•The governor took an oath of office at Mwatunge grounds in Mwatate Constituency.
•The swearing-in ceremony was presided over by High Court judge Lady JusticeAnn Adwera and Chief Magistrate Mildred Obura.
Former Mwatate legislator Andrew Mwadime was Friday sworn in as the Taita Taveta County’s third governor.
The governor took an oath of office at Mwatunge grounds in Mwatate Constituency.
The swearing-in ceremony was presided over by High Court judge Lady JusticeAnn Adwera and Chief Magistrate Mildred Obura.
He was sworn in alongside Deputy Governor Christine Kilalo.
Mwadime, an independent candidate trounced the incumbent governor Granton Samboja with 49,902 votes in the just concluded general polls to win the coveted seat.
Samboja of the Jubilee party came a distant second with a staggering 22,000 votes.
Samboja who ousted former governor John Mruttu in 2017 had only served one term in office.
Mwadime becomes the second governor to be elected on an independent ticket after Meru’s Kawira Mwangaza who defeated Kiraitu Murungi.
Speaking shortly after taking the oath of office, Mwadime lauded the residents for massively voting him in to lead the county.
He said his win was an indication that people have trust in his leadership and that he will not let down the residents.
"I pray that God blesses all those who stood with me during the campaigns. The time has come now for us to give back to you by delivering our manifesto. Our oath today is a binding contract with the people of this county," Mwadime said, further promising to serve the residents without favour.
The outspoken governor also fired a strong warning to the county staffers that his government will not shield any county employee accused of graft and that incompetent staffers will not go unpunished.
"I believe that this county has very competent staffers. All salaries shall be paid on time and we are promising to make sure that all employees work to the satisfaction of the residents.
Further, Mwadime said the government will form a team to oversee awarding of construction tenders among other tenders in the county to ensure competency and openness in awarding of tenders.
He said the county will not pay contractors who will not have finished their projects within the stipulated timelines.
"Every contractor will be paid on time upon successfully completing the awarded tender. We will however not pay those who are used to doing shoddy jobs. We want the residents to see the value for their money," Mwadime said.
The new county boss also promised to pay the pending bills left by the outgoing governor Samboja.
Deputy Governor Christine Kilalo pledged to faithfully work with the governor in a bid to realize their manifesto and transform the region.
Kilalo said their government shall prioritize utilization of the county resources in the region including mineral resources to create jobs for hundreds of jobless youths in the county.
"In our manifesto, we promised to help reduce the number of jobless people in the county. That will be realized by exploring the mining sector and utilizing other resources in the county," the Deputy Governor said in her speech.
County's elected leaders also attended the swearing-in ceremony. \
They included MPs-elect Peter Shake (Mwatate), Danson Mwashako (Wundanyi), Abdi Chome (Voi) and former Taveta MP Naomi Shaaban.
Others present were Senator-elect Jones Mwaruma, Woman Representative-elect Lydia Haika and all the 20 elected MCAs.
Mwaruma asked the new administration to take legal action against county employees accused of graft in the last regime.
"We do not want your government to be associated with those people who were accused of squandering public funds in the last government, otherwise you will also fail," Mwaruma said.
Haika promised to work closely with Mwadime's administration, further asking him to prioritize the water and health sectors.
She said the sectors are poorly managed thus leading to poor service delivery.
On his part, County Commissioner Lyford Kibaara said the national government shall work closely with the county government in order to serve the residents better.
"The national government is mandated to work with the devolved units in many issues that cut across. You have our support to make sure that your leadership excels," Kibaara said.
He further asked residents to continue maintaining peace even as the political dust settles with the new governor taking charge.