Meru MPs step in to mediate war between Governor Kawira, MCAs

Kawira Mwangaza

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza speaks before flagging off a consignment of drugs at the county headquarters on October 24, 2022 as her husband Murega Baicu (L) looks on.

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

Meru legislators have moved to mediate the tussle between Governor Kawira Mwangaza and ward representatives even as each side hardens its stance.   

On Monday, Senator Kathuri Murungi held a meeting with county assembly leaders and urged the governor to initiate a dialogue.

"I was to meet the governor after meeting [the] assembly leadership, but she won't be available until next week,” said Senator Murungi, who is also the Senate Deputy Speaker.

“We urge the governor to have a sitting with the [assembly] Speaker, and the majority and minority leaders to resolve their differences."

Meru parliamentary group chairman and Tigania West MP John Mutunga said ward priorities should be included in the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) for future funding.

"Meru is now on the radar but we hope the misunderstanding will be resolved. It is clear that no money will go to the MCAs," Mr Mutunga said.

"The ward allocation will be implemented by the executive as per the law. We should not take advantage of small disputes to tarnish the names of other leaders."

He also defended MPs against allegations that they had incited MCAs to fight the governor.

"As MPs, we have no interest in interfering with the operations of the county government. Our only interest is to see unity and allocation of more resources for development to the county,” he said. 

“It is our joy when our county succeeds and this is why we have taken it on ourselves to mediate."

Standoff escalated

The MPs intervened as the standoff escalated into a deadlock after each side gave its terms and conditions before backing down.

In Governor Mwangaza’s case, she has cut off all informal links with ward representatives. She demanded that MCAs write a formal letter requesting a ward development fund and explaining how it should be implemented within the law.

On the other hand, assembly Speaker Ayub Bundi rejected the governor's proposal, arguing that it was upon the county boss to write to the assembly.

"We cannot write a letter. The governor should call us for a meeting or write to the assembly and we will respond accordingly. We are well aware that the ward fund is not provided for in law but the executive can provide a ward-based allocation," Mr Bundi said.

The duel intensified on Monday when the governor demanded a public apology from Minority Leader Mwenda Ithili, who is also the Akithii MCA.

The governor, who was distributing seeds at Mweronkanga in Tigania West, urged the MCA to apologise to her before the gathering.

The governor started off by explaining her tiff with MCAs before rallying the crowd into unison to demand an apology.

"Surely, has MCA Mwenda done well? Should I forgive him? Should he come out and say sorry or I apologise on his behalf?" She posed amid affirmation from locals.

But when Mr Ithili stood up to speak, he accused her of telling half-truths.

"You have heard all that the governor has said and God is our witness ... I cannot apologise," he said but was cut short by the governor, who grabbed the microphone.

Mr Ithili had earlier defended MCAs, arguing that they only wanted the ward fund defined in the budget.

"We are ready to meet the governor to end the bad blood. This money is not going to individual pockets," Mr Ithili said.

With both camps taking a hard stance, residents are now banking on Senator Murungi's reconciliation efforts to end the dispute.