By: JEREMIAH KIPLANG’AT
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua was on Tuesday summoned by senators over alleged mistreatment of his deputy, Mr Bernard Kiala, as acrimony between the two leaders escalated.
The governor has ignored two previous invitations to appear before the Senate’s Legal Affairs Committee, prompting the House team to deliver summons to him.
Although the governor sent apologies through acting county Secretary Grace Munguti, the senators were not willing to accommodate them, saying the county boss had developed a habit of ignoring their invitations.
The committee chairman, Mr Amos Wako, said it was wrong for the governor to take the Senate invites lightly and to keep sending junior officers to represent him.
Dr Mutua must now appear before the Senate team on November 18 or risk further action, including being fined or being cited for failing to discharge his constitutional roles, if he does not honour the summons.
“We cannot tolerate this anymore. We normally invite a governor and if we feel he is trying to avoid us, we go a notch higher.
“We are now exercising powers given to us by Article 125 of the Constitution and summon him to appear before this committee,” said Mr Wako, also Busia Senator.
PETITION BY KIALA
The committee is looking into a petition to the Senate by Mr Kiala.
In the petition, the deputy governor indicates several cases of mistreatment he said he had suffered since last year when an impeachment motion against him failed.
He says he had been ostracised from all county activities and had not attended executive committee meetings since July last year.
He also says he had been locked out of his office and denied an official car, among other privileges for county deputy bosses.
“We take note of tactics employed by the governor not to appear before this committee. He has also failed to appear before the Finance Committee and other Senate committees. This cannot go on,” added Mr Wako.
Ms Munguti said Dr Mutua was preparing to travel to Japan for a conference slated for Thursday.
“The governor has sent his apologies. He is travelling to Japan his secretary is sending to me his itinerary. We can reschedule this meeting,” said Ms Munguti.
The lawmakers were, however, angered by the manner in which the apologies were delivered, saying it had been done casually and disrespectfully.
“You are taking this committee for granted. I find you very casual about how you are addressing this committee. It is clear none of you can respond to the issues raised in the petition,” said Murang’a Senator Kembi Gitura.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr said there was a likelihood of a leadership vacuum in Machakos if the governor was out of the country and the deputy has no access to the tools of power.
“If there is an emergency in Machakos, who would be in charge of the response when the governor is travelling?” asked Mr Kilonzo.
Ms Munguti said she had not officially taken the oath of office after being appointed last Thursday on an acting capacity.