Machakos County Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua Friday quietly returned to work after a lengthy absence which provoked angry reactions from party leaders and residents fueling speculation that he was escaping an imminent arrest by anti-graft officials.
The governor returned only two days after his deputy Bernard Kiala, with whom he is at loggerheads and whom he has stripped of all portfolios, attempted to take over the reins of the government, stamping his authority by sacking two ministers and a chief officer all appointed and allied to his boss.
Kiala also announced the reinstatement of two ministers earlier sacked by Dr. Mutua.
Dr. Mutua’s homecoming will hopefully quell the disquiet occasioned by his quiet departure which came soon after appellate court judge Isaac Lenaola, mid-January, lifted an order restraining EACC from arresting the governor on corruption-related issues in his government.
Pressure had been mounting against the flamboyant former government spokesperson who occasionally responded from undisclosed locations on his social media by posting his photos, first in Tanzania, then Dubai and even in Mexico.
Two weeks ago former Vice President, Kalonzo Musyoka who is Dr. Mutua’s Wiper party leader during a fundraiser in Kangundo, Machakos gave the “missing” governor two weeks to return to his county or face unspecified consequences.
Within the same period, a local MCA tabled a motion in the local assembly seeking an official explanation as to the whereabouts of Dr. Mutua and the amounts he had spent on foreign trips, together with the benefits accrued.
To worsen the situation, Dr. Mutua’s 2013 gubernatorial opponent, Wavinya Ndeti on Wednesday called on the MCAs to impeach the governor for absconding duty.
“Machakos is now on autopilot following the governor’s absence”, she noted, adding that at his departure, the governor did not hand over any powers to his deputy. And last week three of Dr. Mutua’s key allies in the County Assembly namely, Joshua Mwonga, the leader of the majority, Mweu Kasoa the minority leader and the majority Chief whip, Timothy Kilonzo were ousted in a move seen to have been aimed at cutting the governors control in the house.
The matter has since gone to court for determination of the validity of the ouster.
And Friday, in a dispatch to the media, Dr. Mutua announced that upon his return he proceeded to hold a meeting with members of his cabinet and briefed them on his ‘successful’ investment tour.
“I informed the cabinet of my successful meetings with investors abroad who are now ready to come and set up their factories in Machakos as a part of our investment, poverty reduction and job creation program. I also informed them of the direct jobs that I bagged for our youth to work in the Middle East. These job creating programs are aimed at rolling back poverty which is the key agenda for my government and our Maendeleo Chap Chap Movement”, he wrote on his Facebook account.
Dr. Mutua also added that he also met the beleaguered County Assembly leaders whose attempts to be reinstated by the County Speaker Bernard Mung’ata on Thursday saw business at the assembly completely disrupted.
” Earlier on, I had separately met the Speaker of the Machakos County, Bernard Mung’ata and the assembly leadership from both majority and minority sides in my office”, he noted, adding that those who met him included, Joshua Mwonga (leader Majority), Wilson Kasimu (Deputy Leader of majority), Thomas Kasoa (Leader Minority) and Alex Kamitu (minority chief whip).
The governor, who is expected to hold a rally Saturday at Mwala, his birth place, after a tour of development projects, said he will concentrate on “lifting our people from the yoke and bondage of poverty.”
The governor said the cabinet agreed to fast track programs on road construction and water provision.
“So far road works are going on in Kathiani-Kakuyuni to Kangundo road, Kivandini to Masinga, Katangi to Matuu road, and Syokimau-Katani road” he stated, adding that over 250 new boreholes have been dug and his government was in the process of equipping them with solar pumps.
“We have also dug over150 medium sized dams and built over 90 water weirs among other water projects”.
He dismissed his detractors and vowed to soldier on with his development agenda despite the hostile environment from some quarters in the county.
“I will not be distracted to play the old politics of name calling, empty rhetoric and poverty. Maendeleo Chap Chap will continue to grow stronger and focusing on the ordinary Mwananchi and not the interests of an individual leader”, he concluded