By P W
For daring to turn dream into reality of making Murang’a County the first to process and market commercial dairy products, Murang’a governor Mwangi Wa Iria has persistently been hounded by state agents for the better part of one year.
Yesterday, while driving to hospital to see a patient, Wa Iria was suddenly arrested in a sting operation conducted by Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) officers and taken to Integrity Centre for questioning.
Problems for Governor Mwangi Wa Iria started soon after CORD leader Raila Odinga lavished praise on his leadership at the last devolution conference in Kisumu in early 2015. Raila noted that the Murang’a County development plan for twin projects were a demonstration of success with devolved government and urged other counties to adopt similar strategies.
Since then Francis Mwangi as he was previously known before he opted for a nickname he had been given by dairy farmers when he was the managing director of New KCC, Wa Iria, which means “of Milk”, has been arrested, charged and released several times as he been summoned by parliamentary senate committees on numerous occasions.
Wa Iria’s tribulations are further compounded to the fact he established a country dairy in Murang’a which is currently collecting milk from farmers at its coolers and selling to Brookside which has for years built an almost impregnable monopoly in the milk market in this region. Wa Iria is literally cutting profits for Brooksode in this wealthy county that has 28.5% poverty levels compared to national average of 48%.
A sportcheck in Murang’a show Wa Iria has invited and is working with investors towards actualizing plans to start a Murang’a milk processing factory jointly owned by government and local dairy farmers. This project has made Wa Iria develop a cult-like following by Diary farmers in Murang’a who have grown weary of exploitation by Brookside Dairies.
Observers say Wa Iria has rubbed anti-devolution agents within the national government the wrong way as they are fiercely protective of a centralised system of governance which protects their business interests and consolidate wealth in the hands of a few individual powerful families.
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