Kitui, Wednesday March 28, By Kitui Newspaper Team

The just concluded vetting of chief officers by the Kitui County Assembly is as much illegal as it is out of order; going by the Kenyan constitution, Kitui Newspaper has unveiled.

Investigations into the vetting process have revealed several instances where the County Government executive, speaker of the County Assembly and the entire house deliberately chose to disregard the laws governing the vetting of county COs last week:

First, it was outright nepotism when the house vetted and approved Mr. Geoffrey Changangu; who coincidentally, and to the house’s full knowledge, is the Speaker’s first nephew. Mr. Benjamin Kioko also, is a close maternal relative of the governor. Kioko unsuccessfully vied for an MCA seat in Mutito Andei , and comes from Makueni County.

Second, sources inside the county assembly, who sought anonymity for fear of incarceration, have confided that the MCAs were ‘tipped’ amounts to the tune of 50,000 shillings each to coerce the successful vetting of the list of CO nominees. Some of the successfully vetted Cos also fail to meet the constitutional thresholds on gender, youth, or people living with disabilities. One of the vetted officers is also lacking clearance from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Committee owing to bad books in the past.

Copies of the Auditor General’s report for the previous regime. Some of the successfully vetted COs’ names featured in the implications

The tip of the iceberg is: the Chief Officers were vetted by a citizen, literary!

The Kitui Newspaper investigative team has unearthed a rather disturbing fact: despite the former Mutonguni Ward MCA, one Daudi (Baridi) Mbevo, having been officially degazzetted and his IEBC certificate revoked; the Kitui County Assembly Speaker has continued to allow him to attend assembly seatings and was even part of the MCAs who vetted the chief officers last week! It gets more interesting: the Speaker was served a court order and a copy of the ruling immediately after Mr. Mbevo was stripped off his election win by the Kitui Magistrate’s Court.

The petition rulling on the Mutonguni Ward petition by the Kitui Magistrates Court

Although Mr Mbevo filed an appeal in the Kitui High Court challenging the ruling, and successfully managed to obtain a court order halting the swearing in of the petitioner Eng. Musee Mati; the High Court refused to issue him with stay orders. In the proceedings of the Election Petition Appeal No. 1 of 2018 filled by the appellant Felix Baridi Mbevo, against the first respondent Musee Mati and others; in the High Court of Kenya at Kitui, the judge L.N.Mutende ordered that a status quo be maintained pending the appeal.

“…Considering the fact that a certificate has already been cancelled and another one issued, granting a stay order may amount to reversing or suspending what has already been done. But in view of the fact that the first respondent(Musee Mati) has not been sworn in, it would call for a status quo to be maintained…” read part of the order by Kitui High Court Judge L. N. Mutende.

Part of the High Court orders after former Mutonguni Ward MCA appealed against the magistrate court’s nullification of his August 8 win.

In simpler language: the court halted the swearing in of Engineer Mati, and maintained the degazzetation and stripping of IEBC certificate for Baridi Mbevo, until the appeal filed is heard and decided.

However, Mr. Mbevo has been attending assembly sessions just like before the petition ruling, and still transacts house businesses as the Vice Chair of the Budget and Appropriation Committee. The county government has also been paying him salaries and allowances to date, in full disregard of the court ruling and orders.

Mr. Mbevo, now an ordinary civilian pending the determination of the appeal, actively vetted the county chief officers in the assembly session last week; and is currently with other MCAs at the Coast writing a report after the vetting exercise. Felix Baridi Mbevo vied on a NARC ticket in the August 8 elections and was awarded a controversial win, which the court reversed in the favor of his opponent Eng. Mati last month.

The law states that only bonafide members of the county assembly can vet and pass the list of chief officers.

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