alexa Waititu’s House grip weakened as his top allies bundled out - Daily Nation

Waititu’s House grip weakened as his top allies bundled out

Wednesday July 10 2019

Kiambu MCAs fight in county assembly

Kiambu MCAs fight in the county assembly on March 21, 2019 following a disagreement over a supplementary budget. Tables seem to have turned on Governor Ferdinand Waititu after he began losing control of the county assembly PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ERIC WAINAINA
By ERIC WAINAINA
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Tables seem to have turned on Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu after he began losing control of the county assembly, which he has enjoyed since 2017.

This comes after unhappy ward representatives elected his perceived opponents to key House leadership posts.

The assembly has been in the grip of Mr Waititu’s allies, whose election he allegedly bulldozed.

For a long time, the 92-member House has been grappling with accusations of “sleeping with the executive”, casting doubts on the members’ independence in playing their oversight and legislation roles.

IMPEACHED

Slightly over a week ago, Majority Leader Antony Ikonya, Chief Whip James Mburu and their deputies were impeached over claims of conspiring with the governor and Speaker Stephen Ndicho to kill the independence of the House and to suppress oversight.

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Mr Ikonya and his team were accused of running the assembly without consultation, and with arrogance, unnecessarily intimidating and frustrating MCAs, being unruly and refusing to be questioned.

During an election held on Monday, the MCAs replaced Mr Ikonya with Ndeiya Ward Rep Gideon Gachara – one of Governor Waititu’s fierce critics – something which was previously unthinkable.

IKONYA CAMP DEFEATED

Mr Gachara, who is among the MCAs who challenged the county’s controversial supplementary budget that was tabled and passed “illegally”, allegedly to cover up irregularities, garnered 48 votes out of 88 to replace Mr Ikonya, the governor’s right-hand man.

Mr Ikonya, the Kiambu Town MCA, did not defend the seat after his ouster, allegedly to avoid embarrassment. Instead, his camp fronted Ting’ang’a MCA Covenant Chege, who garnered 39 votes.

Ms Ann Wanjiku (nominated) is the new deputy majority leader after she got 43 votes against Mr Jane Wathiga (also nominated), who garnered 41 votes.

Theta MCA Simon Karema won the Majority Whip’s post with 45 votes. He beat Kijango Ward Rep Alex Kabuu, previously Mr Ikonya’s deputy.

The members also rejected Ms Margaret Gatonye (nominated) for the deputy whip post. They replaced her with Mr Margaret Mwago who got 43 votes.

OTHERS TARGETED

Immediately after the polls, the MCAs said they will target other House leaders, whom they accused of embarrassing the assembly by serving the governor’s interests, as well as the incompetent and corrupt county executive committee members.

Sources indicated that the members are now targeting Speaker Ndicho and his deputy, Mr Phillip Mubea, who is also the Cianda Ward Rep. The MCAs have accused the two of incompetence, calling them Governor Waititu’s “disciples”.

“We’ve replaced (House) leaders with the people we want, so even the others who have been conspiring with the governor and his administration to oppress the electorate should know that they are next,” said Biashara Ward MCA Elijah Njoroge.

KILLED INDEPENDENCE

The new Majority Leader said the previous leadership had, through their conduct, killed the independence of the House by pushing oppressive laws and suppressing the House’s oversight role.

He said their victory was a step towards claiming the House’s independence.

He said he hoped the county, which has been grappling with allegations of wanton theft, “will be saved from the jaws of greedy people”.

Over the weekend, Mr Waititu made spirited but vain efforts to ensure he maintained control of the House.

This is after unhappy MCAs boycotted a meeting he had called at BTL in Ruiru, and during which President Kenyatta’s name was invoked.