Dejected and seemingly withdrawn, Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana in 2015 chose to throw down the gauntlet rather than accede to demands by MCAs for more sitting and other allowances and dared them to impeach him.
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Prof Kibwana refused bend to the whims of MCAs who perhaps picking cue from other counties, wanted to benefit from the devolution windfall.
Because he stood his ground, the MCAs chose to impeach him. A court order saved him the sack.
Frustrated, voters collected over 3,000 signatures enough to warrant to formation of a Commission of Inquiry. President Uhuru Kenyatta then appointed renowned city lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga to chair the commission.
In the end, the Commission seemed to side with the MCAs and recommended for the dissolution of the county government. President Kenyatta thought otherwise and neutered the move.
In the August 2017 elections, all but one of the 12 MCAs suffered the wrath of a disaffected electorate. And for standing with them, Prof Kibwana was rewarded with a second term.
Now, Makueni is a case study of what leadership inspired by a grassroots approach can do. This week, governors from across the country are Prof Kibwana’s guests. They want to learn how public participation has delivered in Makueni.
Once seen as the emblem destitution, Makueni is now a symbol of hope. It is leading in dairy farming and milk processing; its fruit planting and processing initiative is emancipating many from the yoke of hunger and poverty. Quite notable is the campaign on the provision of universal healthcare.
There are concerns about its sustainability in post- Kibwana era, but in all fairness, trying out something is better than doing nothing or worst of all, stealing the funds.
For now, others could pick up and perfect the Makueni example.