Taita-Taveta leaders divided over Samboja call to dissolve the county

Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja and his CEC Finance Vincent Masawi when they appeared before the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee at Parliament on Tuesday on August 28, 2018 on audit queries. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Calls for dissolution of the Taita Taveta County government intensified at the weekend as local leaders continued to pull in different directions.

Senator Johnes Mwaruma and Wundanyi MP Danson Nwashoko hit out at MCAs, accusing them of interfering with the Executive for selfish gain.

However, Woman Rep Lydia Haika called for dialogue to end the impasse over budget.

“The Executive and the assembly must talk and iron out the contentious issues. This has always been my position and it will continue to be,” said Ms Haika, a Jubilee legislator.

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Mr Mwaruma and Mr Mwashako said MCAs had forgotten their jobs and were instead busy fighting the Executive.

“It has become very difficult for Governor Granton Samboja to continue working with the current MCAs. They must all go home to give residents a new opportunity to elect progressive leaders to steer the county ahead,” Mwashako said. 

The Wiper Party MP told a meeting in Mwatate Town yesterday that those supporting the county’s dissolution would soon meet President Uhuru Kenyatta to prevail upon him to dissolve the devolved unit.

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“If the President suspends the county, we will campaign against the MCAs who have been causing problems,” said Mwashako.

Mwaruma said he was behind the governor’s drive to collect signatures that would lead to dissolution of the county assembly.

SEE ALSO :Leaders call for end to row on Taita Taveta budget

He claimed MCAs amended the budget without involving the local community through public participation, as provided for in the law.

“What the MCAs did is against the law. I will stand with the governor and the people of Taita-Taveta on this issue,” said the senator.

Samboja has since ruled out dialogue with MCAs over the 2019/20 budget, which he declined to assent to.

The MCAs rejected a memorandum the governor had sent to the house for consideration.

At the centre of the dispute is Sh833 million MCAs slashed from the Executive’s budget and allocated to the Ward Development Fund.

SEE ALSO :County won’t be dissolved, Ruto tells Samboja

The Anglican Church of Kenya has offered to mediate in the dispute. Bishop Liverson Mng’onda of the local diocese met MCAs and deputy governor Majala Mlagui separately to find truce.

Another mediation team, led by Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, also met the two sides in Nairobi last week.

Samboja has also met ODM leader Raila Odinga and Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka over the matter.

Samboja accuses the MCAs of frustrating his executive and says the standoff will only be resolved through the ballot.

“Whether I will be reelected or not does not worry me. Residents deserve a chance to elect visionary leaders, leaders with their best interest at heart,” said the governor.

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Some MCAs have accused Samboja of frustrating mediation efforts.

Majority Leader Jason Tuja blamed some local MPs of escalating the problem by taking sides.

“Some are helping the governor to collect signatures to dissolve the county because they are interested in his seat. They are selfish,” said the Werugha MCA.

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Taita Taveta CountyDanson NwashokoMCAs