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Uhuru told to suspend Makueni county as by-elections loom

Makueni County Government should be suspended, a commission of inquiry has recommended.

In a report handed to President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa Thursday, the chairman of the commission on Makueni, Mr Mohammed Nyaoga, said the commission had unearthed “exceptional circumstances” at the county government that warrant its suspension.

Mr Nyaoga said he was not allowed by law to divulge more information as the President must first act on the findings and recommendations.

The President has seven days to act on the report and forward it to the Senate Speaker.

Last year, more than 50,000 county residents signed a petition demanding that their government be suspended and elections held for new leaders.

Governor Kivutha Kibwana welcomed the commission’s decision, saying the wish of the people of Makueni County had been granted.

“To have a different opinion, for me, would be tantamount to undermining their constitutionally guaranteed sovereignty. I congratulate the citizens of Makueni for they have gone into the history books for being champions of devolution,” said Prof Kibwana.

Three telephone calls to Speaker Stephen Ngelu seeking his comment on the report went answered.

A month ago, the speaker and Prof Kibwana said they had reconciled and forgiven each other.

County Assembly Majority Leader Francis Mutuku said the verdict did not come as a surprise.

He said that county assembly members were prepared for the outcome and most would be re-elected should fresh polls be held.

“Personally, I will win my post back should we go to the polls,” he said.

His Minority counterpart, Mr John Mwenze, said the ward reps were not ready for elections as most did not have the money to campaign.

On the verdict, Mr Mwenze said the petitioners were happy as development in the county is wanting.

With the verdict out, the fate of the county government now lies with senators who will vote on whether to suspend the county government.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr said after the Senate receives the report, it will have seven days to agree or disagree with the recommendations.

If it agrees, the President will send the governor, deputy governor, assembly and executive home.

An Interim County Management Board will be set up to oversee the affairs of the devolved unit for 90 days. After that, the county will be dissolved to pave way for elections.

But there is a likelihood of the Senate lifting the suspension within the 90 days, reinstating the tentatively jinxed leaders.