Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza faces fresh political battle

Women demo

A group of women gather at Kinoru stadium during demonstrations against Tigania East MP Mpuru Aburi on May 15, 2023. They accused the MP of fighting Meru governor Kawira Mwangaza.

Photo credit: Courtesy

A fresh political duel is simmering in Meru following a renewed campaign against Governor Kawira Mwangaza by some politicians.

On Monday, hundreds of women led by the Meru Maendeleo ya Wanawake officials held demonstrations condemning the governor’s opponents.

Over the weekend, Tigania East MP Mpuru Aburi and some ward representatives heightened their campaign against Ms Mwangaza, following disquiet among some MCAs over what they term as disrespect from the governor, as well as arbitrary ‘demotion’ of senior staff in the county.

Earlier, political temperatures rose after Meru Senator Kathuri Murungi announced plans to set up an oversight team to look into the performance of the county government. 

Speaking during the demonstrations in Meru town, Meru Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson Kanana Nteere said Mr Aburi’s remarks that ‘the governor does not respect men’ borders on gender-based violence.

“We are calling on the Njuri Ncheke Council of elders to summon Mr Aburi to explain the unfortunate remarks he made in Laare. We condemn the MP for disrespecting our governor and all women,” Ms Nteere said.

The angry women marched from Kinoru stadium to Meru town condemning Mr Aburi as ‘an enemy of progress’.

“Mr Aburi has been leading opposition against every governor elected in Meru. He fought Peter Munya and later fought Kiraitu Murungi. He should leave Governor Mwangaza alone,” said Ms Rosemary Ngaku, a resident.

The governor’s husband, Mr Murega Baichu, also took to social media and alleged Mr Aburi threatened to use violence against the governor.

Public rally

“I am psychologically and physically disturbed and saddened by threats of violence issued by Tigania East MP Mpuru Aburi on May 13 in a public rally at Laare Town in Igembe north … I therefore urge our leaders to exercise caution when engaging in politics … this is purely promoting gender-based violence and negatively impacting war against gender-based violence,” Mr Baichu stated.

The governor has also been at loggerheads with Mr Murungi over his efforts to keep the county executive in check.

He accused the county boss of being too fearful of oversight and vowed to ensure the governor accounts for every public coin.

“We have witnessed a change in the political climate in Meru over my statement that I will thoroughly carry out oversight of all funds allocated to the Meru County Government. There is no doubt that the constitution has demarcated the roles of the governor and senator. Therefore, no one should fault the other for simply doing their work,” Mr Murungi stated.

He said his role is set out in article 96 of the Constitution, enabling him to exercise oversight over national revenue allocated to county governments.

“Senators are therefore the watchdogs of the people over funds channeled to support the county governments. They are tasked with overseeing the use of public funds by county governments … This is my responsibility, and I cannot abdicate it because someone is uncomfortable,” he said.

Last week, the governor warned Central Imenti MP Moses Kirima and Mr Aburi to face off with her at their own peril.

This is after the two MPs lashed out at the governor for attacking Mr Murungi over his plans to set up an oversight team to keep the governor in check.

“The senator was equally elected by the people of Meru. We will not allow anyone to hurl insults at him. Those who will try this in my constituency will be in trouble,” Mr Kirima said.

But speaking during the disbursement of the county bursary, Ms Mwangaza said: “I can only recognise Kirima if he delivers electricity to every home and tarmac in all roads. Let him be informed that he cannot face off with me. Let him concentrate on his work because he cannot handle a governor’s work.”

She reiterated her claims that the senator was behind her impeachment last year, and said there were efforts to revive dissent against her.