What you need to know:
- Mr Muriithi said he had taken the decision after he learnt that the MCAs had decided not to work with the governor after she was rescued by the Senate.
- In the past year since she was sworn in, Ms Mwangaza has been at loggerheads with members of the county assembly who have twice attempted to impeach her.
A Meru resident has petitioned President William Ruto to dissolve the Meru County government, saying the relationship between the executive and the county assembly has broken down to the point of no return.
Mr Henry Muriithi, a resident of Naathu Ward in Igembe North, says the county government is "irretrievably broken and completely dysfunctional" and instead of the two entities working together, two parallel entities are operating.
He says while Governor Kawira Mwangaza runs one unit, her deputy Isaac Mutuma runs the other, where he is backed by the county assembly, leading to a situation where "the county government cannot discharge its constitutional mandate".
“The stalemate has resulted in the objectives of devolution not being met as is foreseen under Article 174 of the Constitution. If the objectives of devolution are not being achieved in the county government of Meru, the people submit that the county ought to be dissolved at the earliest opportunity,” the petition reads.
“Members of the county assembly have publicly declared that the Executive is their enemy, hence it is clear that both entities are operating parallel and are not working towards meeting the needs of the people of Meru,” Mr Muriithi says in the petition, which was received at the Office of the President on November 10, 2023.
Speaking to the Nation on the phone, Mr Muriithi said he had taken the decision after he learnt that the MCAs had decided not to work with the governor after she was rescued by the Senate.
In the past year since she was sworn in, Ms Mwangaza has been at loggerheads with members of the county assembly who have twice attempted to impeach her.
The Senate thwarted the first impeachment attempt on December 30 last year after an 11-member committee chaired by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale cleared her of all 62 charges.
The governor survived the second impeachment on Wednesday night after senators dismissed all seven charges on which the MCAs based the October 25 impeachment, saying they were not substantiated.
Ms Mwangaza was accused of misappropriation of funds, nepotism, contempt of court, illegal appointments, illegally naming a road after her husband Murega Baichu, contempt of assembly and defaming elected leaders.
During the debate, some senators said the differences between Ms Mwangaza and the MCAs were irreconcilable and suggested that the county should be dissolved.
Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot is on record as saying some of the allegations were substantiated. The MCAs now say they are dissatisfied with the verdict and are preparing for another impeachment.
Minority leader Mwenda Ithili told the Nation that members of the county assembly would immediately start preparing another impeachment motion against the governor and sanction county officials involved in the alleged misappropriation of funds.
“Since the governor has blamed the misappropriation of funds on her staff, we will go after county officials found culpable. The assembly has the power to impeach members of the executive,” he said.
Mr Ithili, who seconded the impeachment motion, ruled out reconciliation with the governor, saying "We will immediately start building on various allegations of misappropriation of funds that were left out. A lot of money has been misappropriated in Meru County."
He added that they were ready to dissolve the county if all efforts to address the problems in Meru failed.
Majority Whip Jim Muchui said the county assembly was ready to impeach the governor as many times as possible, arguing that the situation was irreparable.
Minority whip Dennis Kiogora said they had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the governor was guilty of two of the charges, adding that she had been let off the hook because of Kenya Kwanza and Azimio politics.
“We are convinced that the count on embezzlement of funds and that of illegal appointments were credible. But some senators got emotional about the attacks by [Tigania East MP] Mpuru [Aburi] and decided to change their minds,” said the Abogeta West MCA, who moved the first impeachment motion.
Mr Kiogora ruled out reconciliation with the governor, saying as DEP, which is the opposition party at the assembly, they would continue playing their oversight role. “When we reconciled after the first impeachment attempt failed she threw us under the bus. As the minority whip I will play my part in the opposition,” he added.
Ms Gacheri Muthuri, nominated MCA (Jubilee) said: “The fact that the Senate overturned the impeachment motion doesn't mean that the governor will become competent overnight,” adding that the counts in the impeachment motion were valid.
“What was clear is that senators did not consider the issues we had raised in the motion, especially with regard to gaps in governance. Some senators even called for dissolution of the county, saying the relationship between MCAs and the governor was irreconcilable,” she added.
Mr Mwenda Kiriinya, also nominated by the Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP), said democracy, good governance, accountability, value systems and honesty were "put to the test".
“The Senate pronounced itself. I respect the decision, but I will point out their inadequacies in dealing with the matter in the coming days. History will vindicate some of us. But for now, let those exonerated enjoy and celebrate, you deserve it,” Mr Kiriinya posted on Facebook.