By Albert Nyawawa & Eric Ludeya
Trouble at the Nairobi County has escalated after 80 Nairobi MCA’s signed a petition to impeach speaker Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi on Sunday.
The County Assembly of Nairobi is now preparing for a mother of supremacy battles as the embattled Speaker prepares to put up another defense against this new onslaught.
The county legislators cite abuse of office, victimization of MCA’s and staff at the Assembly, impunity and disregard for the law and County Orders and the illegal appointment of a new clerk as the grounds upon which they want to remove the Speaker.
The MCA’s also accuse Speaker Elachi of high-handedness and “militarizing the Nairobi County Assembly. They also say Speaker Beatrice Elachi has been disobeying Court Orders.
“Elachi is running this assembly like a personal property forgetting that we are elected and we have the mandate of the people, said Utalii Ward MCA Wilson Ochola.
The 80 MCA’s whose signatures were seen by The Times accuse Speaker Beatrice Elachi of fanning constant disagreement between the Badi –led Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) outfit and the County Government of Nairobi headed by Governor Mike Sonko.
The Development comes at a time Supremacy battles between Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and the Nairobi Metropolitan Service Director General Mohammed Badi are raging hard, threatening to derail operations in Nairobi County and at the Nairobi City County Assembly.
Hamza Ward MCA Mark Ndung’u accused Elachi of misusing the name of President Uhuru and former PM Raila Odinga to intimidate MCA’s and staff: “We are telling the President that his name is being misused here at the assembly for selfish gains and this has to stop.”
Leaders at the assembly have openly taken sides and the MCAs are increasingly getting divided everyday over who should call the shots in the city.
In February, Sonko signed the Deed of Transfer of Functions with the national government, leading to the birth of the NMS that has taken charge of four key functions.
Speaker Beatrice Elachi who was dramatically returned to the assembly following her impeachment back in 2018 has found herself at the center of the political duel.
Elachi was returned to the assembly by youths and MCAs allied to Governor Sonko but the two have since fallen out, following the entry of NMS into the fray.She argues that the hard stance she has taken is in the interest of Nairobi and to a larger extent,helps protect President Uhuru’s big four agenda.
She is accusing MCAs allied to Sonko for sabotaging the NMS but Sonko through his spokeperson Ben Mulwa, says that the speaker has been running the assembly like personal property, accusing her of misleading the NMS boss.
Office of the clerk
On Thursday, the supremacy battles at the assembly took a new twist after Clerk Jacob Ngwele managed to find his way back to office. Ngwele and Elachi do not see eye to eye and it was not surprising that on the day Ngwele thought he had pulled a first on her, she already had planned to swear in a new clerk.
In a virtual plenary session that was largely protested by MCAs opposed to her leadership, the assembly approved one Edward Gichana as the new clerk and was later sworn in. On Thursday morning, Ngwele landed in the assembly armed with court orders and buoyed by the company of ODM MCAs before they were joined by their counterparts from the Jubilee side
On Tuesday this past week, Elachi had unilaterally announced that the assembly will be closed and that all proceedings will be done virtually. Reports from local dailies indicate that she had predicted the return of Ngwele, after failing to reach agreement on the right person to replace him. The assembly had declared the position vacant.
Elachi insists that Ngwele has never been formally appointed as the clerk to the assembly since 2013 as his name was never tabled in the assembly for approval. However, Ngwele seems to enjoy the support of the court and investigatory agencies in the whole debacle; EACC after concluding its investigation concluded that the County Assembly Board had on June 10, 2014, resolved to absorb and confirm him as the clerk.
“Ngwele has come as a visitor. He is no longer the clerk and he has no orders to hold to say he is the clerk of the assembly. We are in court CBK agreed with us and said by the time we finalize recruiting the clerk we need to go back to court to tell them who is our clerk,” Elachi said.
The Speaker further disclosed that after the assembly’s board announced vacancy of the office of the clerk, an advertisement was made last month and only 11 people made it to the interview.
They included Ibrahim Ali, Joseph Lemakat , Ngige Gitau, nominated MCA Mbugua Kabiro and Evans Makori. Gichana, who is the head of internal audit and risk management at the Nairobi County Government emerged the winner.
Ngwele has defended his return saying that he has letters from both the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the Ethics and Anti-corruption (EACC) confirming his mandates as the authorized signatory of the assembly bank accounts.
“After being cleared by the Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (EACC) and letter from CBK confirming my mandates, the MCAs today called me as their servant to serve them. I have come here today to serve the members since I am the CEO and I want to make sure that there is a continuation of service delivery at the assembly,” he said.
Ngwele further clarified that Elachi had gone ahead and ignored numerous court orders directing that he should be allowed to access his office.
MCAs opposed to changes in the office of the clerk have now warned the speaker against making unilateral decisions that could cripple the assembly. The MCAs who according to Elachi are advancing the agenda of Governor Sonko have threatened to take serious action if she does not take serious their position.
Nominated MCA Sylvia Museiya told Elachi to obey court orders as the MCAs respected her return to the assembly last year in October. She said Ngwele was reinstated as a result of a court order and so was Elachi when she was impeached in 2018.
“Elachi is causing a lot of havoc in this assembly and the entire County Government. We have a record 18 cases of infighting between the speaker, MCAs, the Governor and the majority leader because she does not respect court orders. She has two letters from Jubilee informing her of leadership changes but she has refused to obey. Ngwele is our clerk and is going nowhere, he is here to stay,” Museiya said.
Utalii Ward’s Wilson Ochola, an ODM member insisted that the Office of the Speaker should respect the MCAs “We are tired of funny things happening in the assembly. It has come to point where we are referred to as goons. She should respect MCAs just as she expects we do the same,’ he said.
He said MCAs have no time to impeach the speaker and the assembly should work as one as 2020 general elections approach. Waithaka ward MCA Anthony Kiragu accused the speaker of name dropping President Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga and other senior Government officials in