Meru County Assembly staged a fierce battle to substantiate seven charges laid against Governor Kawira Mwangaza on the second attempt to remove her from office within a span of one year.
In the opening statement made by the MCA’s lead legal counsel Muthomi Thiankolu, urged the Senators not to save the embattled governor from impeachment arguing it will allow impunity and recklessness on her conduct to the detriment of the county administration.
“Just like last time, chair we are telling you not to fall for the looks. If you see humble, meek, polite looking governor it’s because the occasion of the day requires that look meek, humble, vulnerable and what not,”
“If you make the mistake this time around, she will be like I don’t care and that’s what she will do,” said Thiankolu.
In rebuttal, Mwangaza’s counsel led by Elisha Ongoya argued Senators to weigh the evidence against her client arguing that the allegations are based on falsehoods.
“One of the hardest preparation for this case is how you prepare to answer to a lie. Apart from saying it’s a lie and isn’t true. The claims that Kathure Rukaria, James Karimi and Lydia Nkatha are relatives of the governor. Its a simply a lie,they are not her relatives,” stated Ongoya.
On the first charge of misappropriation and misuse of county resources, Mwangaza has been accused of violating the law by paying full salary and benefits for more than one year to four county officials while knowing those officers were not rendering services to the county.
In the case against her, Mwangaza is accused of illegally sacking heads of county autonomous bodies who include Dr Ntoiti (CEO of County Revenue Board), Paul Mwaki (CEO of Liqour Board), Kenneth Kimathi (CEO of Meru Microfinance) and Joseph Kithure Mberia (CEO, MEWASS) before the end of their contracts.
Despite a court order directing their reinstatement, the embattled Meru Governor decided to ignore the orders and instead choose not to return them back to office and choose to pay them for work not done.
“Speaker, we made numerous efforts to be allowed back to office and serve even through the courts. But we were not allowed,” said Mwaki, who appeared as the first witness.
What we did as a victims of this is we have sought legal redress from last year up to now seeking to get out to get back and work yet still we have not been terminated from work. It definitely leave without any reason. So we have been in court struggling to get out to work,” he added.
On the same charge, the mover of the impeachment motion Mawira Karia (Majority Leader) moved to substantiate the claims of the withdrawal of county funds under the guise of payment for various supplies by the Governor relatives.
“We have one Rose Guantai who appears 31 times in the payments, she had been paid KSh 3.1M. We have Edwin Murangiri the nephew to the Governor’s husband who has appeared 31 times having been paid KSh545,500…in total the Governor’s relatives have been paid a tune of KSh 6M,”Karia said.
On the nepotism charge, the governor is accused of fraudulently misrepresenting the Governor’s relatives as “technical team” for purposes of travel to China to inspect and certify cancer treatment equipment while knowing they are not medical professional.
The embattled governor is faulted for employing Edwin Mutuma Murangiri, alleged nephew to the first husband as the CEO of Meru Youth Service and Acting Chief Officer of the Department of Finance.
The alleged designation of Nephat Kinyua, who is the Governor’s brother in law as the Director of External linkages without transparent and competitive process was tabled among the charge substantiation.
Meru County Assembly also pushed for the removal of the governor on gross violation of the law by accounts of bullying, vilification and demeaning other leaders.
MCAs accused the Mwangaza of excluding the Deputy Governor Mutuma M’ethingia from county executive committee meetings, undermining and insulting coupled with condoning his insubordination.
The Meru Governor is also accused of contravening Meru Owners and Awards act 2018, by naming a public road after her husband without following the applicable statutory procedures.