How Ruto played key role in ending Kawira-MCAs fight

By - Jan 1st 1970

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza and Meru MCAs were not kind to each other in the run-up to her impeachment in the assembly last December.

The governor and all but one of 70 MCAs (Kiagu Ward’s Simon Ngaruni) wasted no chance to express their distaste for one another. Kawira had strongly dismissed the MCAs’ allegations against her but they went ahead to impeach her in December.

MCAs unanimously supported Abogeta West MCA Dennis Kiogora’s motion which cited the governor for various violations, including alleged nepotism and gross misconduct.

Kiogora had taken his colleagues through a long list of charges against Kawira, including hiring her husband Baichu Murega, irregular hiring and sackings and being disrespectful to them. They accused her of “storming” the assembly on October 19 when she made her way there to deliver her inaugural address, in an event that saw the reps walk out, leaving her in the chambers.

On November 30, Meru High Court Judge Thripsisa Cherere issued a conservatory order stopping MCAs from debating the motion. Subsequently, the assembly started a fresh process, including another round of public participation culminating in Kiogora tabling a new notice of motion.

He had vowed the reps would not be discouraged in their bid to impeach Kawira, no matter the delay. Even as MCAs voted to sack Kawira, she accused the assembly of disregarding the court’s order to stop the impeachment proceedings and argued they had flouted the law. Majority leader Evans Mawira said: “Our governor has flouted so many laws”. 

He said the MCAs had the power delegated to them by people. At the height of the acrimony, Kawira said she had done nothing wrong and that the opposition against her was inspired by some political force who wanted her out of leadership. “There are intruders. There are people who have an eye on 2027 (the governor’s election). They are the ones fueling it. They are trying to sabotage me,” said the governor.

But the Senate dismissed the MCAs case against Kawira, saying there was no evidence she had done the wrongs she was accused of.

President William Ruto was instrumental in quelling the conflict between the governor and MCAs led by Assembly Speaker Ayub Bundi. He dispatched Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to mediate.

Reconciliation meetings

The contentious issues were settled after a series of reconciliation meetings to iron the issues.

The MCAs tabled the issues that had caused the rift before Gachagua while the governor also separately met Gachagua before they all congregated to iron out matters. Also meeting the DP were Meru Senator Kathuri Murungi and area MPs.

Majority Chief Whip Jim Muchui (Athwana) said the management of a ward equalisation fund and mutual respect were some of the issues MCAs presented.

During the impeachment motion sponsored by Abogeta West MCA Dennis Kiogora, MCAs had accused Kawira of vilifying and disrespecting them and other leaders.

Minority Leader Mwenda Ithili said they presented their grievances against the Governor. From there delegates from both sides sat with the DP and came up with a consensus on the working formula.

Ithili said one of the grievances was respect. He said they wanted the governor to be working with them.

“Because we understand the needs of the people. We want the governor to stop using our competitors,” Ithili said.

Governor Kawira was impeached on December 14 before it was overturned by the Senate. The ward fund, or the community development projects, the major source of the differences, featured prominently in the meeting with the DP who is also set to separately meet with the Governor.

Speaking at Kawira’s backyard of Buuri recently the president said he wanted to work with all elected leaders in Meru.

“I want to thank all leaders in Meru. When some disagreements arose after the elections I dispatched Gachagua to mediate unity of leaders. I thank all leaders for deciding to unite and put the interests of residents first,” Ruto said.

Kawira thanked the president for the intervention and said they were now united in working for the Meru people.

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