Kitui governor Dr Julius Malombe tells PHILIP MUASYA why he doesn't care what local MPs think of him and why he will wipe the floor with Ngilu and Musila in elections for the governor's job
In the 2013 elections, you campaigned hand in glove with senator David Musila, who is now your harshest critic seeking to unseat you. Where did you part ways?
You know, I stand on principles and I have my values. I have flatly refused to kowtow to certain politicians’ selfish agenda and this has made them bitter. My way of executing development is making some people bitter because they wanted me to administer skewed development for favours and political expedience. There are things I cannot do and I will not do.
Musila claims Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka is favouring your re-election and has even threatened to quit the party and run on another ticket.
I am not surprised that the senator is thinking of bolting from the party. He is re-enacting a choreographed Jubilee script to scuttle Kalonzo’s chances of becoming NASA flag-bearer. He is bent on destroying the party and ultimately Kalonzo. When he says he will be on the ballot irrespective of the party and is not obliged to root for the election of Wiper candidates, is he really serious about the welfare and stability of the party? Musila expected to get a direct Wiper ticket which he was demanding, but after it was declined, he decided to become a spoiler.
But is Kalonzo favouring you?
Not at all. What the party leader said at Kwa Vonza during a voter mobilisation drive was that we should concentrate our energies not on fighting each other, but on discharging our mandate in our respective positions. Musila is living in mortal fear of facing me at the nominations. His reckless utterances are proof of a man who has panicked.
Charity Ngilu is in the race too and has buried the hatched with Kalonzo. Are you scared?
Ngilu is a mischievous and dishonest character. Her support for Kalonzo’s presidential ambition is not genuine. She is a traitor and a pretender who is hanging onto Kalonzo’s coattails with the hope of being elected as Kitui governor then turn back to her real self. Her body language betrays her. If she was honest and sincere, she should have abandoned her party and joined Wiper to fight from within.
Are you prepared to deal with the competition presented by Musila and Ngilu?
They don’t scare me one bit. I know the senator is working in cahoots with Ngilu to lock me out of the party nominations, but this will not work. I will show them dust once I shift into campaign mode because I have all it takes to floor them without breaking a sweat. I will beat them with not less than 75 per cent of the vote
But how specifically will you surmount the challenge presented by the two?
My performance gives me an edge over my rivals. My development record in the last four years has surpassed what Musila and Ngilu did in their combined 40 years in leadership. The senator for instance is a village leader and a dictator who oversaw skewed distribution of resources during his tenure as Mwingi South MP, where he marginalised areas that did not vote for him. Kitui County does not need such a leader. If you listen to him, you will realise he has a blurred vision of what Kitui needs.
What about Ngilu? She is a seasoned politician with a strong support base...
She has been in political leadership for 20 years with no significant project to show for her time in politics. Whatever public office she held, she was dogged by allegations of corruption and other scandals. When she was at the helm of the Water ministry, she failed to provide water to the county’s residents. Kitui needs a person with foresight and clear vision for the county, not one whom scandals follow from office to office.
At one time Musila, threatened to mobilise small-scale traders not to pay taxes to the county government because your administration was overtaxing them...
That was very unfortunate of him. It was sabotage. Is it a mature thing for the senator to incite people not to pay tax? He should be reminded that his duty as a senator is to protect the interests of the county government. If he had any issues with the tax, he should have written to the county assembly where the Finance Bill was passed after public participation.
It is said you have fallen out with most of the county MPs and isolated them from key decisions in the county...
Every elected leader should understand and concentrate on their work. MPs should concentrate on representing people at the National Assembly where they offer oversight to the national executive. What they think about the governor is not a gauge for anything. Besides, my working relationship with the county assembly is extremely good. The most important constituency is the people, who have sovereign power. I am in touch with the county residents and they are happy with our work. People are now enlightened and would easily know when a leader is performing or not.
Initially, the Wiper party had resolved to use only registered members of the party to nominate its candidates, but has now changed to anybody with a national ID card. Does that worry you?
I have faith in the newly-formed Wiper Elections Board and whichever method they will use, we are ready. I am ready to face anybody in the nominations and I am assured of a clear and decisive win against Senator Musila on April 24. All we are asking for is a free, fair, credible, transparent and accountable process.