The political standoff in Mandera is far from over after Governor Ali Roba vowed to take back for vetting and approval a list of ten executive nominees rejected Thursday by the assembly.
In a phone interview with Nation, Governor Roba, elected on a Jubilee Party ticket, accused the Economic Freedom Party (EFP) leadership of witch hunt, leading to the rejection of the executive nominees.
“I am aware of what they (EFP) are after and this was a predetermined position which is on record and in public domain that they vowed to drop all CECs that will be presented by the governor even before the list was forwarded to assembly,” he claimed.
Mr Roba said EFP is punishing him for defying the so called "negotiated democracy" by the Gurreh Council of Elders.
Mr Roba wants the EFP members to stop political animosity and concentrate on service delivery to the people.
He said the Thursday incident was well-crafted and premeditated when the EFP MCAs walked out on him when he was at the assembly for official opening in September.
“When their MCAs walked out on me at the assembly they went ahead to swear that they will [reject] my CEC nominees before I even presented the list,” he said.
The Mandera governor challenged EFP to understand that elections are over, adding that he is ready for constructive engagement.
“I am ready to objectively engage the EFP leadership for constructive and realistic discussion and not for the continuation of negotiated democracy but on how we can protect pure democratic environment,” he said.
According to the governor, pure democracy will allow any leader uninhibited space to seek an elective position of his or her choice just like in other parts of the country.
“Mandera is in Kenya and it must conform to the norms contained in our laws. The council of elders and EFP are acting like a cult that believes it must get what it wants at all costs which is unacceptable,” he said.
Mr Roba said MCAs lack sufficient knowledge of county government laws on appointments and appealed to the Speaker to ensure better training of members on the same.
“They need to be reminded that they took an oath of office with the Quran in their hands to serve the people impartially under the watchful eyes of God and the same Speaker,” he said.
Mr Roba argued that guidelines on the vetting process are clear and they must be followed to the letter but the committee ignored them.
“They don’t understand the law on appointments and I appeal to the speaker to ensure his team is properly trained on this in playing their role,” he said.
He said the committee on appointments chaired by Mr Mohamed Khalif intimidated his nominees and even took the role of investigators.
While adopting a report rejecting the list, MCAs said the governor did not consider regional balance in his list but Mr Roba dismissed the claim.
“Law never talks of constituency balancing when appointing public officers but it talks of [balancing of] clan, minority and groups of special interest and that is exactly what I did,” he said.
He was accused of picking his nominees from Mandera East and South areas but he said his list was about clans and all (clans) are represented regardless of where one resides.
He said his five current serving executives who are among those rejected will remain in office until new appointments are made, according to the law.
On Thursday, the speaker said all rejected nominees should not be allowed back in office but promised to seek an interpretation of the law on the same.
Mr Roba said despite his list being rejected, there was no vacuum in his ten member cabinet.