After a stormy start to his plans to launch the
Machakos City and investment, Governor Alfred
Mutua had the last laugh on Friday when President
Uhuru Kenyatta came to his defence and told off
Dr Mutua was elected on a Wiper ticket, a party
affiliated to the Cord alliance. President Kenyatta is
the leader of the Jubilee coalition.
And, in light of the opposition the governor’s grand
plan had elicited, critics were hoping the Head of
State would not attend the function.
The function was scheduled to begin at 10 am with
guests requested to be seated by 9 am.
By 1 pm, the Head of State had not arrived, and the
guests were looking decidedly unsettled.
On Tuesday, the President, concerned about the
controversy, sent his Chief of Staff, Joseph Kinyua,
who is also the Head of the Civil Service, Principal
Secretary for Internal Security Mutea Iringo and the
State House Comptroller to Machakos where they
toured the land proposed for the new city.
The team also held a closed-door meeting with the
governor and the county commissioner.
But on Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Felix Koskei
threw a bombshell when he accused the Machakos
County government of grabbing hundreds of acres of
his ministry’s land.
“The land is for livestock disease surveillance and the
animal genetic centre,” he said.
Mr Koskei asked the governor to demolish all the
structures that had been erected on the controversial
land before they could discuss the way forward.
The same day, Mr Mohammed Alabar, a leading
investor from Dubai who is the chairman of Emaar
Properties — the largest land and real estate
developer in the Gulf region — was visiting Machakos
The turn of events worried the governor.
On Thursday, Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama
went to the High Court in an attempt to stop the
launch of Machakos City.
The court declined to issue the order but said the
matter would be heard on Tuesday.
Dr Mutua must have sighed with relief when the
President’s motorcade snaked its way into the venue
shortly after 1 pm. The launch began moments later.
When he addressed the gathering, Mr Kenyatta
apologised for being late because of an earlier
meeting. Then he led the gathering in praising the
Now the big task for Dr Mutua is to deliver on his
At the launch, he said that in the next five years, the
town will have a new socio-economic face.
“The governor has set for himself quite a target and,
after the show of confidence he got from none other
than the President, it is for him to take the initiative
forward,” said Machakos County Assembly minority
leader Thomas Kasoa.
He said it was unfortunate that some county leaders
wanted to scuttle the project.
“This project will help create jobs for our young
people, transform the face of the county, and
stopping it does not make sense; we will not support
such thinking,” he said.
Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu said Dr
Mutua’s style of leadership is what the region needs.
“Everything rises and falls on leadership,” Mrs Ngilu
said of Dr Mutua while borrowing from the words of
Dr John Maxwell, author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of
“The era of opposing everything because it does not
favour you is long gone. I am urging Dr Mutua not to
look behind but to move on; let the noises being
directed at you be just that, noises,” Mrs Ngilu said.
Machakos Town MP Dr Victor Munyaka also urged
Senator Muthama to abandon his hardline position.
At a meeting with Machakos County MPs before he
addressed investors during the launch, Mr Kenyatta
expressed his displeasure over the infighting.
“The President wanted to get first- hand information
from county leaders. He listened to what we had to
say,” said Mavoko MP Patrick Makau.
The President told the leaders he was not
comfortable with attacks directed at him by Mr
The leaders petitioned the President to reinstate Mr
Muthama’s personal security detail.
“He promised action,” Mr Makau said.
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