CS Mithika Linturi Survives Impeachment

The 11-member select committee formed to investigate the CS found that the allegations against Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi are unsubstantiated.

CS Mithika Linturi Survives Impeachment
Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi during a visit to KEL Chemicals, April 12. /CAPITAL BREAKING NEWS

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mithika Linturi has escaped having his impeachment confirmed by the National Assembly.

This is after the 11-member select committee consisting of Members of Parliament (MP) formed to investigate the CS found that "the allegations against Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi are unsubstantiated."

The committee presented its findings on the floor of the National Assembly on Monday, May 13.

“The allegations under Ground 1 on gross violation of the constitution, Ground 2 on serious reason for believing that the cabinet secretary has committed a crime under national law and Ground 3 on gross misconduct, as outlined in the special motion, are unsubstantiated,” the committee said in its report.

The National Assembly in session on June 14, 2023. /PARLIAMENT OF KENYA

Seven members of the committee out of the 11 MPs voted to save the CS while four voted against his rescue.

MPs from the ruling Kenya Kwanza coalition who were part of the committee include Naomi Waqo, Samuel Chepkonga, George Murugara, Jane Maina, Moses Injendi and Kassim Tandaza. 

Azimio la Umoja was represented by Robert Mbui, TJ Kajwang, Catherine Omanyo and Yussuf Farah whereas Jubilee Party which was recognised as a minority party in Parliament by Speaker Moses Wetangula was represented by Racheal Nyamai. 

CS Linturi was mainly accused of overseeing the distribution of substandard fertiliser through National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores.

This is owing to his position in the Ministry of Agriculture, with the responsibility of implementation of President William Ruto’s subsidised fertiliser program falling under his docket.

Bumula MP Jack Wamboka, whose impeachment motion received the support of 110 signatures from legislators, had listed three grounds in the impeachment motion against CS Linturi: gross violation of the Constitution or any other law, serious reasons to believe the CS has committed a crime under national law, as well as gross misconduct.

Linturi, through his counsel, urged the committee to dismiss the impeachment motion, arguing that the mover had failed to provide proof implicating the CS in the fake fertilizer scandal. 

“That the fact that the man appearing before you has an issue with character and image is itself inadmissible. It is in this context that the Constitution presumes one innocent until proven guilty,” Muthomi Thiankulu, Linturi’s lawyer, said on Friday.

Linturi’s other lawyer added: “The accusers are basing their evidence on perception. Why? Because he has been perceived as an evil person by the media for 5 years. His linen was laid bare. The guilt of Linturi has not been proved, he is innocent.”

The CS had attributed the impeachment motion to persecution from his adversaries and a former partner with whom he had intimate relations before a bitter fallout.

“All these cases revolve around an individual that unfortunately we were friends and for whatever reason that relationship could not hold and out of her own volition she decided to bring so many cases which I was forced to defend,” the CS told the Committee, and had to be consoled after he broke down.

“There is case number 74 where I was being sued to take responsibility for children who are not mine,” he continued in tears.

Wamboka however argued that his legal team presented watertight evidence against Linturi, dismissing the CS's affirmations of substandard fertilizer.

“There’s nothing like substandard fertilizer, this is fake fertilizer. I, Wamboka, have tried; I leave the ball in your court. Remember Kenyans will never forget these proceedings. There are so many ways of killing the rat. The committee is one of them. Mithika Linturi Must Go!” he stated.

On Thursday, May 2, 149 MPs voted to proceed with the impeachment process for CS Linturi while 36 of them opposed it. Only 3 did not take part, a move that paved the way for the investigative committee to be formed.

This committee was allocated a tight deadline, with just 10 days to examine the evidence against Linturi and deliver a report to the Assembly.

“The Select Committee shall within 10 days report to the assembly whether it finds the allegations against the Cabinet Secretary to be substantiated or otherwise. If the Select Committee report finds that the allegations are unsubstantiated, no further proceedings are taken thereafter,” read part of the Speaker’s ruling.

“However, if the Select Committee report finds that the allegations are substantiated, the House is required to afford the CS an opportunity to be heard and a vote whether to approve a resolution requiring dismissal of the Cabinet Secretary.”

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi speaking during a fundraiser in aid of St. Theresa's Catholic parish in Imenti Central on April 28, 2024. /MITHIKA LINTURI