DP Rigathi Gachagua meets Governor Kawira Mwangaza to end Meru County wrangles

Kawira Mwangaza

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza (left) meets Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on January 12, 2023.

Photo credit: Pool

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza on Thursday met Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua in talks expected to broker a truce between her and Members of the County Assembly.

The governor has been at loggerheads with ward reps since she was sworn into office on August 25, 2022. The row culminated in her impeachment on December 14, 2022. The governor was, however, saved by the Senate on December 30.

Ms Mwangaza met Mr Gachagua during morning hours alone according to photos shared on social media.

“I had a blessed and fruitful meeting with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at his offices in Nairobi,” Ms Mwangaza posted a brief message on her Facebook page, accompanied by photos of her and Mr Gachagua.

In his post, the DP said after meeting all the parties in the Meru leadership, they had “agreed on a framework to bring all the leaders together for peace and harmony in the county” adding that he was optimistic an amicable solution would be found.

“My first engagement was with Members of the National Assembly and the Senator, Hon. Kathuri Murungi, who is also the deputy speaker of the Senate, followed with a sitting with Members of the County Assembly,” he said.

Leadership wrangles

Mr Gachagua said President William Ruto was concerned about the leadership wrangles in Meru and instructed him to pursue “efforts aimed at bringing peace and creating a conducive work environment for development and unity for the great people of Meru…”

 “We discussed various issues raised by all the teams in the county and the need to foster peace and a conducive work environment for service delivery,” the DP added.

Mr Gachagua did not give details of the issues Ms Mwangaza raised with him.

The meeting now sets into motion the process of constituting a 10-member committee to deliberate on issues of contention between the parties and report to the deputy president.

When the DP met MCAs at his Mathira home last Sunday, it was agreed that the parties name five members each, including two MPs who will negotiate and come to a consensus on disputed issues.

The second in command instructed the committee to report to him on the issues it had agreed on.   

Top on the list of demands the MCAs presented to Mr Gachagua was that the governor should stop engaging in activities the ward reps felt were undermining them at the grassroots level, including the disbursement of bursaries without involving them.

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.

During the reign of the first and second governors – Peter Munya and Kiraitu Murungi – each of the 45 wards was allocated Sh25 million and Sh20 million respectively. The funding came in the form of projects suggested by MCAs and financed by the governor.

However, Ms Mwangaza declined to allocate the funds, which is said to have been the genesis of the friction with ward reps saying having campaigned on a platform of development projects, it would be hard for them to convince the electorate that they had delivered their promises.