Ngilu, senator in war of words over Kitui County offices fire

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Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and Senator Enoch Wambua are trading accusations over a fire that gutted sections of the county’s Finance department on Sunday night.

Police have questioned several county staff over the incident.

The fire, whose cause is yet to be established, broke out at 2am and razed a block of county offices which housed the budget and economic planning departments, reducing to ashes valuable documents and equipment.

Senator Wambua accused the county government of failing in disaster preparedness after it emerged that the county’s fire engines did not respond to the inferno because they were grounded.

“It’s sad that county finance offices have gone up in flames. It is also sad that the county fire engine has been grounded since it was bought,” said Mr Wambua in a message circulated on social media which blamed Mrs Ngilu for the fire incident.

In a swift rejoinder, Governor Ngilu said it was wrong for the senator to jump into conclusions, and that he should be investigated by police for what he claims to know about the inferno.

“It is not lost on my administration that we are operating in a poisoned political environment where some leaders are quick to jump to imbecilic conclusions at any misfortune that affects us,” she said in a press statement.

The governor urged the investigating agencies to move with speed to bring anyone culpable to book but added that she reads foul play in the incident.

She said going by his public statements, Senator Wambua seems to know the cause of the fire, the motive and even whom the suspects might be, and should therefore be questioned by police.

Mrs Ngilu said the same Finance department lost valuable procurement documents in a burglary incident in October last year, which were later suspected to have ended up in the hands of some leaders including Mr Wambua.

“No sooner had the burglary occurred than the same senator started making allegations against the county government. He produced documents which naturally would be in the custody of our registry,” she said.

“We reported this matter to the investigating agencies and we urge them to finalise it. Let Senator Wambua state how and where he got procurement and payment vouchers from. For now we hold him as a prime suspect [in] the burglary of our offices in October,” she added.

Mrs Ngilu said leaders must exercise restraint especially when such incidents occur instead of rushing to “score cheap political points”.

The offices which are situated a few meters from the county commissioner’s office are guarded round the clock by Administration Police officers.

Meanwhile, Members of the County Assembly spent the Tuesday afternoon session debating the fire incident where they criticised the county government, accusing it of laxity.

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