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Intrigues behind Waiguru’s fight for survival

Saturday April 04 2020
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Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru. Her leadership is being questioned by ward representatives. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By WANJOHI GITHAE
By GEORGE MUNENE

The process to impeach Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru will move a notch high this week when she is formally presented with accusations against her, even as Jubilee Party and State machinery pull all stops to halt her ouster.

After she is presented with the petition, she will have seven days to rebut. The County Assembly will then formally hold sittings to discuss her conduct as a governor.

If they vote to impeach her, the decision will then be tabled at the Senate.

If she overcomes the impeachment, it will be the second time lucky for Ms Waiguru after the National Youth Service scandal in 2015 left her unscathed amid public outcry.

And amid the storm raised by the impeachment, various organs of her Jubilee Party and the State, as well as the Judiciary, have been involved in what will undoubtedly be a month of heavy political machinations.

Ms Waiguru is a leading light in Kieleweke faction of Jubilee government that supports President Uhuru Kenyatta's political dalliances with opposition leader Raila Odinga.

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As one of the senior most leaders in Mt Kenya, she has been at the forefront defending the president from Tangatanga faction of Jubilee that leans towards his deputy William Ruto.

Even as she is visible nationally, currently she enjoys support of six members of county assembly against an onslaught from 27, and its clear her relations with the ward representatives is irretrievably broken.

TUJU LAMBASTED

On Thursday evening, Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju sacked County Assembly Majority Leader James Murango for not adhering to the party’s edicts.

"It is no longer tenable for you to lead government business in the county assembly. We find this behaviour of refusing to listen to the party headquarters to be gross misconduct as articulated in Article 13 of the party constitution. Any display of intransigence from your part could lead to more serious sanctions, which may include expulsion from the party as proscribed under Section 14 of the political parties Act, 2012," read the letter by Mr Tuju dated April 2, 2020.

Mr Murango is in the anti-Waiguru camp. On Saturday, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria hit out at Mr Tuju for ‘meddling’ in the count's matters.

Mr Kuria wondered why the party did not intervene in the Kiambu impeachment process against former Governor Ferdinand Waititu.

“For far too long, the Jubilee secretariat has been carrying out party affairs with reckless abandon. It is suspect why Mr Tuju and his owner occupiers at Jubilee Party did not act with the same alacrity in Kiambu County. One wonders whether Hon Tuju is the secretary-general of Jubilee Party Kirinyaga branch,” Mr Kuria said in a statement.

“Even more astounding is how a secretary-general has time to interfere with the affairs of a constitutionally mandated County Assembly when it tries to play its oversight role while he has consistently defied the directives of the party leader President Uhuru Kenyatta to convene a parliamentary group meeting for us, the tenants of the party, to express our feelings to the owner-occupiers of the party on the various challenges facing the party and country,” he added.

VALIDATE PROCESS

Kirinyaga County Commissioner Jim Njoka last week waded into the impeachment row when he issued a directive that the MCAs should not meet in the House due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter to Assembly Speaker Antony Gathumbi, Mr Njoka noted that the members continued meeting to deliberate on impeachment and other issues against the government's directive that meetings of more than 10 people should be suspended as a measure to fight the pandemic.

"I now order that the Speaker ensures the MCAs do not meet in the assembly or within its precincts," Mr Njoka said in his letter.

In a swift rejoinder, area Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici dismissed the commissioner, noting that the assembly is an independent body and its operations should not be interfered with.

Ms Waiguru herself feels the motion is an extortion project. "Many (impeachments) like mine are frivolous and an embarrassment. It is usually extortion and political brinkmanship," Ms Waiguru asserted.

The governor proposes the need to review the law to provide for an independent investigative process validating grounds for her impeachment.

"That would include requiring formal audit findings or charges in a court of law. This process where people wake up, concoct some grounds and proceed to vote is a violation of the letter and spirit of the constitution," affirmed Ms Waiguru

BAD BLOOD

The governor failed to hold talks to appease the MCAs earlier last week.

But keen to pull a fast one on the pro-impeachment camp, the county boss tried reaching out to some of the MCAs personally to forestall plans to oust her.

But on Tuesday, the motion was tabled and it became clear that MCAs had stood their ground. The motion was filed by Mutira representative Kinyua Wangui

The case appears to have been well-researched and locals will be waiting to see the defence she will mount.

Mr Wangui, 35, is a Kenyatta University alumnus and holds a degree in bio-chemistry.

Incidentally, he was the majority leader in Joseph Ndathi's administration but lost in Jubilee nominations, but go re-elected as an independent candidate.

In September 2019, the governor denied him a chance to address his constituents in Kagumo market, leading to the county chief being booed.

A close ally of Ms Waiguru, Edwin Gicobi, has accused Deputy Governor Peter Ndambiri of endorsing the ouster motion.

But Mr Ndambiri has denied that. "I'm very loyal to the governor, and the allegations levelled against me are not true. I'm being framed," he said.

The governor has also been at loggerheads with the ward reps over the validity of the county's Directorate of Liaison and Communications and with Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho concerning the setting up of a Kemri centre.

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