Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr has warned Governor Kibwana not to effect a directive by the Chairman of Council of Governors Wickliffe Operanya to shut the County lest he gets impeached by Senate.
While contributing to a heated debate at the floor of the house on Wednesday the vocal legislator faulted the Chairman of Council of Governor and Finance Cabinet Secretary Ekuru Yatani for what he termed as incompetence and abuse of office. He accused the duo of conspicuously attempting to interfere with a legislative process over their input in the ongoing revenue allocation bill.
The Kakamega Governor had circulated to Counties sanctioning his fellow Governors to close business in counties on Thursday until Senate resolved the revenue allocation stalemate that has left them penniless.
Senator Mutula did not mince his words, he came out with guns blazing and ordered Makueni to remain operational as they solve the revenue stalemate at Senate.
He said that his County can’t be shut in his watch and dared Governor Kibwana to shut down any government operations and meet his wrath.”If Kibwana shuts down Makueni Level 4 hospital at Wote, Sultan Hamud hospital or Makindu level three hospital pursuant to a memo by Wycliffe Mbeta Oparanya, we will impeach you.
It is an impeachable offence for a Governor to receive a memo to close a hospital from another Governor ” said Mutua arguing that such uninformed moves jeopardizes the lives of Kenyans. He noted that Governors shall be personally held responsible if they down their tools and people die for lack of essential services like health which is a devolved function.
The vocal Senator warned Governors not to toy around with lives of Kenyans. “If a person Mama Mwikali or Mama Mutheu goes to Wote level four hospital to deliver their baby and find it shut and anything happens to that baby we shall hold Governor Kibwana responsible” he cautioned.
In a quick rejointer, Governor Kibwana blamed Senators for their hardline stance that has triggered the crisis that looms in Counties.”For three months Senate has denied Counties funds for development and salaries. Can Senator Mutula junior run a county as Governor without funds for three months” Kibwana questioned?
How can Senate miserably fail Kenyans and then blame the presidency and Kenya Governors ?” the professor of law reprimanded. He wondered if devolution was at stake because Senators continue to draw their salaries and sitting allowances while county employees go unpaid.
While defending himself at the National Assembly yesterday the Finance CS claimed that there was no legislation authorising him to appropriate funds to Counties as the bill that was passed by MPs seeking to fund Counties half of their previous years budget was stuck at the Senate.
The law requires that if a bill touching on Counties passed by the National Assembly, it must get a green light from Senate first before the President ascends it into law.
Though they remain friends in the public eye Mutula and Kibwana have been at loggerheads for a while but only those close to them are privy of their supremacy battles.
Kibwana who goes to history as the first Governor to be impeached by a County Assembly in Kenya and has blamed the Senator for his tribulations.”My 2014 impeachment by Mutula Junior and others is still in Senate” reminding the Senator how his bodyguard was accorded a life sentence for the gunshots that saw County staff injured in the gun drama.
The Governor who is currently serving his last term was reinstated by the High Court of Machakos after judge Chacha Mwita stopped the Senate from debating his impeached by the former Makueni County Assembly.
The impeachment motion which was sponsored by former Wote ward MCA Sammy Maseka revolved around incompetence and abuse of office. Senator Mutula is among the probable successors of Kibwana and is positioning himself for the gubernatorial race in 2022.
It took the efforts of Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka to requested the Senator to sacrifice his bid for Governor and rather defend his seat and let Kibwana a direct ticket. However, the incumbent is not comfortable with the Senator succeeding him and is preparing the way for his predecessor.
Kibwana administration is rumoured to be supporting KMTC Chairman Prof. Kaloki after Mutula fell out with him threatened to jail all corrupt county officials once he becomes governor in 2022.
Mutula and Kaloki are bitter rivals since 2013 when Jubilee government-sponsored Kaloki to compete him in a Senatorial by-election that saw his sister Kethi Kilonzo prosecuted and barred from succeeding his late father paving a way for Junior into politics.
Will Mutula succeed Kibwana? And if he does will he show him mercy for the wrongs of his regime? Only time will tell, Makueni has gotten it wrong in many audit reports and right once in the 2018-19 financial year.
By the time we were going on the press only four counties had heeded governor Oparanya’s call and Makueni was not one of them. Senators passed the revenue allocation formula bill on Thursday after the President gave a conditional grant of Sh.53 Billion to Counties.
Makueni which could have lost Sh.500 Million will now get Sh.700 Million in the new allocation bill. According to the deal brokered at Statehouse, no county will ever lose what they had been appropriated this year or get lesser than what they got in the previous year in future budgets.