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Leaders still appear divided despite Uhuru's call for unity among them

By Job Weru and Boniface Gikandi | March 21st 2016
Senate Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura addresses the Press. He said the report by EACC would be interrogated to establish individuals perpetrating corruption. [Photo: Boniface Gikandi/standard]

Doubts have emerged on whether a truce brokered by President Uhuru Kenyatta between warring Murang’a county leaders will hold.

Although the leaders were supposed to speak in one voice as they prepare to meet the President again, the politicians are still suspicious of each other going by their public pronouncements.

It was expected that there would be a time-out following Uhuru’s intervention, but the weekend was full of statements to indicate that reconciliation was yet to take root.

Deputy Governor Gakure Monyo and Senator Kembi Gitura, who have not been in good terms with Governor Mwangi wa Iria, raised concern over recent listing of the county as among the most corrupt.

Dr Gitura, who had just returned from a trip abroad, said he would continue pushing for transparency in the running of the county affairs.

“I don’t know how I am going to face my colleagues in the Senate on Tuesday with reports indicating my home county is among the most corrupt,” said Gitura at Kiriaini Catholic Church.

He added: “I want Murang’a people to be told what Sh15 billion from the national government, and millions of shillings collected as local revenue have done and the impact the money has created in the county.”

Mr Monyo too doubted whether the pact will hold, saying the leaders should first trace the origin of their problems before attempting to solve them.

“Until we trace the root cause of this disunity, little will be achieved,” Monyo said.

Addressing the same church function, Monyo called on the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to analyse the report on Murang’a County, identify the corrupt individuals and take action against them.

“The public should not shy away from demanding information on projects implemented by the county government,” he said.

Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau said he was in agreement with the President that the leaders should work together for the sake of development.

“There is need for a common approach to help resolve the problems facing our people. I have no personal differences with the governor. All of us are working for the people who elected us,” Mr Kamau told The Standard.

Kamau, however, insisted that every leader should carry his own cross if found on the wrong side of the law.

But Maragwa MP Kamande Mwangi insisted on heeding the President’s clarion call of unity.

“On my part, I am ready to work with other leaders. Even before the President told us to work together, I was planning a forum to bring together all the leaders. But let us wait and see what my colleagues think,” said Mr Mwangi.

Although his Kiharu counterpart, Irungu Kang’ata, said he was ready to embrace unity of purpose among Murang’a leaders, he doubted whether the unity would hold for long.

Unity doubtful

“The call by the President is good and welcome, but I doubt if unity will hold ,” Mr Kang’ata said.

Mr Iria was not immediately available for comment as calls to his cellphone went unanswered. He also did not respond to our text message.

The President is set to meet the warring leaders again to discuss the development projects in the county.

In a follow-up to a meeting that was held in Gatanga last Tuesday, the President is expected to converse with the leaders on how to solve their differences, a source close to the presidency intimated.

The leaders, sources disclosed, are expected to give their development plans and the help they need to carry out projects.

To lower political temperatures, the President has requested the leaders to first agree on their priority projects before the meeting.

The scheduled meeting comes against the backdrop of frequent arrests of the governor by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

Governor Iria, who has been at loggerheads with Gitura and Kamau, has managed to obtain a court order stopping his prosecution.

Last week, Uhuru managed to bring the leaders to the negotiating table where they all agreed to work together and present him with a progress report.

Save for Gitura who was said to be outside the country, the President held a meeting with Iria, Kamau and the other county MPs.

The President regretted the differences and said they were a disservice to the residents and that they had dragged development in the county.

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