Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya has claimed he was shortchanged during the Council of Governors (CoG) elections that were held on Monday.
Mr Mvurya yesterday alleged that the elections, which saw Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya elected CoG chairman, lacked integrity.
The county boss stated that his fellow governors had agreed during a conference in Kwale in December 2017 that he would take over from the then chairman, Josphat Nanok, after six months.
The plan, according to Mvurya, was for Mr Nanok to step down and hand over the leadership mantle to him, but the other governors had a change of heart and instead called for a fresh election.
“I was not involved in the election because the position we had taken earlier had shifted. I question the integrity of the election,” said Mvurya.
There have been allegations that the Kwale boss might have been the victim of a new political deal, which has been motivated by the March 9, 2018, handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chief Raila Odinga.
Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja defended Mr Oparanya, describing him as a capable leader who was suitable to replace Nanok.
Hassan Mwakimako, a political analyst, said Mvurya had only himself to blame for believing that the CoG chairmanship would be handed to him on the strength of a gentleman's agreement.
Mvurya has in recent months been missing from major functions of the Coast economic bloc - Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani - or functions by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Sources claimed that the Kwale County chief had fallen out with fellow governors when the CoG plan failed.
Yesterday, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said it did matter who chaired the CoG "because what matters is for governors to deliver in their own counties".
Mr Joho, like Mvurya, did not attend the Monday elections, but Mr Samboja attended and voted.
During the 2017 governors' conference, which was held at Diani Reef Resort in Kwale, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru was elected Mvurya’s deputy and took office immediately, while he was expected to come on board later.
The conference, which Mvurya hosted, was convened soon after President Kenyatta expressed support for him to head the powerful body amid tension between the NASA and Jubilee sides in the wake of the disputed presidential election a few months earlier.
During Monday's election, Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria replace Ms Waiguru as the deputy chairperson while Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi was elected as chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee.
Samboja said Oparanya was elected to serve county governments, therefore focus and support should be directed at enabling him to deliver on his mandate.
He dismissed claims that the Coast region had been given a raw deal, saying the CoG boss was supposed to serve all counties equally.
“Just like Governor Mvurya, Governor Oparanya has the capacity to deliver on the mandate of the Council of Governors,” he said.
Prof Mwakimako said it was unfortunate that Mvurya had accepted a deal and stopped lobbying his colleague in the expectation that the competitive position would be handed to him.
“His fault was that he accepted a gentleman’s agreement and remained inept as a politician. He thought things would be laid down for him. The governor should have spoken to his colleagues and convinced them that he was ready for the elective position and to face any competitor in the race,” said Mwakimako.