The political standoff between Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and the county assembly escalated after MCAs vowed to impeach her Finance minister Mary Nguli.
A motion seeking to oust Ms Nguli which was signed by 37 MCAs— majority of them drawn from the Wiper Party was approved by Speaker George Ndotto — setting stage for another round of confrontation between the county administration and the assembly.
The motion to sack one of Ms Ngilu’s best-performing ministers comes only three days after the they rejected a supplementary budget, in a day of drama where youths were arrested protesting outside the assembly gates.
Previously, Ms Nguli who was seconded from National Treasury where she worked as senior economist, served as Finance minister for five years in Kiambu County under former Governor William Kabogo.
She was credited with establishing a revolving fund in Kiambu that helped more than 3,000 start-ups with 95 per cent repayment rate and established sound financial systems that saw the county ranked top by World Bank on fiscal responsibility.
In Kitui, the Ms Nguli laid foundation that has seen Kitui make great strides in revenue collections, improved fiscal responsibility and attracting donor support for county programs.
However, MCAs accuse Ms Nguli of several things, among them allegedly failing to implement assembly resolutions, failure to pay pending bills in time and violating procurement procedures.
Governor Ngilu defended her Finance minister, saying she is an outstanding pick who is being victimised for political expediency by Wiper Party leaders out to derail her development agenda.
In an interview with the Nation, Mrs Ngilu said she will not succumb to intimidation and that she was ready to take the political fight to their respective electoral wards and explain to residents what she has been enduring.
She said the people of Kitui voted for her knowing that she did not belong to the Wiper Party and that the political squabbles were only frustrating service delivery to the same residents and slowing down implementation of projects.
“If the MCAs think that they have punished me by shooting down the budget, they are wrong because that will only hurt the same people who elected all of us,” Ms Ngilu said.
The governor cited a similar standoff that occurred in Makueni County in 2014, saying all the MCAs who refused to pass Governor Kivutha Kibwana’s budget proposals were punished in the 2017 poll where only one ward represents was re-elected.
Mwingi west MP Charles Nguna said the standoff between the MCAs and the county administration was hurting the local economy and urged both sides to embrace dialogue in resolving their political differences.
The MP said differences between Governor Ngilu and the county assembly should not be allowed to affect service delivery.
Two weeks ago, Ms Ngilu hosted her colleagues Prof Kibwana (Makueni) and Dr Alfred Mutua (Machakos) to discuss the region’s development through the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB).
The meeting of the trio, coming hot on the heels of disagreement between Mr Musyoka and Mr Kibwana left people guessing whether the leaders discussed a possible political alliance to redefine the region’s politics by upstaging the Wiper leader.