Meru Governor Kawira staring at fresh ouster bid amid fallout

Kawira Mwangaza

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza when she addressed a prayer gathering attended by President William Ruto in Embu on December 4, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

Over a year since she was sworn in to take over the county’s leadership mantle, Governor Kawira is still stuck on fire-fighting mode amid a relentless onslaught by political rivals.

She survived impeachment in December last year after a Senate special committee found that none of the 62 charges that were levelled against her had been substantiated.

Efforts to mend fences with MCAs, who had accused her of being overbearing and a bully, led to a political détente with her rivals, who pledged to support her administration.

This short-lived truce is now unravelling, with major political parties telling their members in the county assembly to stop associating with the county boss.

Political parties have cited the rift between the governor and her deputy, Mr Isaac Mutuma, accusing Ms Mwangaza of failing to unite the county.

They include the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP), Jubilee Party, National Ordinary Peoples Empowerment Union (Nopeu) and Party of National Unity (PNU).

UDA is the majority party in the assembly while DEP is the minority . UDA has summoned its members for a meeting on Saturday while DEP legislators will meet on Monday.

Last week, DEP, Jubilee, and Nopeu officials declared political war with the governor. County DEP Secretary-General Alhaji Mwendia revealed plans to sponsor a second impeachment motion against Ms Mwangaza.

“As a party, we had resolved to give the executive space to deliver but they have failed. We have declared war against the governor,” Mr Mwendia said.

He revealed that the parties were whipping their members in preparation for an impeachment motion against the governor and some members of the county executive committee.

An UDA ward rep who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were under pressure from senior party officials to remove the governor from office.

“The very leaders who lobbied for the governor to survive the first impeachment have now realised that we were right. We will not be rushed. They can as well table the impeachment motion,” the MCA said.

His sentiments were echoed by Jubilee Party coordinator Julius Baariu, Nopeu Meru county chairman Julius Mbijiwe and UDA coordinator Isaac Kaberia.

Meru Senator Kathuri Murungi said the ruling party was considering withdrawing its support for the executive as the majority party in the assembly.

Minority leader Mwenda Ithili said: “We have given the executive time to prove that they can deliver but they have failed. It is time for the legislature to take charge of the affairs of this county. We will crack the whip.”

The political storm was started by the deputy governor, who has accused his boss of sidelining him and got worse after Ms Mwangaza accused local politicians of “behaving like cartels”.

Speaking during a prayer meeting attended by President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua at Laare a week ago, Ms Mwangaza said rivals she beat in the 2022 elections are yet to come to terms with their defeat.

“A cartel of 10 people earning Sh500, 000 and Sh1 million cannot have the monopoly of determining when there is trouble in Meru. We don’t have any problem as a county but the only issue is that my opponents are yet to accept that the governor is a woman,” Ms Mwangaza said.

Meanwhile, a section of residents have initiated the collection of signatures to support a petition to remove Ms Mwangaza from office.

Mr Julius Mwithu said the unending wrangling was a result of the governor’s failure to manage politics and resources.

“The governor is at war with all leaders and lacks the capacity to manage our resources. The fallout with her deputy is a sign that she has failed in her management,” Mr Mwithu said.

Governor Mwangaza has remained defiant, saying, her detractors will fail in their efforts to remove her from office.