The Commission of Inquiry on the possible dissolution of Makueni county started its public hearings on Thursday 23, 2015 with one of the lead petitioners Francis Mailu outlining why president Uhuru Kenyatta should grant the petition filed by more than 50,000 residents.
Mailu who is also the County Wiper Party Chairperson, said the constant wrangling between the Governor Kivutha Kibwana and the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) led by Speaker Stephen Ngelu could not be resolved amicably and that disbandment of the county government was the only solution to end the stalemate.
Mailu told the Mohammed Nyoga -led commission that the disagreements between the governor and the MCAs over budgetary allocations for the last two financial years in row had impacted negatively on operations of the county making it lag behind in terms of development.
“We have sat and watched painfully as other counties reap the benefits of devolution by launching several development projects while the residents of Makueni continue to suffer due to lack of basic facilities like access to health care,” said the petitioner.
Mailu said efforts by the clergy and other leaders to have the two warring factions iron out their differences had failed with the wrangling taking a violent turn after six people were shot and seriously injured at the county assembly chambers when the governor stormed a leaders’ meeting, which he had not been invited, apparently convened to discuss the infighting.
The petitioner sensationally claimed the shooting was a well-orchestrated plan by the MCAs to eliminate the governor, a clear indication that the two arms of government could not work together.
“When the Majority leader Francis Munyao saw the governor he said “kala kamundu ni kaa, minai”(sic) to mean the man (Kibwana) who has been troubling us has come, finish him,” he said.
Witchcraft also featured in the petitioners statement saying that the members of the county executive had claimed that the county assembly had cast spells on them.
“A witch doctor by the name ‘Mulika’ was sought to cleanse the county chambers forcing the MCAs to relocate their sittings to Malili for fear of the ramifications but the place was later cleansed by the members of the clergy,” he added.
Mailu further castigated the MCAs for failing to pass key legislations among them the Sand Harvesting and Alcoholic Drinks Control bill.
“Illegal sand harvesting is very rampant in the county with many rivers drying up due to the activity. We needed laws to regulate the activity but the assembly has delayed while several people died after consuming a toxic brew due to lack of the Alcoholic drinks law,” he said.
The petitioner noted that “It for these reasons among others that the residents files a petition to have the president suspend the county government.”
The inquiry chair Nyaoga said that the commission will expedite its works and deliver its findings in the shortest time possible. The commission has six months to execute its mandate and forward its report to the president.
The inquiry kicked off despite Mbooni MP Kisoi Munyao filing a case in the High Court to have the public hearings of the inquiry stopped arguing that many residents did not understand the petition.
Thorough his lawyer Tom Ojienda, Kisoi had argued that the reasons for the petition had never been made public and many residents were not in a position to surrender statements of a petition whose contents they are not aware of.
“The commission has never published the contents of the petition nor did the county government conduct civic education to enlighten the residents of the petition,” argued the MP before Justice Mumbi Ngugi .
Justice Mumbi however rejected the MP’s plea saying that suspending the sittings would be an injustice to the people of Makueni.
The commission has adjourned its sittings in Nairobi and will convene a public hearing in Makueni on May 5.