The tense relationship between Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and his deputy Benard Kiala Monday worsened with the withdrawal of Mr Kiala’s official car. The move came a few hours after Kiala attended Sunday’s CORD rally at Kenyatta Stadium, where he received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Kiala was later forced to leave his office and walk to the road where he boarded a matatu to Nairobi to attend Monday’s CORD rally at Uhuru Park. Trouble started when the deputy governor attended a county cabinet meeting chaired by Dr Mutua in his office, where he raised issues touching on his security detail, which he wanted listed as part of the day’s agenda.
Kiala later told reporters that he was asked to leave the room to allow the cabinet deliberate over the matter because it touched on his character and conduct. “When I walked out, I found the number plates on my official car removed and the car blocked, denying me access to it,” a visibly angry Kiala explained.
He alleged that a senior officer in the governor’s office told him the directive to remove the number plates came from the governor. The move irked a number of county assembly members who blocked the Machakos-Nairobi road in protest.
The MCAs said the deputy governor’s security detail was withdrawn two weeks ago and wondered why his official transport had to be taken away as well. “We are demanding that Governor Mutua reinstates Kiala’s security and transport unconditionally,” shouted the enraged MCAs.
A contingent of anti-riot police led by Machakos OCPD Joe Lekuta used tear gas to force the MCAs and their supporters to remove their cars from the middle of the road. County Executive for Devolution Nimrod Mbai had to literally flee for safety as irate members of the public bayed for his blood.
This was moments after the MCAs demanded to know who had empowered Mr Mbai to order Administration Police (AP) officers to harass them. Mbai is a former AP officer.
The protesting MCAs said no amount of intimidation from the governor would stop them from fighting for the rights of Machakos residents.
They claimed police in Machakos had been compromised by the Office of the Governor and asked them to stick to their duty of serving the public. Former Cabinet minister Gideon Ndambuki was among motorists caught up in the fracas that lasted several minutes. The MCAs told Mutua to give Kiala his rights according to the Constitution or resign and seek a fresh mandate with a running mate of his choice.
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