Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja was on Wednesday, October 9, impeached by county assembly over alleged gross misconduct.
The motion was tabled in the assembly after ward representatives threatened to impeach Governor Samboja for ignoring their efforts to reconcile with him after disagreeing over the budget.
Political Fight with DP William Ruto
On Monday, September 16, 2019, Samboja lashed out at Deputy President William Ruto over what he termed as getting unsolicited advice from the DP over his decision to initiate the dissolution of the county assembly.
He accused the DP of meddling in issues that didn’t involve his office.
Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja. He accused the DP of meddling in issues that didn’t involve his office.
“We respect the Deputy President but he must respect us. That is why since I began a campaign to dissolve the county government, I have not stepped into his office. We have the formula to resolve our issues, our petition will be taken to the President, and not Ruto. What the President will say is what we will follow,” he stated.
Earlier on Sunday, September 15, DP Ruto advocated for other ways of resolving the ongoing supremacy battle in the county.
“The solution of problems facing Taita Taveta County cannot be solved by moving from one office to another in Nairobi. They can be solved here at the grassroots if you put aside your differences and work together,” Ruto conveyed during a church service at Buguta grounds in Taita Taveta.
Ruto held talks with 30 MCAs from Taita Taveta County led by Speaker Meshack Maganga where he stated that devolution was crucial service delivery at the grassroots.
“Devolution enables people to have a say on priority projects. All leaders must work together to strengthen devolution; play integral roles in development and offer solutions, dissolving county governments is not one of them,” he added.
Mr Samboja and the MCAs have for long been embroiled in sharp disagreement which paralysed the implementation of the 2019/2020 budget.
The disagreement started in August 2019 when the MCAs slashed the budget allocated for the Executive and set aside Sh833 million for the Ward Development Fund.
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This irked the governor who declined to endorse the budgetary proposals. The county assembly members then resorted to the reconciliation process with him but there was no breakthrough.
“If it has to take a gesture of goodwill from the county Assembly to end this standoff, then so be it. We are doing exactly that today. We wish to inform the public that we are keen to put this standoff behind us and seek a lasting solution to the problem,” said Assembly Speaker Meshack Maganga on August 5, 2019.
The County Chief, however, remained adamant that he would not dialogue with the MCAs. At the time, he re-affirmed his position through County Spokesperson Dennis Onsarigo.
“The governor has not changed his earlier stand in the ongoing stalemate and there is no room for dialogue with the legislative arm,” said Onsarigo.
Samboja then embarked on a plan to dissolve the county government and gathered 50,000 signatures for the move.
The narrative later changed on August 13, 2019, when the MCAs hatched a plan to impeach him as they accused him of being a stumbling block.
“The governor has become a stumbling block in our efforts to resolve the budget impasse, something that the assembly cannot stomach anymore,” said Jason Tuja, the Majority Leader.
“We have exhausted all avenues available. Our next move is to impeach him.”
The implementation of the 2019/2020 budget had remained a pipe dream.
Taita Senator Johnes Mwaruma and local MPs Danson Mwashako, Andrew Mwadime and Jones Mlolwa supported Samboja’s quest to dissolve the county while Woman Representative Lydia Haika and Taveta MP Naomi Shaban sided with the MCAs.
Frantic efforts by the Deputy President William Ruto, ODM leader Raila Odinga and even Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka to hammer deal and find an agreement between the two sides have hit a snag.