Expressing his disappointment on the persistent wrangles between Meru Governor Peter Munya and Senator Kiraitu Murungi, the secretary general of the Njuri Ncheke council of elders Phares Ruteere, recently urged the people of Meru to dump the two and prepare to elect new leaders to replace them in 2017.
Ruteere bluntly told the people of Meru that the two were only fighting to acquire more political power and control of resources, instead of taking care of the issues affecting and afflicting the people who elected them; the people they are supposed to respectively provide services to and represent as governor and senator.
The elder noted that the differences between the two were dividing the community and that their political wrangles and naked ambition were bringing to the fore hitherto unheard of ethnic undertones at (unauthorised) campaign meetings.
I for one naively thought that Igembe, Tigania and Imenti were the same as Nyeri, Kiambu and Murang’a, but thanks to the politics being played by Munya and Kiraitu and the revelation by the Njuri Ncheke, I now know that these are sub-tribes that can be used for political mileage.
Governors and senators have abdicated their otherwise noble roles and are busy campaigning long before the campaigns are officially announced, to take what every politician has realized is the most powerful political position at the county level, with the best chances of looting public resources.
The scramble for governorship is not restricted to Meru but is widespread and has replaced service delivery almost across the country. In my home county of Kiambu, so fierce is the fight to retain or gain the governorship that squabbles between Governor William Kabogo and Kabete
MP Ferdinand Waititu have denied the President the chance to visit his home county. The two are even fighting over who studied in India and who did not. The creation of county governments by the architects of the constitution was to bring services closer to the people, but, this rhetoric aside, what has been witnessed at the ground in most counties, has shown that the only people for whom services may have come closer, are the people who manage these governments and lord it over the electorate.
Other beneficiaries are their cronies who rake in millions of shillings from the county coffers by providing shoddy services, supplying sub standard goods or just ‘air’. Governors are very powerful individuals, but some only shed their rags a few months after ascending to the governorship and are now clothed in gold.
These men can dish out jobs to their cronies while standing through the roof windows of their fuel guzzlers, make millionaires out of village truants through dubious road maintenance contracts and visit every corner of the world, including Outer Mongolia, courtesy of the taxpayer.
When asked to explain how they are using the money given to them by the central government to provide services to their subjects, they dismiss the questions and even start calling the Treasury names. When the senate demands that the governors answer to them in the august House, they flatly refuse to do so or go hide in the courts.
Who would not want to have this free rein?