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Here is why Uhuru declined to disband Makueni government

President Kenyatta on Sunday rejected recommendations by a commission to disband Makueni County Government.

The President said there were no justifiable grounds to suspend the troubled county government.

The recommendations to suspend the regional government were made by the Commission of Inquiry into the Dissolution of Makueni County Government that the President appointed in February.

This was after Makueni residents and Governor Kivutha Kibwana petitioned the President.

They wanted the county government dissolved to end long-standing political wrangles between the governor and the county assembly.

They said they had not benefited from devolution as all development projects had stalled due to a budget standoff between the governor and the MCAs.

INTERNAL CONFLICTS

The residents invoked Article 192 of the Constitution that allows the President to suspend a county government in an emergency arising from internal conflicts, war or in any other exceptional circumstances.

The commission, which was chaired by Mr Mohamed Nyaoga submitted its report to the President on Thursday last week.

The commission recommended that the county government be suspended as the residents and their governor had suggested.

In a statement emailed to newsrooms by State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu on Sunday, the President said he did not see the need to suspend the county government.

But he noted that commission’s report outlines “most alarming and deplorable petitions of failures”, including a budget crisis, which had made it difficult for the county government to embark on any development project.

The President cited a case in which MCAs made 14 foreign trips in the 2013/14 financial year using re-allocated funds.

GUNFIGHT

He also cited a report of a gunfight within the precincts of the county assembly, where five people were shot and injured, including the sergeant-at-arms of the assembly and the governor’s chief of staff.

He, however, noted that the litany of failures did not meet the high bar set for the exercise of his special powers to suspend the county government.

“The President reaffirms that our constitutional, legal and political architecture provide sufficient alternative mechanisms to deal with maladministration, corruption and ineptitude,” read the statement from President Kenyatta.

He went on: “The President is therefore not satisfied that justifiable grounds exist for the suspension of the County Government of Makueni.”

Mr Esipisu said the President believes a decision that results in the ejection of an elected government is extremely grave and one that ought to be exercised sparingly.

However, he said the President had noted with appreciation the proposals for better management and resolution of intra-county conflicts.

The proposals include setting up mechanisms that mirror inter-governmental summit within each county to avoid the escalation of disputes that could lead to paralysis and disruption of vital public service.