'INCOMPETENT AND GREEDY'

Wangamati's days as governor are numbered, says Barasa

Kimilili lawmaker says MPs from the county have plotted Wangamati's impeachment

In Summary

• Barasa said they plan to roll out a series of meetings to be presided over by Senator Moses Wetang’ula to ensure Wangamati leaves office.

• Wangamati laughed off the claims, dismissing them as theatrics that do not warrant his response.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa
IMPEACHMENT: Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa
Image: JOHN NALIANYA

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa says Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati will be impeached soon for failing the county. 

He said on Monday Wangamati's administration was like Covid-19 and must be sent packing before it leaves the county in ruins.

Barasa claimed a group of elected MPs had been deliberating on the issue and planned t impeach him for incompetence, a claim dismissed by Wangamati.

The county chief had failed to live up to residents' expectations and had instead focussed on amassing wealth while starving the devolved unit of development, he added.

 

The lawmaker said they would engage MCAs in strategising on how to go about the decision. He spoke at Santa Mara Hotel in Kanduyi. He said they planned to roll out a series of meetings to be presided over by Senator Moses Wetang’ula to ensure Wangamati left office.

"The meeting will be held after the coronavirus clampdown has been declared by President Uhuru Kenyatta so we are able to discuss the conduct and the behaviour of the governor," he said.

"Wangamati is a failure. He is not living up to his pledges. After our consultations, we are very much concerned with the state of affairs in the county."

He said the meeting will be held in Amutala Stadium in his constituency and added that besides him, only Wetang'ula or former Governor Kenneth Lusaka, now the Senate speaker, were fit to replace Wangamati.

But Wangamati laughed off the claims, dismissing them as theatrics that do not warrant his response. He said he was more concerned about improving residents' lives, especially in the wake of Covid-19 infection in the country, and would not waste his time focussing on what politicians said.

Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu also came to his defence, rubbishing Barasa’s sentiments as uncouth, a witch hunt and full of malice.

Eseli, who is the Ford Kenya party secretary general, said Barasa was a Jubilee Party MP and should not purport in any way to speak on matters touching on Ford Kenya leaders. Wangamati was elected on a Ford Kenya ticket. 

 

"It’s not time to critique leaders' performance and throw stones. Instead, it’s time to come together and see how our people can be protected from the deadly coronavirus," he said. 

Eseli told Barasa to focus on transforming the lives of Kimilili residents, instead of salivating for Wangamati's seat.

Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama also distanced himself from claims by Barasa that he is among the leaders who want Wangamati out.

"Let it be clearly known that I'm not part of the nonsense that Barasa is spreading as I fully support Wangamati as our governor. It will be upon the electorate who will decide when the time comes if he will continue serving them or go home in 2022," he said.

Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi, who is the county Ford Kenya party chairman, also said he was not aware of the scheme by leaders to oust Wangamati and called on leaders to unite and ensure residents are protected from Covid-19.

For his part, however, Brasa maintained that they are much concerned with the high levies that are driving small-scale traders out of business.

"We need to arrest the situation before it gets out of hand. The hiking of tax payment to small-scale traders for the last two years is satanic, draconian, unfriendly and punitive," he said.

Barasa, a first-term MP, claimed that more than 95 per cent of small scale traders grapple with punitive taxes and 50 per cent of them have had to close up shop. He said the county government has turned a deaf ear to their plight.

"While campaigning for the seat in 2017, Wangamati pledged to waive tax payment for small-scale traders, including mama mbogas and motorcycle riders, but he has failed to do so and has gone ahead to impose a punitive tax on them."

Barasa urged MCAs to prepare to remove the county boss from office if he does not turn around the situation swiftly. People are suffering and they can’t go about their businesses because the county government isn’t giving them room to thrive, he said.

"If he fails to reduce the punitive taxes imposed on unsuspecting members of the public who voted him in and continue pressing them hard, it will worsen the situation.

"If they can’t reduce taxes to the standard that it used to be when Ken Lusaka was the governor, we will advise our people not to remit any monies to the county government," he said.

Barasa also urged the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and other anti-graft agencies to investigate the Wangamati administration, which he said only enriches a few individuals.

"We are aware that big projects are done by companies associated with the county boss, the worst hit is the Roads ministry, the monies are going back to the pockets of the boss, yet the common mwananchi is suffering," he said.

Barasa also called on Wangamati to account for the cash received by the county. 

"The World Bank and the Treasury have been sending money to Bungoma county, but we have no development projects to showcase. Since he was elected, we have gone through two full financial years and received about Sh20 billion, but we have nothing to be proud of."

Edited by Francis Orieny