Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has found herself in the eye of the storm over remarks she made about charcoal merchants and sand harvesters in the county.
In the video, which has been circulating online, Ngilu, while speaking in Kikamba, is seen seemingly instructing her constituents to impound and burn any lorries transporting charcoal or sand from Kitui to other regions.
“Burn the lorries and then call me,” she says in the video.
She then goes ahead to justify her orders with a practical analogy.
“If you knew that I was going to kill you, will you wait for me to kill you or will you kill me first?,” she poses, to which her audience responds in the affirmative.
“Because these people want to kill us, we will kill them first,” she continues.
However, the governor has moved with haste to deny that her remarks were meant to incite her constituents against certain communities perceived to be involved in the said businesses.
In her defence, Ngilu now says she was talking about an increase in the number of people felling trees for charcoal burning.
“There is a charcoal ban that has been in force since 2014 and that the county is only enforcing the Kitui County Charcoal Management Act, 2014,” she said.
She said she has since met security agencies and stakeholders and they agreed to stop charcoal burning because it is affecting the environment.
The ban, she says, is meant to curb massive destruction of trees and rivers in Kitui saying the situation is to blame for the poor rainfall in the region.
“We cannot sit and watch while rogue people continue ruining our environment. We must put an end to charcoal burning and sand harvesting in Kitui county,” she said.
Ngilu further reiterated her administration’s commitment to the ban which she said is irrevocable.
The governor however denied knowledge of any cases of lorries transporting charcoal being torched in the county.