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Citizen Weekly

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Test for Kalonzo as Makueni faces mini general election


Senior political players in Ukambani are burning midnight oil to broker truce between Makueni governor  Kivutha Kibwana and members of county assembly even as it emerges that the county is headed for dissolution as surely as night follows day. The onus now is in the hands of president Uhuru Kenyatta to form a committee to look into issues raised by voters in the county. The IEBC finalised verification of more than 50,000 petitioners giving the list a clean bill of health. The governor is leading county residents in asking the president to dissolve the county which has been marred by wrangles since its inception with the governor surviving two impeachment attempts. The MCAs majority elected on Wiper ticket have paralysed the county operations by refusing to pass key county laws including budgets which has led to the standoff.
The governor elected on  Muungano party ticket has only seven MCAs against Wiper which has 34 MCAs. The MCAs have openly defied Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka in their attempts to impeach the governor joining their counterparts in Machakos county who also rebelled against Kalonzo and went ahead and impeached their deputy governor Bernard Kiala. In fear of being seen as losing clout in his own party Kalonzo who jetted back from South Africa convened party top organ NEC where he prevailed over the meeting to de-whip Machakos leader of majority Joshua Mwonga and his Makueni counterpart Francis Mutuku.
Makueni voters who presented the petition at Harambee House flocked the capital city with more than 50 hired buses from every ward and presented the petition. The same day Kalonzo was also  holding a crisis meeting at his office along Ngong Road with MPs and senator from the county. The governor was absent after he learnt that Kalonzo wanted to pursue reconciliation route which he was opposed to.
During the meeting it was resolved that Kalonzo together with the leader hold public rallies in the county to plead with the voters and allow room for reconciliation. They were to address rallies in towns and end with a final meeting at Unoa grounds in Wote town. They were also to be accompanied by the Wiper MCAs who would apologise to the governor. The planned rallies were shelved when Kalonzo saw on TV how  voters had flooded the city calling for the dissolution. He was also briefed how the ground was hostile to him and his MCAs and in fear of humiliation cancelled the tour. Addressing voters is absence of their governor was an uphill task for Kalonzo in a county was he has enjoyed massive support.
Those versed with Ukambani politics say Kalonzo is keen to stamp authority in the county after facing stiff rebellion in the neighbouring Machakos county to a group of MPs opposed to his leadership and now tilting towards Jubilee administration. But observers say if the county government is dissolved Kalonzo himself will be the biggest casualty considering that the ground is too angry with his MCAs and likelihood that Muungano will reap big in the polls is high. If dissolved locals say they will overwhelmingly vote Kibwana back but will send packing all MCAs in the county together with their speakers Stephen Ngelu. Ngelu whom Kibwana has accused for the standoff defeated Kibwana’s man during speaker’s election to clinch the post. He is alleged to have bribed MCAs for the vote. He contested Kibwezi East parliamentary seat on a URP ticket but lost to Wiper’s Jessica Mbalu.
On knowing that their fate is sealed the MCAs have sent apologies to the governor to end the stalemate in vain with the law professor standing firm towards  dissolution. The assembly accounts have been frozen by the county treasury leaving the MCAs dry approaching election. Local banks which financed their Sh2 million car loans have so far written letters to all MCAs demanding them to clear loan arrears with information that the banks have engaged auctioneers to sell their cars. The move has complicated matters for the leaders who are now seen engaging with elders from the county said to be close to the governor to salvage their political careers. MPs who had earlier met in Mombasa with the MCAs to plot Kibwana’s impeachment have backtracked and are now silently backing dissolution in fear of being sidelined. They include Regina Ndambuki (Kilome) Kisoi Munyao (Mbooni), Daniel Maanzo (Makueni), Mbalu (Kibwezi East), Richard Makenga (Kaiti), Patrick Musimba (Kibwezi West), Rose Museo (women rep) and Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior.