Deputy President William Ruto with some o politicians from Western region during the official opening of One A care Fund offices in Kakamega on March 30, 2019. [Benjamin Sakwa/Standard] The 2022 succession politics is headed to uncharted waters following a scheme to impeach Deputy President William Ruto. Senate Minority Leader James Orengo wants the DP ousted on grounds that he has been mentioned in graft cases.“Admission of land grabbing in the Weston Hotel, misleading information on the Sh21 billion dams scandal and many of his contradicting public messages are enough grounds to impeach him,” says Orengo.However Ruto’s allies have faulted the graft purge saying it is biased and targets to scuttle his presidential ambitions.
Collect signaturesLawmakers who spoke to Sunday Standard believe that the impeachment motion would not get the required backing to succeed.National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said the threshold for removing the DP was too high for “a small party like ODM” to succeed.Duale said any MP wishing to start the impeachment process must collect signatures from not less than a third of the membership of the National Assembly.“In a House of 349, that translates to 117 MPs. That would be an uphill task for anyone. The idea will die even before it starts,” said Duale.
“Where will they get the numbers?” added Kipkelion West MP Hillary Kosgei.On the other hand National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi does not look at the numbers. He believes the planned impeachment is premature and does not have popular support.“The impeachment is jumping the gun. It is premature and could even put to jeopardy the genuine fight against corruption,” said Mbadi.Duale says the Senate Minority Leader does not have the powers to start the impeachment process at the Senate where he sits.The Majority Leader says under Article 145 of the Constitution as read together with Article 150, the process could only originate in the National Assembly, where Orengo does not sit.
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“As a Senior Counsel, Orengo is either in some legal slumber or is knowingly misleading the public. He has failed to understand aspects of any impeachment process of the Deputy President or the President,” he says. Even if it was to proceed, Duale argues that a 10-member trial committee of the Senate would have to be formed, where the DP will be expected to defend himself.If the committees find sufficient grounds then the senators will take a vote.Insurmountable“The final stage is even harder-it requires two thirds of Senators to support. For a House where Jubilee Party enjoys super majority, that is definitely insurmountable. Our Constitution protects all Kenyans from cheap witch-hunt,” he saidThe National Assembly Majority and Minority leaders are unanimous that the grounds for impeachment and numbers would not have any impact on Ruto.
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According to the 2010 Constitution, the DP just like the President can only be impeached if he is found guilty of gross violation of the Constitution, or commits a serious crime.Lawmakers who spoke with Sunday Standard believe that the motion would not have the gravitas and numbers to go with.The impeachment though meant to fix their perceived their political nemesis, seems to be hurting the ODM party according to an MP who sought anonymity.“We are beginning to suspect that Orengo is pushing for the impeachment so as to scuttle the handshake,” said the MP.The law maker suggested that Orengo could be ‘doing it strategically to aid Ruto. “We believe the Siaya Senator could be doing a hatchet job for Ruto,” said the MP.