the governors from accessing their offices. As much as it will be inconveniencing to them, we find that it is necessary to impose the conditions to safeguard public resources and the court’s integrity,” ruled the judges.
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According to the judges, it would be wrong to allow Waititu to set foot in the same offices he is accused of committing the crimes and interact with the same witnesses, who are his junior staff, scheduled to testify against him.
On the issue of a vacuum being witnessed at the counties due to the governors’ absence, the judges stated that the constitution already has a provision for deputy governors to take over functions of running county affairs in the absence of their bosses.
“There is absolutely no fear of vacuum in leadership in the absence of a governor. We have had instances where the governor is having ill-health and their deputies take over. The law provides that the deputies can run the affairs if the governor is absent,” ruled the judges.