3-MONTH STALEMATE

Joho brokering truce in Taita Taveta

Governor, and MCAs at loggerheads over their demands for Sh839m monitored ward funds

In Summary

• Speaker On Tuesday, Taveta MP Naomi Shaban led the apologetic Taita Taveta MCAs in reaching out to Joho to broker between the MCAs and Samboja.

•JMajority leader Jason Tuja said they have always been ready for dialogue and they have 'seen the white smoke'. .

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Taita Taveta leaders at the Mombasa Governor's Office on Tuesday.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Taita Taveta leaders at the Mombasa Governor's Office on Tuesday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s move to broker a truce between  Taita Taveta MCAs and Governor Granton Samboja could be the result of nudging from State House.

The President expressed disappointment with the county leadership for failing to resolve what he called a "simple matter" during his meeting with Coast leaders at State House Mombasa last Friday.

ODM leader Raila Odinga has also expressed disappointment.

The impasse has been ongoing for three months.

Samboja refused MCAs' demands to allocate themselves more than Sh830 million in the 2019-20 budget to spend in their wards without regulation. They refused to give in and refused to cooperate.

The governor has collected signatures of 52,100 residents on a petition to Uhuru petition to dissolve the county after MCAs refused to drop their demands for money.

Now MCAs seem more willing to cooperate.

Majority leader Jason Tuja said they have always been ready for dialogue.

“We believe through Joho we will get a solution to our problem. We are not better than others. We have no choice but to see where we went wrong. We have seen the white smoke,” he said.

Led by Speaker Meshack Maghanga they apologised to residents for the suffering the stalemate has caused them.

“We are optimistic we will get the way forward through God’s will,”  he said.

We believe through Joho we will get a solution to our problem. We are not better than others. We have no choice but to see where we went wrong. We have seen the white smoke
Majority leader Jason Tuja

As both Uhuru and Joho want the Coast region to diversify its economy and create more wealth and jobs, the trouble in Taita Taveta county could be a stumbling block.

On Tuesday, Taveta MP Naomi Shaban led apologetic MCAs in reaching out to Joho to broker a cooperation pact between them and Samboja.

Joho said, "We are looking at revamping our economy in the Coastal region. We will not leave you behind. We will force you to the table to negotiate."

The flamboyant governor, who has been angling to take over as the Coast kingpin, said the region cannot develop without unity of purpose.

Joho said he has been in contact with Kilifi  Governor Amason Kingi and others to find an amicable solution to the stalemate.

He wants all six Coast governors to seek a way to end the impasse.

“It is my duty to sit Granton Samboja down as my brother, together with other leaders, and correct and remind each other so  Taita Taveta people do not miss out on services,” he said.

“This is not the reason as to why we fought for devolution. We cannot afford to lose one day, let alone three months," Joho said. "So much could have been achieved in that time."

Shaban warned there is a risk of missing out on the gains of devolution should the impasse not be broken soon.

(Edited by V. Graham)