The political wars between Machakos governor Alfred Mutua and his deputy Bernard Kiala are turning nastier with some startling claims.
Whereas Mutua has accused his deputy of seeking sexual favours from junior women officers, Kiala sent out a slinger at Mutua accusing him of having hidden dead frogs and snakes’ skins in his office to ostensibly ward off woes haunting his nascent political career.
Mutua had also claimed Kiala has used his position to divert water pipes meant for the community in Mwala subcounty, leading to the collapse of the Sh13.6 million Kamu Irrigation Scheme.
But Kiala dismissed Mutua’s claims and accused him of using diversionary politics instead of facing reality. According to Kiala allies, Mutua openly practices witchcraft for protection and has hidden dead dried frogs and a cobra skin in his office. They claim witchdoctors from Zanzibar frequent his office and even before the last general elections, Mutua made visits to the archipelago in the Indian Ocean of Tanzania where, incidentally, his nemesis Seanator Johnson Muthama has a home.
It is not lost to observers that it is too coincidental that Mutua named his television show Cobra Squad. Sources said he was advised byb those who ‘treat’ him to associate with snakes as a fortune hence the alleged snake skin in his car, office and house. For the frogs, they say snakes feed on them.
It is claimed Mutua has been told by the witchdoctors not to honour summonses by the senate over alleged mistreatment of his deputy as nothing will happen to him. Legal committee chairman Amos Wako is bitter that Mutua has been sending junior officers led by county secretary Grace Munguti to act on his behalf.
Kiala’s people claim Mutua’s first wife Josephine Thitu took off upon discovering the governor was not a Christian. Mutua has never attended a church function ever since he was elected, it is claimed.
Recently, the governor was away in America for four weeks during which time his his chief of staff Mwengi Mutuse convened and chaired a cabinet meeting in the governor’s office. While in the office many went dizzy for unknown reasons. The executives were later heard complaining how the chief officer dressed them down and threatened some with dismissal which the governor actualised upon his return. To them, it was unconstitutional for a personal assistant to convene such meeting in absence of the governor and deputy governor. Suspicion has been raised over the meeting in Mutua’s office with claims it was a cleansing process ahead of the sackings.
The purpose of his long stay in America and its importance to Machakos county residents is what is raising concerns. But a source who was in the governor’s itinerary intimated to Weekly Citizen that the governor flew silently to Australia were he is battling with his estranged wife Josephine on the upkeep of his kids. His last visit saw him denied access to his children by Australian authorities forcing him to jet back to Kenya. The two separated after the wife accused him of cruelty and unfaithfulness. Mutua later married Lilian, a Kikuyu lady whom they were in relationship during his time as government spokesman. She has now taken Mutua’s middle name and is officially Lilian Nganga.
Lilian’s mother is said to be getting all the lucrative county tenders and is laughing all the way to Central with bulging pockets as Kamba contractors and suppliers face auctioneers from their creditors after Mutua failed to pay them. A number of the contractors have fallen dead one after the other in stress-related heart attacks.
The Kiala camp further says Mutua has declared war on former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka just because Kalonzo says he is a born-again Christian.
This comes in the wake of allegations that his Maendeleo Chap Chap slogan is an avenue to steal money from public coffers by his top senior aides and associates, and is actually Wizi Chap Chap. Three months ago, the governor launched a Sh2.6 billion water programme aimed at providing the commodity to every homestead in Mchakos. During the launch of the programme in Kangundo constituency, the media hype governor promised to install piped water and showers to every home by 2016.
Although youths were hired to dig trenches for water in every ward, there is nothing much to show off on the ground. The programme according to an insider was marred by theft and corruption from the procurement stage. The governor himself was accused of single-sourcing the drilling machines, some which broke down on first assignment. The drilling machines were supplied from China through a company associated with governor’s executive in charge of industrialisation Sunir Dhall. According to experts in the water sector, the rigs could not drill beyond 100 metres.
The water programme joins a chain of initiatives by the governor that have flopped since his election making people suspect that they were deliberate schemes to skim county cash. The tractors programme stalled after nearly all of them broke down while the provision of seedlings to farmers has remained a mirage. The deeply entrenched theft of public funds by Mutua’s top aides has trickled down to junior workers who have resorted to corruption to survive salary delays.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission raised the red flag when three top aides to the governor were arraigned in court on corruption charges. The governor himself was spared courtesy of a court injunction which temporarily barred EACC from arresting him. Mwengi, county roads engineer Morris Aluanga and county secretary Francis Mwaka were charged last month with failing to comply with the law and disregarding procurement procedures in the acquisition of second-hand cars for Mutua’s cabinet
Whereas the county secretary stepped aside upon being charged, the chief of staff in still in office and cutting deals on behalf of the governor. Mwengi is now known to be swimming in excess money and was heard at his newly-built hotel in Makindu, Makueni county bragging how they have so far amassed Sh2 billion campaign kitty for the governor for 2017 general election
In what was seen as a gimmick to hoodwink Machakos county people who say the graft in their county government is worse than that perpetrated by the Biwotts and Patnis of the dark Moi days when impunity was the order of the day and night, Mutua sacked his chief officer in charge of special programmes Lemi Muia who had earlier been impeached by the county assembly over water scandals. Water executive Francis Maliti together with his agriculture counterpart Larry Wambua were also suspended for two months. The governor accused them of insubordination. Also suspended was Mavoko water MD Michael Mangeli over mismanagement of the water company.
But those following the events say the governor is only diverting attention from serious problems affecting his government. The government has a debt of Sh2 billion owed by suppliers and contractors. Last week, Mutua issued a circular to workers informing them of delay in salary payment for three successive months from November.