Detractors won’t derail our agenda, say female governors
What you need to know:
- Mwangaza (Meru), Wanga (Homa Bay) and Kihika (Nakuru) accuse their opponents of trying to bring them down so that they do not deliver on their election promises.
- The three are among seven women elected last year to head devolved units.
Some first-term female governors are already facing headwinds barely 140 days into office.
Ms Kawira Mwangaza (Meru), Ms Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) and Ms Susan Kihika (Nakuru) have accused their political opponents of trying to derail their development agenda.
The three are among seven women elected last year to head devolved units.
The others are Wavinya Ndeti (Machakos), Fatuma Achani (Kwale), Cecily Mbarire (Embu) and Kirinyaga’s Anne Waiguru, who is the only woman county boss serving her second term in office.
Ms Mwangaza survived impeachment a fortnight ago after the Senate Special Committee trashed 62 accusations that had been raised against her by members of the county assembly (MCAs). The MCAs had impeached her on December 14, less than 100 days after she took over.
Their accusations ranged from nepotism, illegal appointments, incitement, bullying of other leaders, to forcible entry to the assembly.
But the committee, led by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, said the MCAs failed to prove their allegations.
However, the bad blood between Ms Mwangaza and the ward representatives continued, attracting the attention of President William Ruto, who has tasked Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to broker a truce.
The DP has formed a 10-member committee to steer negotiations.
Shortly after she was impeached, Ms Mwangaza claimed her opponents paid the MCAs to get her out of office.
“They have used millions of money, sleepless nights, a lot of energy and sponsored headlines against me,” she posted in her Facebook account.
In Homa Bay, Ms Wanga is not only fighting a court petition seeking the nullification of her election but is also facing a wave of criticism from politicians, who are keen on wresting the seat from her.
Nominated MP John Mbadi, for instance, has said he is ready to take on Ms Wanga, accusing her administration of corruption.
“During the tenure of Governor Cyprian Awiti, Homa Bay County was bedevilled by corruption. Theft of public funds has started creeping back under Ms Wanga.
“We will not keep quiet while things are going wrong. I have already told her to prepare for my tongue-lashing when things go wrong,” said Mr Mbadi during a church service at Soko Catholic Church in Gwassi.
“I’m not worried that she will deny my area development projects because I don’t represent any constituency; thank God I am a nominated MP.”
The ODM chairman maintained that come 2027, he won’t heed his party leader Raila Odinga’s call to climb down for anyone as he did before the August 9 election when he shelved his gubernatorial ambition in favour of Ms Wanga.
“I have already told him (Raila) that such thoughts of asking me to shelve my dream of becoming a governor should not cross his mind again. I will disappoint him,” he reiterated.
But Ms Wanga has dismissed her detractors, maintaining that politics won’t stand in her way as she focuses on delivering on her election promises to residents.
“Politics is now over. It is time to work…I call upon Homa Bay people to shift their focus to development matters,” she says.
“I want to see a wealthy and educated society, where children have the opportunity to not only go to school, but also to complete the entire education circle.”
In Nakuru, Ms Kihika breathed a sigh of relief a few days to Christmas after her 10 County Executive Committee (CEC) members were sworn in after months of court battles and controversy over their nomination.
Ms Kihika, calling on the CECs to accelerate her development agenda, said the moment was a “relief on the burden I have been carrying for over three months”.
Her decision to return matatu operations to Nakuru’s city centre was also met with resistance after it was suspended by court in a case that also involved small-scale traders.
Hawkers, food vendors, porters and touts at the new termini at Kwa Jack, Ziwani, City stage and Railways claimed Ms Kihika’s decision to return matatus to the city centre had affected their livelihoods.
The case, however, was later withdrawn days after Mr Gachagua backed Ms Kihika’s move to return matatus to downtown Nakuru.
She has accused some politicians from the county of derailing her development agenda for political expediency.
Ms Kihika says some hidden forces were behind the frustration of her CEC and chief officer appointees.
“Someone was just relaxing when I was going round seeking votes from the people, and now [thinks] he will not let me deliver on my promises,” she says.