Elachi told to ignore impeachment plans as 'gossip and media hype' - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Elachi told to ignore impeachment plans as 'gossip and media hype'

Embattled Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi

Speaker Beatrice Elachi has been told to treat as "rumours, gossip and media hype" the impeachment plans against her and continue executing her duties unhindered.

The advisory from acting clerk Pauline Akuku came amid reports that the number of ward representatives hankering for her removal had by Tuesday reached 77.

Akuku, in her July 29 advisory, said her office had not received any notice of motion for the removal of the speaker and told Elachi to ignore any “purported” impeachment plans.

“I wish to clarify that you (speaker) ignore any media reports suggesting that a notice of motion for your removal from office was issued and that you are curtailed from performing the functions of your office,” she said.

Akuku is a beneficiary of last month's creation of two deputy clerk's positions by the County Assembly Service Board.

She is in charge of administration while the other deputy clerk heads the legislative services docket.

Elachi said the new positions will ensure assembly work will not stall "because of dispute with the holder of the position of the clerk".

Akuku said the letter issued by embattled clerk Jacob Ngwele suspending the speaker was written on a letterhead which had been phased out by the county assembly following increased incidents of falsification of documents and as such it "borders on forgery".

Members of County Assembly are sharply divided on the Elachi impeachment issue.

Those pushing the impeachment agenda said yesterday that 77 of them had appended their signatures for the second removal of the former nominated senator.

“Plans are still on and we are being guided by the law. The house has not adjourned and the speaker cannot purport to have adjourned (it) because it has to be done by members,” South B MCA  Waithera Chege said.

“As far as we know, the assembly is in session and has a calendar to be followed. The house is supposed to break for recess on August 13,” Waithera said, adding that Elachi has no power to suspend the house sittings since "she is suspended".

But the speaker maintains she is firmly in office. “I have not seen any notice of (impeachment) motion. I have only seen a letter from Ngwele using a letterhead that is not from the assembly. And even if the speaker was suspended, the deputy speaker should be chairing the proceedings.”

Last week, Elachi adjourned the house until next month, indicating that the “current environment at the assembly cannot allow for operation of virtual sittings”. This was in reference to attempts by MCAs and "goons" to disrupt the sittings.

She invoked Standing Order No 1 which gives her the liberty to adjourn the House in special circumstances. She used the same order last year in October when chaos erupted in the assembly following her comeback.

Chaos erupted last week on Tuesday after some MCAs and Ngwele (he was making his return to City Hall) were blocked by the police from serving Elachi with the notice of impeachment motion.

Elachi and Ngwele fell out in early 2018. In the September of that year, MCAs impeached the speaker but a court reinstated her in October 2019.

The feud resurfaced soon after the return of Elachi. She sent Ngwele on compulsory leave to give room for investigations over alleged sabotage of the assembly.

An ad hoc committee of the assembly revoked his appointment on the grounds of gross violation of Section 18(2) of the County Assembly Services Act.

He went to court and got a reprieve in November 2019. In the meantime, Elachi had appointed and swore-in Edward Gichana as the county clerk.

However, the Employment and Labour Relations Court on July 27 suspended the appointment.

Early last month, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission affirmed that Ngwele is in office legally. The Central Bank also acknowledged his position as the clerk in a letter to Elachi, who had tried to remove him as a signatory to the assembly’s accounts.

In another turn of affairs, both Gichana and Ngwele have been suspended pending the determination of a case before the Employment Labour and Relations court.

Akuku said that with the suspension of Gichana, she had assumed the functions of the office of the Clerk since the deputy clerk in charge of the legislative affairs has been interdicted.

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