Mwangaza 'baptism by fire' in first year in office

Meru County Governor Kawira Mwangaza. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza’s victory in the August 2022 elections was epic because she competed against titans and emerged victorious.

Her win against former Governor Kiraitu Murungi and former Senator Mithika Linturi was even more scintillating due to gender dynamics in patriarchal society.

Mwangaza, the bishop of Baite Family Fellowship (BFF), signalled a new dawn and introduced a fresh brand of politics to the Meru political scene, traditionally dominated by men, especially Kiraitu, and later, Linturi, who currently serves as the Agriculture CS.

During her inaugural address at the historic Kinoru Stadium, she exuded optimism, promising a wide range of possibilities for the empowerment of farmers, youth, and women.

“I fully understand the gravity and responsibility that you have placed on my shoulders. I do not take it lightly, but I am ready for the task. I will get it done,” she said.

After taking her oath of office at the stadium, where she was accompanied by almost all elected leaders, Mwangaza hit the ground running.


However, Mwangaza would soon face a baptism by fire during her first year in office. The honeymoon was short-lived, as Mwangaza ran into headwinds when MCAs impeached her on December 13, 2022, a mere 122 days into her term.

Except for Kiagu MCA Simon Ngaruni, the ward representatives unanimously supported the impeachment motion by Abogeta West MCA Dennis Kiogora.

The motion cited the governor for various violations, including alleged nepotism and gross misconduct.

Kiogora specifically accused Mwangaza of hiring her husband, Murega Baichu, as the Meru Youth Service Patron and as the ‘Hustlers Ambassador.’

At the heart of the disagreement was the allocation of ward development funds, with MCAs protesting that they had been denied any role in development projects.

Speaker Ayub Bundi led the MCAs in demanding that the governor set up an equitable fund that would ensure each of the 45 wards receives a specific allocation.

“Without an equalisation fund, if the governor is unhappy with an area’s MCA or feels that this area did not vote for her, she may decide to concentrate all her development project activities in a given area,” said Bundi.

Mwangaza urged the MCAs to participate in public consultations, a stance they did not take lightly, and weeks later, they impeached her.

The county chief said her impeachment motion was sponsored by political opponents eyeing the seat in the 2027 election.

However, the Senate overturned it, and Mwangaza resumed her position amid efforts by leaders to reconcile the Executive and Assembly.

President William Ruto delegated the reconciliation efforts to his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua, who hosted all the parties, including MPs.

For months, the relationship seemed to be on the mend until differences re-emerged again.

At least 10 local MPs joined the fray, accusing Mwangaza of a plethora of misdeeds, including nepotism, disrespect, and vilification of other leaders.

These concerns were highlighted in the second impeachment motion, brought to the assembly by majority leader Evans Mawira.

Mwangaza questioned why MCAs wanted to impeach her for a second time yet she had not done any wrong and was delivering on her election pledges within the law. 

She was accused of bullying, vilification, and demeaning other leaders, including her deputy Mutuma M’Ethingia. MCAs said the governor was not representing the office in the manner expected of a state officer.

But Mwangaza once again emerged unscathed.

The county chief said she was ready to forgive her ‘tormentors’ while, at the same time, asking those she might have wronged to forgive her.

“I forgive all those who have wronged me, and I pray for forgiveness from anyone I might have wronged,” Mwangaza said.

The governor said she would not be deterred by her detractors because she had a duty to serve.