In the last two weeks, bare-knuckled political tackles between Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Woman Representative Kawira Mwangaza have led to growing political temperatures in the County after she expressed interest in the top seat.
From a fake Njuri Ncheke disciplinary letter, a fake expenditure report for the National Government Affirmative Fund (NGAAF) and falsified Whatsapp chats, both camps have been out to outdo each other online.
Since declaring her interest in the Meru gubernatorial seat in 2022, Ms Mwangaza has maintained that no political tackle will box her out of the race.
The Woman Rep stirred the hornet’s nest when she demanded that Mr Murungi be put under forced quarantine after his recent meeting in Maua failed to meet social distancing requirements.
“We demand that Mr Kiraitu be arrested immediately for breaking the law. We have seen the common mwananchi being arrested daily, does the law cut one way? I am ready the lead the police to Mr Kiraitu to ensure he is quarantined,” Ms Mwangaza said.
Recently, she also expressed sharp criticism of the Meru Governor's development record through Baite TV station, which is run by her husband Murega Baicu.
A shrewd businesswoman-turned politician and Bishop, Ms Mwangaza is not only training her guns at Mr Kiraitu but also at his predecessor and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.
“I will unseat Mr Kiraitu very early in the morning. There is no development record from him. The former governor will also do the worst mistake in his life if he tries to come back to local politics. I will show him dust,” she said in an interview.
She became a local household name by capitalising on the family's popular TV station to publicise her charity work through campaigns dubbed ‘Operation Okolea’.
She also endeared herself to the locals by cutting the image of a down-to-earth leader willing to soil her hands by, for instance, washing the feet of jigger infested residents and helping rehabilitate rejected drug addicts.
All these are beamed onto the family's TV station, sometimes at the expense of Mr Murungi who has since raised alarm over the local media empire.
Ms Mwangaza also runs Baite Family Fellowship church alongside her musician husband.
However, she has been accused of using the station to besmirch other leaders.
The Governor, for instance, has accused her of using it to taint his administration by airing negative content only.
“I will not allow Baite TV to keep bashing me from morning to evening. Was Baite TV established to fight me? I am asking its owners to stop,” he said.
Several MCAs allied to governor Kiraitu have also hit out at Ms Mwangaza accusing her of sponsoring mudslinging of the County Government.
“Ms Mwangaza should also come out clean and account for the affirmative action fund. As she scrutinises other leaders, she should prepare to be held accountable because I have not seen anything tangible project by affirmative action fund,” Abogeta West MCA Denis Kiogora said.
Kangeta MCA Romano Mwito accused the Woman representative of antagonising the public against other elected leaders.
However, Mr Baicu says the TV station operates within the law and that no complaint has been made against them.
“All TV content is monitored by Communications Authority. What we do is air the issues raised by residents. Did Baite TV start airing this content today? All the claims being peddled are because my wife has declared that she will vie for governor. The claims are diversionary tactics but we will not take our eyes off the ball,” he said.
Ms Mwangaza also defended her performance saying the Meru County Resource and Rescue centre, funded by NGAAF at a cost of more than Sh20 million is one of her flagship projects.
“Meru Resource and Rescue center is my landmark and will be in operation by December. This center will provide jobs to over 2,000 people. I have also been running other projects like distribution of school uniforms to the needy, bursaries and scholarships, enhancing community based projects like water projects,” she argued.
Her differences with Governor Kiraitu date back to the Jubilee Party primaries in May 2017 when she lost to former Woman Representative Florence Kajuju.
She was initially vying on a PNU ticket but moved to the Jubilee Party, joining Mr Murungi who was then in a political outfit dubbed ‘Kikali’ comprising of Senator Mithika Linturi and Ms Kajuju.
After losing in the nominations, Ms Mwangaza accused Mr Kiraitu of wooing her into a trap, and speedily returned to the race as an independent candidate. She had the last laugh when she beat Ms Kajuju with 280,272 votes against 231,687.
Immediately after being elected, Ms Mwangaza was on the spot for including her family members in the NGAAF committee.