Kisii Governor Simba Arati has told Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua off for what he described as the mistreatment of county chiefs from the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya coalition.
Mr Arati claimed that the deputy president was threatening and intimidating opposition governors. The Kisii governor said Mr Gachagua had told them to 'behave' if they wanted their security restored.
The governors' security was withdrawn during anti-government protests called by the opposition in July.
"The same person who talked about shares in the government told the governors to behave in exchange for their security officers. I don't need police officers to survive, these citizens you see here are enough security. I am not going to behave any time soon. Please, Deputy President, I will not," Mr Arati said.
The governor made the remarks on Wednesday during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Aggregation and Industrial Park in Bomachoge Borabu Constituency. Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria graced the occasion.
The Kisii County boss said instead of succumbing to intimidation, he would focus on his mandate to his constituents and always follow his conscience.
"We are 47 governors. How can you pick on five governors and order the withdrawal of their security and firearms? What is your agenda? We will not be threatened!" Mr Arati told the deputy president.
He added that there was absolutely no reason why governors should be denied security just because they are not in government.
He said they were all serving Kenyans irrespective of their political affiliations and what was important now was the country's unity in tackling the various challenges facing citizens.
"There is nothing wrong with not being in government. The Constitution enshrines all rights to belong to any political affiliation," said the Kisii governor.
Mr Arati was one of several governors from the Azimio La Umoja - One Kenya coalition whose security was withdrawn after protests in their counties.
On July 7, 2023, Kisii town witnessed aggressive demonstrations in which police shot and killed four people.
Other governors whose security was withdrawn were Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Anyang Nyong'o (Kisumu), Ochilo Ayacko (Migori) and James Orengo (Siaya).
Azimio leader Raila Odinga had called for street protests to force the government to reduce the cost of basic commodities by withdrawing the controversial Finance Bill, 2023.
Speaking during a church service at Alliance High School sometime back, Mr Gachagua said the security granted to the leaders would be restored once the government was sure the spate of anti-government protests was over.
"I am sorry your security has been withdrawn. Your officers were taken away to deal with demonstrators," Mr Gachagua said, referring to the withdrawal of the security detail attached to the Azimio coalition's top brass.
"We did not have enough officers to deal with the demonstrators for three days. Your officers will be returned to you after three months when we are sure there will be no demos."
On July 16, 2023, the government withdrew the security officers attached to top Azimio la Umoja leaders.
The leaders had been planning three-day demonstrations over the high cost of living.