Kitui MCAs have warned that the county government could be headed for a political tempest unless a middle ground is reached between the Executive and the County Assembly.
The MCAs said the political temperatures intensified when the Executive cancelled last week’s bonding trip to Mombasa, which intended to cement their relationship with Governor Charity Ngilu.
Speaker George Ndotto, Minority Leader Peter Kilonzo and a number of Wiper MCAs put Ngilu on notice, asking her to explain why the meeting was cancelled.
Speaking in Malindi while attending the arid and semi-arid lands conference, Mr Ndotto said the MCAs felt cheated after the meeting was cancelled when they had already travelled to the Coast.
“The governor should find time and opportunity to explain to the MCAs the circumstances that led to the last-minute cancellation of the consultative forum. The MCAs did not travel to Mombasa by coincidence but they were formally invited to the meeting,” the speaker said.
Mr Kilonzo, the Athi Ward representative, said they were initially issued with letters inviting them to the Mombasa meeting. The letters were signed by acting County Secretary Alex Kimanzi.
“The meeting was to run from September 4 to September 8. Consequently, the assembly adjourned its business to give room for the forum,” he said.
The majority leader said they were shocked to learn that the venue of the meeting had been changed to Mwingi town.
His Migwani counterpart Philip Nguli said the cancellation of the meeting was done in bad faith.
Mr Nguli, alias Kalumaita, said the trip was called, planned and funded by the Executive.
“They wrote an invitation letter to the Speaker and the same was communicated to the MCAs, and as a House of rules and procedures, sittings were adjourned through a Motion to allow consultations between the two arms of the government,” he said.
“How and when the cancellation was done remains a mystery, and we think it was an afterthought by the Executive,” said Nguli.
Although The Standard was unable to reach Mrs Ngilu, her confidants viewed the MCAs’ complaints as illegitimate and misplaced.
Communication consultant Martin Masai admitted that the push and pull between Ngilu and the MCAs over the Mombasa trip was occasioned by a slight communications breakdown.
Another source that did not want to be named said the MCAs were aware that from the onset Ngilu was opposed to the meeting being held outside Kitui County in line with her 'Buy Kitui, Build Kitui’ initiative.
“Our governor wants to curb this wanton waste of public resources in the name of benchmarking and bonding forums outside the county. If such meetings must be done, she argues that they be done within,” the source said.
This is the second bonding meeting between Ngilu and the MCAs to abort since the governor took office last year.
In August, a similar meeting failed to take place in Mombasa after misunderstanding arose between the legislature and the Executive.
Ngilu and Wiper MCAs were first supposed to travel to Mombasa on August 12 for a five-day retreat in a bid to end a supremacy battle threatening to derail county business.
The battle springs from mistrust and differences over resource allocation and general management of public affairs in the county, pitting Ngilu against the majority Wiper Party and allied MCAs.
Ngilu’s minority Narc MCAs and the Wiper brigade have in the past traded accusations and fought at the assembly, with each camp unleashing a smear campaign against the other.
The governor has accused politicians allied to Wiper Party of trying to frustrate her in a bid to derail development at the grassroots.
She has in the past invited ward representatives, majority from Kalonzo Musyoka-led Wiper Party, to cultivate a good working relationship between her government and the assembly.