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Nyandarua County: Row between Governor and Speaker boils over

By Steve Mkawale and James Munyeki | Published Sat, September 15th 2018 at 00:00, Updated September 14th 2018 at 23:58 GMT +3
Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia.

In summary

  • County speaker says he’s determined to fight graft in the executive and will not be cowed 
  • Governor accuses Wahome of heading a rogue assembly that is hell-bent on derailing his development agenda

A row between Nyandarua County leaders took a turn for the worse last week when a faction allied to the governor threatened to collect signatures to impeach Speaker Ndegwa Wahome.

But Wahome accused Governor Francis Kimemia of wanting him out of the County Assembly because of his determination to fight corruption in the executive.

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“I will not be cowed or intimidated. The assembly will expose graft in the executive when playing its rightful role of oversight,” he said as 22 out of the 39 MCAs collected signatures to impeach him.

“We have a role given by Wanjiku, which is to oversight the executive. We cannot sit and watch as public money is wasted by a few individuals.”

Wahome, who also served in the first assembly, was confident that the disgruntled MCAs will not impeach him, saying he has served diligently.

Rogue assembly

Kimemia, a career civil servant who plunged into politics in the last General Election, accuses Wahome of heading a rogue assembly that is hell-bent on derailing his development agenda through allegations of corruption.

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“I have held senior positions in the national government, including being a Permanent Secretary in charge of national security. I know these games but I’m not interested in politics but development,” he told the Saturday Standardwhen asked about the raging animosity between the executive and the assembly.

For the past two weeks, the assembly has been left sharply divided after an attempt to impeach two members of Kimemia’s administration failed.

The two – Finance executive Mary Mugwanja and her Industrialisation counterpart Ruth Wamuiya – survived the impeachment motion after a group of MCAs allied to the governor marshalled numbers to defeat a report of a special committee set up to investigate alleged loss of Sh13 million. The money was allegedly paid out to six fictitious companies to organise an investment conference that never took place. Although the two are back in office, Wahome feels government investigative agencies like the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) must dig deeper into the findings of the committee, with a view to establishing whether there were acts of commission or omission on the part of the executive.

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“We want the issues raised in the special committee report investigated by the EACC and those behind plunder of public funds brought to book,” he says.

The speaker says county documents indicate that there was an investors conference and money sent to various suppliers’ bank accounts for their services. The services included water and beverages for delegates, comprehensive media coverage, state-of-the-art public address system, tents and red carpets, among others.

The special committee that was chaired by Gatimu MCA Kieru Wambui found Mugwanja and Wamuiya to have violated Article 227(1) of the Constitution and sections 54(1) and (2) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act.

Governor Kimemia has steered clear of the matter and instead released a statement on fresh corruption allegations brought forward by Wahome.

The Speaker claims to have unearthed a racket where over Sh49 million was paid to the National Housing Corporation with the approval of the county assembly.

The money was allegedly paid out to a project that was never done, according to Wahome.

However, Kimemia, through his director of communications Jesee Masai, denied the claims, saying the money had been paid for the building of a laundry and kitchen rooms at Engineer Hospital, which he admitted have not been completed.

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