GRAND MARCH

Waititu tenure hangs in the balance as voters petition assembly

Residents have been collecting signatures, which hit 211,000 by Wednesday.

In Summary

• They want Waititu removed from office after he was charged with corruption.

• The residents, drawn from all 12 subcounties, were led by ‘Okoa Kiambu’ lobby group. 

Kiambu residents on Wednesday took to the streets to support the petition that seeks the removal of Governor Ferdinand Waititu from office.

They want Waititu removed from office after he was charged with corruption. The residents, drawn from all 12 subcounties, were led by ‘Okoa Kiambu’ lobby group. They have been collecting signatures, which hit 211,000 by Wednesday. They delivered the petition to the county assembly clerk for consideration by MCAs.

The group was formed by a section of residents for the purpose of getting the county chief out of office. He has been enjoined by the court from accessing his office until the case is concluded.

 

Residents say a lack of substantive governor to steer the county has hurt growth and the situation could get worse. Deputy Governor James Nyoro has been acting as governor, but his roles are limited. 

The initiative to collect signatures was started on Tuesday last week. BThey targetted at least 200,000 registered voters out of the 1.2 million. Many residents heeded the call.

During the march, chants of "Waititu Must Go" rent the air. They said they no longer have confidence in his leadership. No development has been realised in the two years Waititut has been in office, some said.

“We hear that the deputy governor, who is now acting governor, has no mandate, according to the County Governments Act, to do anything regarding the powers given to the governor, hence everything stalling. We, the people, have a right to demand services and development,” Peter Kiruga said.

They say the petition people-driven. It was handed over to the county assembly clerk for consideration. MCAs will then table and debate it before forwarding it to the Senate.

Wanja Wagichungwa, a resident, said that since Waititu has been barred by the court from accessing his office, the county affairs must go on.

The deputy governor is, however, constrained by law and cannot assume all responsibilities. Wagichungwa said that has hampered development.

“We, the undersigned citizens, want the assembly of Kiambu to invoke Section 33 of the County Government Act, 2012, and impeach the governor in line with Article 181 of the Constitution," he said.

"The move will restore public trust on the procurement process and the management of public resources in line with the Public Finance Management Act, 2012, to the Kiambu county government and the office of the governor.

"Why should Kiambu people suffer? Development cannot be done because the governor is barred from office by the court. That's why we have initiated the move to collect signatures and have Waititu impeached so in our hospitals, money can be used to buy medicine, our roads can be done and other stalled projects be commenced."

Hoswel Kinuthia from Kiambaa said they have got the requisite number of signatures and the ball was now on the county assembly's court.

"The drive to collect signatures for impeaching Waititu is not from selfish interests. It is Kiambu people who want services delivered but it cannot happen since the mandate is with a person who is facing graft charges who has since been told not to step in the office. We cannot allow this to continue at our own expense,” he said.

Most residents feel short-changed on the current situation of county affairs, accusing elected leaders of keeping quiet and ignoring their plight.

Acting Governor Nyoro said the county cannot wait for Waititu to come back to the office and that would stifle projects.

“When do you think he will be back in office? Do you want us to wait for him? Or should we move forward in delivering services to the people? Let the court deal with their matters and when he comes back, we shall have moved on and he will pick up from there as we have already wasted two years,” he said.

The national government projects have remained the only lifeline Kiambu. They include roads, railway, sewerage, dams, hospitals and markets. Most county projects have stalled.

(Edited by F'Orieny)

Kiambu residents during a protest against Governor Ferdinand Waititu on Wednesday.
OKOA KIAMBU: Kiambu residents during a protest against Governor Ferdinand Waititu on Wednesday.
Image: STANLEY NJENGA
Kiambu residents during a protest against Governor Ferdinand Waititu on Wednesday.
IMPEACHMENT: Kiambu residents during a protest against Governor Ferdinand Waititu on Wednesday.
Image: STANLEY NJENGA