How Kawira's impeachment has divided Kenya Kwanza

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The impeachment motion against the embattled Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza has divided the Kenya Kwanza government.

From the Meru elected leaders who feel the governor should be sent home to Public Service Performance and Delivery Management Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria who has dragged Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua into the Kawira woes.

Kuria who claimed that the Mt Kenya kingship politics has a hand in the accusations against Mwangaza said the move by Gachagua to give a blanket cheque to Meru leaders to do what they want with their governor gave a leeway to the impeachment.

“The move can be equated with King Herod’s decision to order the execution of John the Baptist so as to please his wife’s daughter. Mwangaza is being sacrificed so that certain political class may be appeased in exchange for the kingship politics,” he said.

The CS has continued to use his X account to defend Mwangaza against impeachment and named some senators who he claimed ‘are being misled to oust the governor without evidence.’

“I have studied carefully the issues presented against Governor Kawira. The most serious offence is that she does what Kikuyus call kuangalia watu manyiira (looking down upon the people). That offence can take you to hell but not to jail. Certainly not a ground for impeachment,” he posted on X.

He claimed that senators who pushing for the impeachment of the governor include Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot, Senators Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and Hillary Sigei (Bomet).

Others are Senators Alex Mundigi (Embu), Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Lenku Seki (Kajiado), Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Abdul Haji (Garissa), Kamau Murango (Kirinyaga), Wahome Wamatinga (Nyeri), Kathuri Murungi (Meru), Enoch Wambua (Kitui) and Moses Kajwang' (Homa Bay)

But Cherargei warned the CS against spoiling for a fight with parliamentarians, suggesting that he was walking on eggshells. "Are you really sure you want a fight with Parliament and parliamentarians right now?" Posed the senator.

The Senators could then discuss Kuria’s conduct on the floor of the House and propose his firing from Cabinet.

“On behalf of the Senate, I want to register my disappointment in the increasing conduct of Kuria, a man who's continually embarrassing the appointing authority,” Cheruiyot said.

Nyeri Senator Wamatinga urged President William Ruto to organize his Cabinet stating that Kuria is no special individual to not be shown the door.

"I do join hands with my colleagues to tell the president that he must put his house in order. Central region has no shortage of intelligent people who are capable of leading the docket that Kuria is handling," he said.

Political analysts have argued that the ouster of Mwangaza has divided the government because it is a political impeachment where young bulls within the government are angling to become kingpins.

According to Prof Peter Kagwanja, policy and governance analyst, given that Mwangaza was elected on an independent ticket, she has become the ‘young bulls’ punching bag’ as they wrestle her out for succession politics.

“The 2022 General Election and the exit of the former President from the political stage and his failure to mentor his successor is to blame for the division of Mwangaza’s impeachment. Since she is the easy way out, the young bulls are wrestling against themselves in the ouster motion,” Prof Kagwanja told The Standard on phone.

He said the elected leaders lack influence and will to galvanize the region as they are not able to transition to community leaders since they are products of the Yellow wave that was anti-Uhuru protest.

“The Meru case exposes the vacuum that was left as a result of lack of transition with Kuria, Gachagua, CSs Mithika Linturi and Prof Kindiki Kithure being at the middle of what is happening,” he said.

Prof Kagwanja also alluded to the dynamics of internal politics at play saying as UDA tried to wrestle former Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, Mwangaza, went against the grain to win the election and the two bigwigs (Kiraitu and Linturi) could be trying to fight the common enemy and then square it out in 2027.

Prof Gitile Naituli averred that the divisions are a result of ‘weak' accusations against Mwangaza prompting divisions within government.

“If the assembly had watertight evidence, we could be seeing some sense of non-involvement of the political class with the matter but because it is just a political war that is why there is noise,” he said.

However, UDA Secretary General Cleopas Malala, acknowledging the difference of opinions of the government leaders over the impeachment, said the ruling party believes in democracy.

“Kuria is right to pen down his opinion on the impeachment as long as he can justify while Cheruiyot is right to propose an impeachment motion against Kuria as long as the former will be given a chance to defend himself, we are a party that believes in democracy and the leaders are enjoying it,” he told The Standard on phone.