What you need to know:
- Mr Wangamati had been summoned by the Public Administration and ICT Committee
- But the Governor says the committee has no powers to summon him.
The row between Bungoma Members of County Assembly and Governor Wycliffe Wangamati has escalated after the latter failed to appear before a House Committee on Tuesday.
Mr Wangamati had been summoned by the Public Administration and ICT Committee, chaired by Khalaba ward MCA Henry Okumu Majimbo, to shed light on the contentious issue of recruitment of 232 village administrators.
Addressing the media within the precincts of the assembly, the MCAs, led by Mr Majimbo threatened to take legal action on Mr Wangamati for failing to honour the summons.
“We as a committee have had our sitting today from 9am after we summoned Mr Wangamati to come and shed light on this village administrators recruitment exercise stalemate. As we were waiting for him, we received a letter from county secretary saying that Mr Wangamati was not going to show up, since we as a committee do not have the powers to summon him,” Majimbo said.
Mr Majimbo however said Article 195 of the Constitution of Kenya gives them powers to summon the governor, or any other person, to appear before them and give information that might assist them in any arising matter of public interest.
Powers to summon
“We want to tell Bungoma electorates that we have a governor who does not respect the rule of law; someone who has contravened the provisions of Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of Kenya by failing to appear before a House committee after being lawfully summoned,” he said.
Wangamati, in a letter written by county secretary seen by the Nation, said the committee has no powers to summon him.
The MCAs last week said that they had not allocated any cash for the employment of the village administrators in the county's nine constituencies in the 2020/2021 financial year.
The assembly further warned the executive against diverting funds meant for employing ECDE teachers and VTC tutors to hiring village administrators.
However, while addressing mourners at a funeral ceremony in Khachonge, Kabuchai constituency on Tuesday, Mr Wangamati termed his decision to recruit village administrators unstoppable.
'Malice and selfishness'
The governor also took issue with a section of MCAs opposed to the exercise, terming their move ‘wishy-washy’ and borne of malice, ill-will, malevolence and raw selfishness.
“If anyone thinks he can stop the recruitment of our young men and women as village administrators for one reason or the other, he is completely mistaken,” he said.
The governor underscored the need to hire village administrators as a provision of the Constitution, saying they are part of the wider plan for effective service delivery up to the smallest units in the county.
Mr Wangamati stated that his decision to recruit village administrators is lawful and no person will stop the process. He went as far as daring the ward reps to impeach him if they so wished.
“If I will be impeached on account of hiring sons and daughters of Bungoma, so be it,” he said.