Inside Politics

4 to contest for Tharaka Nithi Speaker’s post as Assembly remains makeshift ‘mabati’ structure

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022 18:40 | By
Tharaka Nithi County Assembly
Members of the second Tharaka-Nithi County Assembly pose for a photo outside their chambers. PHOTO/ Blaise Gitonga

Four candidates have been cleared to contest for the Speaker’s seat in Tharaka Nithi County Assembly on Wednesday, September 21, 2022.

The four were among seven applicants who expressed interest in the top county job.

The candidates are former Deputy Governor Mati Murithi, former nominated MCA Samuel Muthini Karangi, former Machakos County Assembly Clerk Felix Gitari Mbiuki and former Tharaka Nithi County Assembly Speaker John Mbabu.

The four were cleared to vie for the speaker's post yesterday.

They had presented their nomination papers at the County Assembly offices in Chuka Town, 30 kilometres from the county assembly chambers in Kathwana, the county's headquarters.

In 2012, political and community leaders in the county agreed on Kathwana as the county headquarters, capitalizing on its central position and enough space for expansion but national government and county officers who include the County Commissioner operate from Chuka Town, 30 kilometers from Kathwana.

The infrastructure set to host the officers in Kathwana remains incomplete ten years after devolution.

Under the reign of the first Tharaka Nithi Governor Samwel Mbae Ragwa, iron-sheet assembly chambers and offices were erected as plans to build 400 million county executive offices and 360 million assembly chambers were underway but to date, the infrastructure still remains incomplete save for the governor’s office and iron-sheet assembly chambers and offices.

Addressing residents during his swearing-in after re-election, Governor Muthomi Njuki blamed the incomplete executive offices on the sluggish relationship between the county and national governments, assuring them that the buildings would be completed by the end of this year.

“With the new administration of William Ruto, we are hopeful that the building will be complete by the end of this year. This is a promise we have to keep to give vibrancy to Kathwana and give the employees the motivation they deserve to work here”, he said.

Njuki acknowledged that the County Government had already committed their 25 per cent share of funding and that the national government was yet to fulfil its 75 per cent pledge towards funding the construction.

Muthini, one of the four candidates seeking to be the next County Assembly Speaker, has promised to ensure the construction of the assembly resumes in his first 100 days in office.

Having served as an MCA, Muthini acknowledged that he was the right man for the job since he was well versed with the challenges facing members of the county assembly and as the speaker, he would oversee the smooth running of the assembly.

Other candidates cleared to run for the position include former Deputy Governor Mati Murithi, former Machakos County Assembly Clerk Felix Gitari Mbiuki and former Tharaka Nithi County Assembly Speaker John Mbabu.

Journalist withdraws from Tharaka Nithi Speaker's race

Veteran journalist Alex Njeru, who had expressed interest in the position withdrew from the race at the last minute, while two of the other applicants failed to show up.

The first sitting of the County Assembly is scheduled for Wednesday when members are set to take oath of office before electing the House speaker and his deputy.

Magumoni MCA Justin Kithinji and Chogoria MCA Franklin Mawira will contest for the Deputy Speaker post.

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