DP Gachagua to convene Governor Mwangaza, MCAs meeting

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during a prayer meeting at Kerugoya Stadium on January 22, 2023. Mr Gachagua is to meet Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza and MCAs to end a row between them.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is this week expected to convene a meeting of the 10-member committee selected to negotiate a ceasefire of hostilities between Meru governor Kawira Mwangaza and members of the county assembly.  

Speaker Ayub Bundi said the MCAs were waiting for the DP to call the meeting, even as the Senate Committee on Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations on Sunday held discussions with the MCAs.

“The date, time and venue (of the meeting) will be initiated by the Deputy President,” Mr Bundi said, without giving further details.

Mr Nchamba Mbithi, Ms Mwangaza’s chief of staff said the executive will be represented by the governor, her deputy and two more members.

“We are ready for the talks we expect will be convened any time from now,” Mr Mbithi said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

After meeting governor on Saturday and the MCAs on Sunday, the Senate committee led by vice chair Ms Catherine Mamo said both parties had committed to holding dialogue and resolve a row that threatens to paralyse operations in the county.

“After our talks with the governor and MCAs, we can report that they are willing to dialogue. The governor and MCAs will sit together and agree on how to work since service delivery to the people requires that the ward reps and the executive each play their role,” Ms Mamo said.

She was accompanied by members of the committee, Oburu Odinga (Siaya) and nominated  senators George Mbugua, Peris Tobiko and Esther Okenyuri.

Ms Mwangaza has been embroiled in a row with Ward Reps since she was sworn into office on August 25, which culminated into her ouster on December 14, 2022 but was saved by Senate on December 30.

After the attempted ouster, President William Ruto directed his deputy Rigathi Gachagua to mediate talks between the two parties.

The DP has since held talks with Meru members of parliament, the MCAs and Ms Mwangaza and it was resolved that a 10-member committee negotiates for truce. It is expected that the committee will start sitting next week.

Broker peace

Speaking on Sunday during interdenominational prayers at Kerugoya stadium in Krinyaga county which were attended by President Ruto, Ms Mwangaza said the dialogue that was being pursued would resolve the matter.

“I want to assure the president that Meru is peaceful and we will resolve the matter so that our people realize development,” the governor said.

However, some MCAs said contrary to impression Ms Mwangaza created that all was well in Meru, each of the parties needed to commit to the official process which was yet to begin, saying they were waiting for Mr Gachagua’s-led unity process to kick off.

Nkuene MCA Martin Koome Makasi said they were confident that Mr Gachagua would broker peace between the two parties.

“What we know is that we selected 10 people who will represent us in the talks and that is the process we are sure will result to a lasting solution to the problems we are facing with the executive,” Mr Makasi said.

The MCA are opposed to Ms Mwangaza’s style of engaging herself in activities the ward reps say are a preserve of the ward reps, including issuance of bursaries and identification of projects to be implemented at the ward level.

The other issue of contention is the Ward Fund which however was not a subject of the impeachment motion tabled by Abogeta West MCA Dennis Kiogora.