What you need to know:
- The Deputy President reached President William Ruto who sent his deputy to salvage the situation with strict conditions that Governor Wamatangi must meet the demands of the ward representatives.
- County leaders accuse the Kiambu governor of high-handedness, slow service delivery, as well as skewed allocation of grants and failure to involve ward representatives.
For the second time in less than eight months, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has convened a meeting with Kiambu's elected leaders to avert the imminent impeachment of Governor Kimani Wamatangi, who has openly fallen out with the majority of ward representatives, the county senator and local MPs.
Daily Nation understands that Mr Wamatangi personally approached Mr Gachagua after it emerged that the idea of tabling an impeachment motion in the county assembly was in the offing and gaining momentum following the entry of outspoken National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wah, who is also the Kikuyu MP and a close ally of President William Ruto.
The Deputy President, aware of the impeachment plans after a briefing from Wamatangi, reached President William Ruto who sent his deputy to salvage the situation with strict conditions that Governor Wamatangi must meet the demands of the ward representatives.
The county leaders accuse Mr Wamatangi of high-handedness and slow service delivery, especially in health and roads, as well as skewed allocation of grants and failure to involve ward representatives even in projects that fall under their jurisdiction.
Another bone of contention is the controversial Sh319 million health insurance policy that the county assembly members claim was purchased from a Mauritian insurance company, MUA Insurance Limited.
Governor Wamatangi has consistently denied this, claiming that it was an open tender advertised in the local mainstream media.
Monday's meeting at the Deputy President's official residence in Karen, which was attended by all Kiambu elected leaders, exposed the friction between Wamatangi and the majority of Kiambu ward representatives where Governor Wamatangi, in the presence of DP Gachagua, pledged to set up a Sh600 million ward development fund.
The meeting, insiders in the office of the deputy president told the Nation on Wednesday, lasted for eight hours.
"The deputy president listened to the 86 MCAs, the members of the National Assembly drawn from the county, the senator and the governor separately before convening a joint meeting in which the outcomes were announced," reads a statement from the deputy president's office seen by the Nation.
“I have no problem in establishing the County Ward Development Fund in Kiambu County. We shall enact it immediately, with the House (County Assembly). We will give the MCAs the latitude to select priority projects.
This will be Sh10 million per ward, totalling to Sh600 million out of the Sh2.8 billion development budget,” Mr Wamatangi is quoted as saying in the meeting as captured in the post-meeting statement.
Bowing to pressure, Mr Wamatangi also agreed to allow the MCAs to select priority projects within their wards.
Mr Gachagua told the Kiambu leaders that he had been sent by President William Ruto to find a truce in the ongoing disputes to avoid disrupting the development agenda in the county.
"We are committed to the development of Kiambu County," said the Deputy President in a press statement released by DP’s communication team.
"It does not look good for our backyard when leaders are fighting and we are saying that we are uniting the country. It does not look good when we are asking those who did not vote for us to join us and we are fighting.
We campaigned together as one cohesive team. I don't know what has happened in one year that there are squabbles and exchange of words between leaders.
We are together by the desire to work for the people. The people who voted for you are the same ones that voted for us," he added.
Under the new ceasefire agreement, the MCAs will now have a say in the beneficiaries.
“Our bursaries will be disseminated at the ward level. The MCAs will identify the beneficiaries and allocation will be done by the MCAs and the bursary committees.
The MCAs will agree on the date of issuance and invite the governor,” Mr Wamatangi committed.
It was decided that a three-day meeting between the MCAs and the governor will be held from November 23, 2023, to resolve these outstanding issues. A report will be submitted to the Deputy President after the meeting.
On May 31 this year, DP Gachagua convened a meeting at his Nairobi office that brought together elected leaders in Kiambu County after they threatened to impeach Mr Wamatangi.
The truce comes less than a month after Governor Wamatangi was embroiled in another row with Ichung'wah and Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Public Works and Housing Charles Hinga over his failure to appoint municipal board members and managers, with the government complaining that it's on the verge of losing Sh1.6 billion road infrastructure grant from the World Bank.
"I make reference to the letter from the State Department for Housing and Urban Development Refno.MLPWHUD/HUD/UD/5/14/16 (13) dated 3rd October 2023, details of which are well known to you. It is a matter of great concern that we are bound to lose close to Sh1.6 billion on account of your inaction/indecisiveness in making substantive appointments for officers to serve in public offices," Ichung'wah said in a letter directed to Mr Wamatangi dated October 11 and stamped as received by the county on November 13.
"I am particularly perturbed by the disclosure in the letter that an amount of Sh326 million earmarked for Kikuyu constituency is bound to be lost and as you may be aware, this amount was to go towards the upgrade to bitumen standard…amongst other projects."
Mr Hinga had written to Mr Wamatangi expressing disappointment with Kiambu County for failing to appoint municipal managers, which he said was affecting funding for the Kenya Urban Support Programme.
"Reference is made to our letter Ref. No. Mlpwhud/HUD/UD/14/1/Vol.VI/140 dated 18th May, 2023 outlining the Minimum Conditions (Mcs) for compliance prior to qualifying for Kenya Urban Support Programme Phase Two Funding.
Further, kindly note that the Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011 amended in 2019, under Section 28, requires that a municipal manager be appointed for every municipality to implement the decisions and functions of the board," Mr Hinga said in a letter to Wamatangi dated October 3, 2023.