FLURRY OF IMPEACHMENTS

Fearful MCAs raise their 2022 stakes

In some counties the reps cannot impeach, not with food in their mouths.

In Summary
  • Competition for the office is getting stiffer. Fear and self-interest conspire to make them easy prey for compromise.
  • They are also vulnerable because they are voters’ resident ATMs for petty and pressing needs.

MCAs have reason to be impatient. The county legislators are running out of time and opportunities to make money. The general election is about 100 Wednesdays away. The competition for the office is getting stiffer. Fear and self-interest conspire to make them easy prey for compromise.

MCAs are also vulnerable because they are voters’ resident ATMs for petty and pressing needs. They contribute to every funeral, fundraising, pre-wedding, and other assorted needs of the ward electorate. When MCAs meet these needs, they open doors for more requests. When they don’t give, they face threats of rejection at the ballot and taunts of you mean man.

Governors and their 2022 rivals find MCAs easy to manipulate. They respond favourably to ‘treatment’ that addresses their fears and self-interest. Many MCAs are not certain of reelection. Even those who could retain their seats need campaign money. They have to make money any way they can, even when the booty comes with complaints, lies and excuses.

There are other underlying issues around impeachments that MCAs don’t want voters to know. They have to up their stakes to soar their takes.

The impeachment threats against Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, and the running ruckus between Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and MCAs, illustrate the restlessness in some counties.

In some counties MCAs cannot impeach, not with food in their mouths. The Controller of Budget reports their allowances far exceed the Salaries and Remuneration Commission ceilings. MCAs abandoned oversight because they are immersed in the rot.

There is a softer and legal side to the issues MCAs have with governors. The legal gripes rationalise impeachment threats. But there are softer embellishments to the sometimes legitimate questions of bad governance.

The Senate handling of Waiguru’s impeachment does not seem to have made Kitui MCAs and their chaperones any wiser. But even in the Kirinyaga case, the allegations against the governor had political undercurrents. Fractious impeachment plots crash because they are often laced with politics.

Waiguru’s failed impeachment rode on claims of abuse of office, a breach of procurement rules, and default on a state of the county address. There were succession muddles. But there were also softer claims that the governor does not respect MCAs. She did not invite them to her class wedding last year where President Uhuru Kenyatta and African Union envoy Raila Odinga were VIP guests.

Kitui MCAs accuse Ngilu of failure to respond to Senate summonses and irregular procurement. They also allege she did not remit statutory deductions to the Kenya Revenue Authority. The MCAs also claim she has not sacked a county executive who should have been dismissed. Never mind the subject went to court to stop any disciplinary action until his petition is determined.

The Kitui MCAs, however, do not want it known they are drawing from a Sh5 million incitement kitty or that they are arsenals in the bow of vested interests. Wiper is yet to discount the claim it is financing Ngilu’s impeachment. There is more to the impeachment than the allegations. These interests do not want the assertive Ngilu to muddle their stakes in the Uhuru succession.

Ngilu, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua were early converts to the Building Bridges Initiative of Uhuru and Raila.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka last month rushed a cooperation contract with the ruling Jubilee Party. But he is aware of the impact a combination of Ngilu, Kibwana and Mutua may have on his shaky deal with Jubilee. Ngilu must then be destroyed for Kalonzo to stamp his authority as the bull of Kambaland.

The Senate handling of Waiguru’s impeachment does not seem to have made Kitui MCAs and their chaperones any wiser. But even in the Kirinyaga case, the allegations against the governor had political undercurrents. Fractious impeachment plots crash because they are often laced with politics.

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