Meru resident files petition to impeach Governor Kawira Mwangaza

Kawira Mwangaza MCA wars

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza addresses journalists at the county headquarters on October 24, 2022. 

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

A petition has been filed at the Meru County Assembly by a resident to impeach Governor Kawira Mwangaza over alleged gross misconduct and abuse of office.

Constitutional activist Salesio Thuranira, popularly known as Omtatah, for his litigation on public interest matters, delivered the petition to the Clerk of the Assembly on Thursday afternoon.

Meru assembly clerk Jacob Kirari said the petition is being studied by the legal team to establish if it meets threshold.

“The petition has been received today. I have directed the legal team to look into it to establish if it meets the threshold for presentation for debate next week,” Mr Kirari told the Nation.

In the petition seen by the Nation, Mr Thuranira is urging the Assembly to initiate the impeachment process arguing that there are sufficient grounds for removal of Governor Mwangaza from office.

Ms Mwangaza has been locked in a standoff with members of the Meru County Assembly over allocation of ward development fund and bursary kitty under the new administration.

Mr Thuranira cites the appointment of a Mr Francis Mungai as the Meru County Revenue Board general manager which he says was done against the revenue board act.

“…This was contrary to section six of the Meru Revenue Board Act, 2014 which establishes that such appointments must undergo a competitive process and shall be subject to the approval by the County Assembly,” he argues in the petition.

He also cites an incident where the governor delegated duty to her husband Murega Baicu ‘yet he is not a state officer.’

“On 11th September, 2022, Governor Kawira Mwangaza, on her Facebook Page declared that she is not ready to work with other leaders since she is an independent Governor,” he states.

Mr Thuranira argues that Ms Mwangaza’s cabinet was unveiled in violation to article 27 of the constitution and section 35 of the county government act.

He adds that the appointment of Mr Rufus Miriti as the County Secretary goes against section 44 of the County Governments Act.

The act provides that the county secretary should be competitively appointed and approved by the county assembly. Mr Miriti was also county secretary in the former administration.

The activist also accuses the governor of declaring the owners of the land where Igoji Meru Youth Service Centre is located as 'thieves'.

“On October 19th 2022, Governor Kawira Mwangaza stormed the County Assembly of Meru Chambers by force with goons who dishonoured the honourable house, a confession she made via a press conference at the County headquarters…” he adds.

Governor Mwangaza is also accused of humiliating Akithii MCA Mwenda Ithili in public and ‘inciting residents against the honourable member’.

Other grounds include the governor’s husband participation in official meetings and employment of two sisters, son in-law and cousin in various positions.

“…it is uncontroverted that Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza has violated, infringed and threatened the constitution and all other relevant provisions of the law hence the grounds of gross misconduct and abuse of office are substantiated,” Mr Thuranira petitions.

He wants the petition considered as urgent and the governor summoned to answer to the allegations.

According to the County Governments Act, a motion of impeachment can only be moved on the floor of the house if it is supported by at least a third of all members. The motion passes if it is backed by at least two thirds of all members of the county assembly.

The developments come on a day when Njuri Ncheke leaders met the governor and resolved to end the stalemate.

Njuri Ncheke secretary Josphat Murangiri said the governor had expressed willingness to work with other leaders.

“The governor is ready to meet the county assembly leadership to forge a working relationship. We will soon meet the assembly leadership to also get their commitment,” Mr Murangiri said.

The presentation of the petition comes as governor Mwangaza wrote to the Controller of budget to seek advisory opinion on the legality of ward development fund, which is being demanded by the MCAs.

This comes after Governor Mwangaza’s cut off all informal links with ward representatives.

She demands MCAs write a formal letter requesting a ward development fund and explaining how it should be implemented within the law.

War with MCAs

Governor Mwangaza has been engaged in a tough war with Members of County Assembly since assuming office, hitting a crescendo last week when MCAs walked out as she delivered her inaugural speech. 

Police were forced to lob teargas canisters as supporters of Ms Mwangaza and the MCAs hurled stones at each other.

So bad is the row that Meru legislators have offered to mediate between the county boss and ward representatives even as each side hardens its stance. 

On Sunday, Meru MCAs woke up to find their WhatsApp group, “Meru County MCAs 2022” disbanded.

This, they say, was the only link between them and governor Mwangaza. Governor Mwangaza, who was the founder and administrator of the group, removed all the MCAs and disbanded it as the tiff with the county legislators escalated.