President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga were among the leaders present at the burial ceremony. [Photo/Courtesy]
President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga were among the leaders present at the burial ceremony. [Photo/Courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga on Monday hit out at Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) for frustrating devolution.

In their separate addresses at the burial of the late Governor Nderitu Gachagua in Nyeri, the two leaders hit out at County Assembly representatives for sabotaging county governments by blackmailing governors for selfish gains.

The unprecedented unity caught many by surprise, even receiving applause from other political leaders and mourners at the burial ceremony.

Unity of purpose

First to speak was Raila Odinga who accused Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) of being impudent in their relation with county government, threatening governors with impeachment if they do not heed their demands.

Raila further noted that while the Constitution allows county assemblies to provide oversight on county operations, it does not mean they should coalesce to gag development projects.

“President Uhuru has done his best to ensure devolution succeeds, and even though there have been hiccups along the way, we forgive him because he is a pioneer of this new system of governance as enshrined in the Constitution.

“And while measures are being put in place to ensure devolution works, some MCAs have devised ways of siphoning money from county governments, by organising bonding and benchmarking trips out of the country,” said Raila Odinga.

“Why would you go all the way to Malawi for a bonding session, when you have left your wife at home?” questioned Raila amid cheers from the mourners.

Raila praised the late Gachagua as a dedicated leader who was committed to making devolution work and improve the lives of the people of Nyeri.

He said that he campaigned for Gachagua during the 2002 elections when he vied for the Mathira parliamentary seat under the National Rainbow Coalition.

In his speech, President Uhuru Kenyatta condoled with the people of Nyeri for losing a visionary leader who was interested in ensuring the county moves to the next level in terms of development.

“The late Nderitu has made me to agree with my brother Raila, for the first time in a very long time,” he said.

President Uhuru further noted: “Kenyans said they wanted devolved government and we have done our best to put them in place, but we are saddened that even after disbursing money to the counties no development is achieved just because leaders do not agree.”

‘Your differences must not deter development’

He called on the county representatives not to let their differences with governors get in the way of development projects that would otherwise help the constituents.

He said Nderitu Gachagua was dedicated on improving agriculture in the county and assured the residents of his support to achieve the late Gachagua’s vision.

“We should support governors as they try to implement their promises to the locals and if you disagree with them you should wait for the elections after their terms are over instead of working to remove them from office,” said President Uhuru.

During his tenure as Governor, Nderitu Gachagua faced stern opposition from some MCAs who went ahead and impeach him over apparent mismanagement of county affairs.

The impeachment motion was however disapproved by the Senate after Senators rejected all the accusations leveled against the governor.