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Kalonzo-Ngilu unity causes jitters in county

By Paul Mutua | August 5th 2015 at 15:18:34 GMT +0300

Political operatives in Kitui have been thrown off balance by the rare show of unity between Wiper leader and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and suspended Cabinet Secretary and Narc Party leader Charity Ngilu.

Radical changes are now expected in the Ukambani political equation, with local leaders predicting that this may herald the long-awaited unity of the Ukambani leadership.

The leaders also see the friendship as an indicator that the Lower Eastern region could finally be voting as one bloc in the 2017 General Election, without the intrigues of rivalry among top politicians.

But Kitui Governor Julius Malombe's allies say he will not cede ground to leaders, including MPs and Wiper officials from the county allegedly out to frustrate his development agenda and deny him a second term in office come 2017.

Dr Malombe has vowed to "tear apart his saboteurs", in what his allies say is the beginning of the governor's bid to stamp his authority and face his critics head-on ahead of the next polls.

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Over the weekend, the governor dismissed a political analysis in a local daily that he is doing insignificant development projects in the county. He termed it "misleading and off-the mark".

Malombe questioned dismissed speculation that Wiper will appoint Ms Ngilu as the party's flag bearer for the gubernatorial seat in 2017.

He said it was not only unfair for leaders to harbour ill thoughts against him, but also disrespectful and belittling to his character.

In the last two weeks, the governor has differed separately with Kitui West MP and Minority Leader in Parliament Francis Nyenze and Mwingi Central MP Joe Mutambu, with the clashes almost turning ugly.

Malombe and Nyenze clashed over claims that the county boss is side-lining other leaders and leading a government riddled with corruption.

The governor said it was unfair for Nyenze to depict him as a lone ranger.

Speaking in Nyenze's constituency, Malombe said the role of MPs is clearly defined and that it was strange for the MP to usurp responsibilities that were not his.

Trouble began when Nyenze asked the governor to deal with corruption among his top officials and ensure quality workmanship in development projects funded by the county government.

The MP told the governor the impact of his development projects was not being felt owing to corruption and shoddy works and that the public was not fully consulted in project identification.

A few days later, the governor clashed with Mr Mutambu, whom he said had no academic qualifications to contemplate running against him.

But what has triggered high-voltage county politics are utterances by Nyenze that Wiper has been holding secret meetings with Ngilu with a view to giving the Narc leader automatic nomination to run for the governor's seat.

He said the people of Kitui want Ngilu to take over from Malombe.

Five Kitui MCAs have asked Kalonzo, Wiper Chairman David Musila and Secretary General Hassan Omar to publicly declare whether Nyenze's remarks were Wiper's official position.

The MCAs wondered why Kalonzo, Musila and Omar were silent on "such a divisive and injurious" statement from the National Assembly minority leader.

In a statement read by Athi Ward Rep Peter Kilonzo in the assembly, they asked the party's top officials to come clean on whether they had sanctioned the secret meetings Nyenze talked about.

The MCAs stressed that Nyenze has no moral authority to appraise the county government.

They said Nyenze was not the Wiper spokesman and his utterances were "hot air".

Kitui Kalonzo Musyoka Charity Ngilu Eastern region 2017 General Election
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