The fate of Makueni County government hangs in the balance following the recommendations of a commission of inquiry, which had been appointed by president Uhuru to look into the matter, called for its suspension and subsequent dissolution
The Mohammed Nyaoga- led commission handed its report to the President in State house Mombasa yesterday, who is expected as per the constitution, to give his verdict within 7 days and send the report to the Senate.
“Today I received the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the petition to suspend Makueni County Government. In line with the County Government Act, I will render my decision on the report and its recommendation within the statutory timeline of 7 days”. As posted on president Uhuru’s Facebook page.
Early this year, more than 50,000 residents of Makueni County petitioned the president to suspend the county following incessant wrangles between Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Members of the County Assembly.
In their petition, the residents had argued that the protracted infighting between the two arms of government had paralyzed operations in the county and that dissolution was the only solution to end the impasse.
Governor Kibutha Kibwana welcomed the report and through a Facebook post, said that his government was ready for the Nyaoga commission verdict and would respect it.
“When our lawyer made his final submissions to the Nyaoga commission he stated that the county government submits itself to the mercy of the people of Makueni and the Senate. The People of Kenya are sovereign according to Article One of the Constitution. Let us all accept the verdict of the commission.Whatever the verdict our people have proved to themselves worthy defenders of devolution.They have made history.”
SENATE TO HAVE LAST WORD ON FATE OF COUNTY
The final verdict on the possible dissolution of the county however lies with the senate, which after receiving the report from the president, is also expected within seven days to give its verdict on the same.
“The President has seven days to send the report to the Senate, which also has seven days to dispense it. Upon receipt of the same, the Senate will either pass or reject it,” said Makueni senator Mr Kilonzo Jnr.
The county can only stand suspended if at least 24 out of 47 elected Senators vote in favour of the recommendation. If the county is suspended, Governor Kibwana, his deputy, the executive and Members of the County Assembly will be barred from transacting county business but will be entitled to half pay for 90 days.
An interim County Management Board shall be appointed to take charge. If the suspension is not lifted within 90, then the Governor, his deputy and Members of the County Assembly will lose their jobs, and a fresh election held. All nominated MCAs will also lose their jobs.
Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) said that the senate will observe fairness and provisions of the law in handling the report.
“We will treat this report fairly and justly, taking into account the provisions of the law. We will consider the facts available and the interest of the county as the Senate seeks to defend and entrench devolution,” said Mr Wetang’ula.
Under article 192 of the Constitution, the President may suspend a county in an emergency arising out of internal conflict or war or any other exceptional circumstances.
If disbanded, Makueni County government will go down in history as the first to be dissolved under the new Constitution.