Last year in November, more than 50,000 residents from Makueni county filed a petition to President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve the county government due to the persistent wrangles between Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Members of the County Assembly (MCAs).
The President, later appointed a six – member Commission of Inquiry led by Lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga to look into the allegations leveled against the county government by the petitioners.
The commission that was sworn in February this year has already commenced its work of probing accusations that the county government has irretrievably broken down into two parallel governments and cannot fully discharge its mandate as outlined in the Constitution.
The public hearings being held at Wote town have seen witnesses mostly petitioners and those adversely mentioned in the inquiry take to the witness stand before the six -member probe team.
The hearings are set to reach climax this week in which the county Speaker Stephen Ngelu and the governor, both accused by a cross section of witnesses for being the architects of the wrangling, will be appearing before the commission to give their evidence.
The petition that was filed against a backdrop of incessant wrangles that almost took a violent turn after six people were shot and injured when the governor and his supporters stormed a leader’s meeting at the county assembly premises, which he had not been, invited to seemed laudable at the time it was filed.
A majority of residents, rallied behind the governor whom they believed was the target of the shoot out, for protecting the county resources from the seemingly greedy and inconsiderate MCAs.
At the time of the shoot which was the climax of the wrangling, the residents overwhelmingly supported dissolution saying that the two arms of the county government could not work together to deliver services to the people of Makueni.
However, since the commission started its hearings, residents seem to have changed their minds and now argue that there is no time for dissolution.
Makueni Chamber of Commerce Alfonse Mutinda says that the two warring parties should reconcile and work together to deliver on the promises that the county government pledged to the residents in the 2013 general elections. He was speaking during the Madaraka day celebrations held at the Unoa Grounds on Monday in Wote.
Mutinda’s sentiments have been echoed by the members of the clergy who believe that the electorate will stand to lose a lot if the county is dissolved. According to Makueni Parish Father- in -Charge Fr. Paul Munguti the executive and legislative arms of the government should call for a ceasefire for the sake of development.
Similarly, a poll conducted on a Facebook group called Makueni County Sharing Forum-Democratic showed that many residents on the social media platform were opposed to the suspension of the county and the subsequent fresh elections.
Out of the total 36 people who participated in the poll a majority voted no to the dissolution while only three voted contrary. Below is the post that prompted the poll and the subsequent voting.
Below is a cross section of the voting.
Those who support the move voted yes.
Although the poll may not be the true representation of the situation at the ground, it can also not be ignored. Perhaps it’s an indication that dissolution may not be the solution to the county wrangles.