The Governor of Taita Taveta is working round the clock to gather the right number of signatures to petition the President to dissolve his County Government. The Governor has insisted he decided to petition the president to dissolve the County Government over what he termed as harassment by the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs). The MCAs and the Executive have disagreed over Kshs. 5.6 billion budget for the Financial Year 2019/2020 as the Governor rejected to sign the budget estimates.
“I have today decided, in accordance with the constitution, to call all county residents to petition President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve the county of Taita Taveta to give us a fresh start,” said Samboja during a media briefing at his Wundanyi office. The Governor has accused the MCAs of slashing development budget and allocating themselves a whooping Kshs. 830 million for ward development fund, with each MCA getting 41.5 million. Samboja has termed the decision by the MCAs as uncalled and a deliberate plan to cripple the County.
Taita Taveta Senator and several MPs have supported the decision of the Governor to suspend the County Government, insisting the standoff between the two arms of government is enough justification to dissolve the County Government. The Constitution only allows for the suspension of a county government by the President in case of an emergency arising out of internal conflict or war; or in any other exceptional circumstances.
But a county government cannot be suspended unless an independent commission of inquiry has investigated allegations against the county government and the President is satisfied that the allegations are justified. The Senate has to authorize the suspension, which can only be for a period of 90 days. On the expiry of the 90 days, the law allows for an election to be held.
The Governor is looking to get 18,000 signatures out of the 180,000 registered voters to enable him to petition the President to suspend the County Government. The decision by the MCAs is contrary to the law and the Executive has been complaining about frustrations and intimidation from the Members of the County Assembly. In a recent report by the Controller of Budget Taita Taveta, County Assembly was ranked highest in terms of travel expenses in the last three months, the County Assembly spent Kshs. 130M.
The Governor is determined to get into another election campaign if that is what it takes to make sure there is no interference from the Members of the County Assembly. This is not the first time MCAs are frustrating the very few serious, hardworking and dedicated Governors who are determined to deliver on their mandate. Makueni Governor was frustrated in his first term in office and struggled with constant fights as MCAs demanded to get a big share of money from the County coffers. The MCAs wanted travel allowances outside the County, trips to foreign countries and other unjustifiable allowances to allow them to feed their greed. Governor Kivutha held on firmly and ensured he will not be intimidated and was true to his mission and once the 2017 elections came the residents made the decision of sending all the MCAs home and only one survived the Tsunami.
Makueni County Assembly appears to have learned a lesson and now works hard to ensure the Governor delivers on the promises he made to the residents. For Governor Kivutha it was all about staying patient and waiting for the elections, but Governor Samboja has chosen to go to the voters as early as right now if that is what will ensure his development agenda is not hijacked by greedy MCAs. County Assemblies have since the inception of devolution been working tirelessly to frustrate hardworking Governors, and most have neglected their oversight role as the first watchdog to man devolution from the preying executive. They are in the pockets of equally greedy Governors who treat the county coffers as their private milking machine.
Governor Samboja, should not relent in his quest for fresh election if that is what will take to silence these greedy and selfish goons. Let Taita Taveta be an example for all the other Counties and if the Governor will succeed then no other Governor should be scared and harassed by MCAs.