Leaders divided as Mwangaza survives ouster again

Former Central Imenti MP Gitobu Imanyara. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Mixed reactions greeted the acquittal of Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza by the Senate on Wednesday night.

Former Central Imenti MP Gitobu Imanyara said senators made the right decision but Meru county ought to be put on the right track.

“Mwangaza was rightfully acquitted by the Senate but that will not put Meru on the right track. The relationship between the governor and county assembly is irretrievably broken. The President should invoke his powers under Article 192 of the Constitution and suspend the county government to pave the way for fresh elections,” said Imanyara.

“What happened in the Senate was a national embarrassment for the Meru community wherever we are. We need to re-examine the purpose of an independent candidate in a multiparty system of governance,” he added.

County Assembly Justice, Legal Affairs and Cohesion Chairperson Gacheri Muthuri insisted that MCAs will not give up.

“The fact that the Senate has overturned the impeachment motion does not mean that Governor Mwangaza has overnight become competent in governance. I heard a number of senators recommend the dissolution of Meru county, if this is what it takes, then let it be dissolved,” said Ms Muthuri.

But Mbeu Ward MCA John Muguna who opposed the impeachment said they have been vindicated. 

“A win for Governor Kawira is a win for the people and we want her given the space she needs to focus on development. There is no time to waste,” said Mr Muguna. 

Kibirichia MCA Jacob Mwirigi who supported impeachment said: “Despite the Senate ruling, life has to continue. In fact, politics is a game of unlimited dynamics, there will be a way forward in due course."

Abothoguchi Douglas Mutea MCA who supported impeachment hinted at the possibility of the MCAs reconciling with Mwangaza.

“We have to move on together for the sake of our beloved county,” he said. 

MCA Ruth Kananu who opposed the motion said the ward representatives had “issues” with Mwangaza even before the motion was mooted. 

Political analysts Prof Gitile Naituli and Oscar Mutugi viewed the acquittal from different angles, with the former foreseeing an unpredictable relationship between Mwangaza and other leaders, going forward. 

Mutugi said a third attempt to impeach the governor may be unlikely and untenable but could not be ruled out. 

“The MCAs must now weigh between retreating and trying to establish a working relationship with the Executive or remain defiant, a move that would be a recipe for fresh chaos,” he said. 

“Full credit to Mwangaza and her defense team, they identified the gender card and perfectly executed it. If she decides to go after the MCAs and MPs in a manner similar to what (former) Kibwana did in Makueni, there could be huge political carnage in 2027,” Mutugi said.

Prof Naituli said reconciliation should not be difficult. 

“The county assembly has the option to find the missing evidence with a view to attempting a third impeachment, go slow on legislation to frustrate the executive at risk of the governor writing to the President to suspend the county or pinch their noses against the perceived stench and work with Mwangaza for the sake of their constituents and careers post-2027,” he said.