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Nairobi County Assembly circus continues as Elachi suspends sittings

The circus at Nairobi County Assembly has taken a new twist with Speaker Beatrice Elachi prematurely adjourning assembly sittings until September, at a time her when her ouster is now a matter of when and not if.

This even as MCAs supporting Clerk Jacob Ngwele insist that the Speaker stands suspended and cannot perform any duty due to her office, pending the resolution of the impeachment motion facing her.

LONG RECESS

However, Elachi seems to have pulled the rag under the feet of her opponents by suspended the assembly sittings prematurely ahead of the August long recess.

In her defence, the former nominated senator said that the “current environment at the assembly cannot allow for operation of virtual sittings” citing attempts by some ward representatives and goons to disrupt the sittings.

“Consequently, the Assembly stands adjourned until after the long recess on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 in accordance with the assembly calendar. This adjournment also applies to all committees. Accordingly, no person shall be allowed in the assembly precincts apart from a few staff,” Elachi said.

Nevertheless, Mr Ngwele maintains that the Speaker’s actions don’t hold as she stands suspended.

He explained that according to section 11(6) of the County Governments (Amendment) Act, 2020; the Speaker shall not perform any of the functions of the office of the Speaker pending the resolution of the county assembly.

IMPEACHMENT

This is after the Speaker was notified of the notice of her impeachment motion after the clerk had been served by the sponsor of the motion, South B MCA Silvia Museiya on Tuesday morning, which he said complied with the law and standing Orders of the assembly thereby meeting the required minimums for tabling.

“Accordingly, the purpose of this letter is firstly, to notify you of the said Notice of Motion, secondly, to avail you the opportunity to prepare a response, if any, and thirdly, invite you to appear before the county assembly plenary on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 10am,” Ngwele’s letter reads in part.

“Please note that under the section 11(6), the notice of motion having garnered the requisite one-third of signatures of all MCAs, you are hereby suspended from the service of the county assembly until the House dispenses with the motion within the statutory timelines provided for above,” the letter further reads.

As of Tuesday, 59 county legislators opposed to the Speaker had appended their signatures on the censure motion.

ABUSE OF OFFICE

A threshold of 42 signatures is needed for a notice of impeachment motion to be tabled before the assembly.

The ward representatives have laid at least six grounds for the fresh push to remove the Speaker from office for the second time.

The grounds include abuse of office, illegal appointment of a new assembly clerk, corruption, poor leadership, victimisation of MCAs and assembly staff, impunity, disregard of the law and county orders, and militarisation of the assembly.

Elachi was impeached for the first time in September, 2018 when more than 100 MCAs voted unanimously to remove her from office accusing her of corruption, abuse of office, incompetence and poor leadership.

However, she got a reprieve from the court which quashed the ouster decision and she made her comeback last year October after more than 13 months out of office but since her return, the assembly has been embroiled in one battle after another.