County, State officials ‘plotted Waititu’s fall’ - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 21 December 2019

County, State officials ‘plotted Waititu’s fall’

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu spent the better part of Thursday watching his impeachment proceedings on television from a hotel in Nakuru, hundreds of kilometres away from his seat of power.
The county boss was in the company of a few loyal ward representatives.
Mr Waititu is a man deserted by close friends, among them businesspeople, tenderpreneurs and political hangers-on.
The impeachment motion, the Saturday Nation learnt, enjoyed the blessings of county and national governments officials.
According to close associates and his lawyers who spoke in confidence, Mr Waititu was fighting a battle he was never going to win, having fallen out with the same powerful people who helped him win the election in August 2017.
“Our client hoped the motion to impeach him would not pass. He thought that would salvage his political career and boost his 2022 re-election chances,” the source said.
“He is aware the fight is complex, especially the corruption and conflict of interest charges he faces in court. Today’s results have not only devastated him but may lead to the killing of his career.”
County Youth executive Karungo Thangwa, a supporter of Mr Waititu, expressed similar sentiments.
Mr Thangwa is also fighting his impeachment in court. He was removed from office by the assembly months ago following reports of corruption in his department.
He had earlier told reporters that the governor and his supporters expected the impeachment motion to be withdrawn by the petitioner — Ndenderu Ward Representative Solomon Kinuthia.
The drive to have the motion sail through was costly and tedious.
Reliable sources said a powerful principal secretary from Mt Kenya was given the responsibility of lobbying ward representatives to go ahead with the motion on grounds that Kiambu is lagging behind other regions in terms of development, with corruption and wastage of public resources cited as the main reasons.
The first strategy was to identify ward representatives who do not see eye to eye with Mr Waititu and use them to sell the idea to the public.
Those identified included Biashara Ward Representative Elijah Njoroge.
He fell out with Mr Waititu when the governor reportedly campaigned against his bid to be county assembly majority leader.
Contacted on Friday , Mr Njoroge admitted that he was the team leader and strategist in the campaign to have Mr Waititu impeached.
Mr Njoroge added that he would not rest “until Mr Waititu is no longer the governor of Kiambu County”.
“Mr Waititu has shown that he only wanted to be governor for the purpose of stealing and misusing public resources. He rides on populism to cover his dirty tracks,” the Biashara Ward representative said.
The second strategy was to table the motion through Mr Kinuthia, who sold to the youth the narrative that they are disadvantaged because of widespread corruption.
He cited the governor’s “Kaa Sober” programme that was meant to rehabilitate alcoholics and drug addicts, saying it was a ploy to steal from young people.
Every “rehabilitated” youth was promised Sh600 per day for doing menial jobs but the majority went for months without getting anything, he said.
The third scheme was to use a lobby called Okoa Kiambu that is chaired by Mr Hoswell Kinuthia to gather signatures calling for Mr Waititu’s immediate departure.
The group collected 210,000 signatures, which it presented to the county assembly.
Members of the lobby burst into celebrations when 63 of the county’s 92 ward representatives voted to impeach the governor.
There was jubilation at the assembly when Speaker Stephen Ndichu announced the final tally.
During the voting, some 28 ward representatives — mainly allied to Mr Waititu — were absent, while only one member voted against the motion.
“By impeaching Mr Waititu, our battle against impunity and corruption has been won. Our fight was for the people of Kiambu County who were being shortchanged by an individual,” Mr Kinuthia said.
Outside the assembly, the huge crowds usually associated with Mr Waititu were nowhere to be seen.
Only a handful of his supporters were watching pensively from a tent erected at the assembly precincts.
And the governor’s troubles are far from over. On Friday, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court barring Mr Waititu from accessing his office until the corruption case facing him is heard and determined.
Mr Waititu had asked the Appellate Court to have the order stopping him from resuming duty quashed.
The governor, his wife and eight other people early this year were charged with irregularly awarding themselves tenders totalling Sh580 million.

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