'Iron fist ruler' Ngilu locks horns with senator, again

Ngilu wants to displace a vocational centre to create room for leather, honey factories

In Summary

• Senator describes textile industry as a fraud, says information about its legality is scanty; says public land is being used for a controversial project. 

• But Ngilu says the area is most ideal to set up an EPZ to decentralise marketing of products. 

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu moves the public to endorse plans to move Syongila vocational centre during a public participation meeting on Sunday.
'DEAL ALREADY MADE': Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu moves the public to endorse plans to move Syongila vocational centre during a public participation meeting on Sunday.

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and the Senator Enoch Wambua have opened a new war front over a county project.

This time, they are wrangling over a move by the governor to displace the Syongila Vocation Youth Centre to create room from the setting up both leather and honey processing factories. 

Last week, in a widely-circulated statement on social media, Wambua condemned Ngilu's move saying she was out of order. 

Ngilu's administration wants the two new factories put up on the nine acres occupied by the centre that is adjacent to the governor’s pet Kitui County Textile Centre, Kicotec.

“Charity Ngilu, you are grossly out of order! I draw the attention of the people of Kitui, and indeed all Kenyans, that Ngilu is at it again! This time, she is forcefully taking community land for the expansion of an already highly controversial and mysterious garment godown,” Wambua's statement reads. 

Describing Kicotec as a garment godown and a fraud, Wambua rued that information about its legality as a public entity is scanty and thus remains a fraud to date. 

“Ngilu can't and must not be allowed to rule the people of Kitui county with impunity and an iron fist. I know she is being protected by leaders who have a big say in the national government. But those leaders are not more powerful than the collective will of the people,” Wambua’s statement read. 

But despite protests from the senator, Ngilu together with the vocational centre's directors and the community, on Sunday held public participation on establishing an Export Processing Zone at Syongila. 

According to a dispatch from Ngilu’s press service and communication desk, the establishment of EPZ will displace the vocational training centre. 

During the Sunday meeting, the community, board of directors and the county representative unanimously resolved that Kicotec would be retained at Syongila and absorb students studying at the vocational centre. 

The communique said it was further decided that the rest of the students who were taking other courses as well as members of the staff would be transferred to other polytechnics across the county. 

Late last week and in the wake of protests by Wambua, Ngilu laughed off attempts by the senator to block the relocation of the centre. She said the area was most ideal to set up the EPZ manufacturing hub next to Kitui town. 

The governor accused Wambua of always taking pleasure in discrediting her government’s projects. "This man does not see anything good my government does. He keeps of waging unnecessary war against me," she said on Friday.

She said the dislocation of the vocational centre to accommodate honey processing and leather factories was informed by a deal she had struck with the Export Processing Zone and the World Bank. 

"I have reached an agreement with both the EPZ and the World Bank to decentralise marketing of the products." 

Edited by R.Wamochie