Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza has named a road in Meru town after her husband, Murega Baichu, as a sign of appreciation for his support during and after the elections.
The move has elicited mixed reactions from the public, with some applauding her gesture and others accusing her of nepotism and misuse of public resources.
The road, which connects Makutano and Gakoromone markets, was recently renovated by the county government and officially opened by the governor on Friday, September 2. On her Facebook page, Kawira Mwangaza shared photos of the road and said that she had decided to name it after her husband, who is also a musician.
“This is Murega Baichu Road. I named it after my husband for standing with me during the campaigns and even now. He is my pillar of strength and I love him so much. He deserves this honour and more. God bless you my dear husband,” she wrote.
Kawira Mwangaza was elected as the governor of Meru county on an independent ticket in the August 9, 2023 General Election, beating the incumbent Kiraitu Murungi of Jubilee Party.
She was the only female governor elected in the country and the first woman to lead Meru county. Her husband, Murega Baichu, accompanied her on the campaign trail with his guitar and composed songs in praise of her.
The naming of the road after her husband has sparked a debate on social media, with some users commending her for her love and loyalty to her spouse, while others criticizing her for being insensitive and self-serving.
Some users argued that the road should have been named after a prominent person from Meru county or a national hero, while others questioned the legality and procedure of naming a public road.
“Congratulations Governor Kawira Mwangaza for naming a road after your husband. That is true love and respect. You are setting a good example for other couples. May God bless your marriage,” one user commented.
“This is unacceptable and unethical. How can you name a public road after your husband? What has he done for Meru county or Kenya? This is nepotism and misuse of public funds. You should be ashamed of yourself,” another user wrote.
The governor has not responded to the criticism or clarified the process of naming the road. According to the Kenya Roads Act 2007, the authority to name or rename roads lies with the relevant road authority, which may be the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) or county governments.
The Act also stipulates that public participation and consultation should be done before naming or renaming roads.