2020: The year that saw peaks and troughs in the Nairobi County Assembly - Beaking Kenya News

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Monday, 28 December 2020

2020: The year that saw peaks and troughs in the Nairobi County Assembly


Referred to the ‘House of Drama’, chaos and wrangles at the Nairobi County Assembly had become a tendency witnessed by the public.

In-house power battles and administrative issues seemed to be at the centre of the chaos witnessed in the assembly.

The chaos had not only marked with a bitter exchange of words among the legislators and broken furniture but had also been accompanied by teargas lobbed by police officers.

This year’s climax of drama was witnessed on July 28, 2020, when a section of MCAs had attempted to serve former county assembly speaker Beatrice Elachi with an impeachment notice.

The chaos witnessed saw Mlango Kubwa MCA Patriciah Mutheu spend the night at Nairobi Women's Hospital after police officers clobbered her at the assembly.

Former Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi.
SPEAKER: Former Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

Elachi’s resignation 

The drama soon culminated in the unexpected resignation of Beatrice Elachi as the Speaker of the County Assembly.

Her resignation on August 11, 2020, came at a time when she was in a protracted power battle with MCAs and had fallen off with the then Governor Mike Sonko over the supplementary bill that had allocated Sh15 billion to the Nairobi Metropolitan Service.

She also cited threats to her life and family also as part of the reasons for her resignation.

While tendering her resignation via a televised address Elachi said her resignation due to ‘ life-threatening incident’ that made her work untenable at the County Assembly.

Elachi, the first female speaker of Nairobi County Assembly had time to time found herself at loggerheads with a section of MCAs who even impeached her on September 6, 2017.

Despite her ouster, the court reinstated Elachi but she still kept away from the assembly only make a comeback on October 9, 2019, that was accompanied by teargas and chaos.

However, with the support of Governor Sonko and the Jubilee Party, Elachi managed to stay in office until August this year.

Minority leader Michael Ogada, who urged speaker Benson Mutura to be firm and not entertain ‘petty’ wars.
CALL FOR DECISIVENESS: Minority leader Michael Ogada, who urged speaker Benson Mutura to be firm and not entertain ‘petty’ wars.
Image: FILE

Change of leadership

Power battles have always been at the centre of wrangles in the assembly.

This year, we saw the comeback of former councillors becoming part of the Jubilee leadership of the county assembly 

Changes in the leadership of the Jubilee Party have always had been rocked with back and forth resistance and it took Secretary-General Raphel Tuju to communicate leadership changes three times following Elachi’s resistance to acknowledge the leadership.

Matopeni Ward rep Abdi Ibrahim Hassan alias Guyo proved his supremacy in 2020 by reclaiming back his Majority leader seat after being kicked out following Elachi’s comeback in October 2019.

Nairobi County Assembly Majority Leader Abdi Ibrahim Hassan
Nairobi County Assembly Majority Leader Abdi Ibrahim Hassan

His comeback saw Mihang’o MCA Paul Kados gain the Majority Whip position with his deputy Waithera Chege and Deputy Majority Leader Peter Wanyoike.

Guyo’s leadership saw this team kicked out of power and Dandora Area 3 MCA Charles Thuo losing the Majority leader’s seat he had attained in November 2019, Nominated MCA June Ndegwa lost the Majority Whip position and, Ziwani MCA Millicent Mugadi the Deputy Majority leader.

On the minority side, ‘Embakasi MCA Michael Ogada was placed by ODM Party as the Minority leader in August, kicking out Karen MCA David Mberia from the position.

Hospital MCA’s Patrick Musili lost the deputy majority leader position to nominated MCA Mellab Atema while her counterpart Catherine Okoth was placed as ODM party’s representative to the County Assembly’s board, kicking out Nairobi West MCA Maurice Gari.

Former Mayor and Baba Dogo MCA Geoffery Majiwa was also elected as the Deputy Speaker.

Embattled Nairobi county clerk Jacob Ngwele on July 23, 2020.
Embattled Nairobi county clerk Jacob Ngwele on July 23, 2020.

Ngwele’s exit

This year also marked the end of an era of Jacob Ngwele who had been serving as the County Assembly Clerk since 2013.

The rain started beating Ngwele after former Speaker Elachi made a comeback on October 9, 2020, and a month later he was kicked out of the assembly after a report was adopted to revoke his appointment.

Despite the court ‘saving’ him and recognizing him as the substantive clerk, Ngwele never accessed the assembly since November 2019.

After eight months, on July 23, 2020, Ngwele returned to clerk’s office after a court and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission ( EACC) affirmed he was in office legally.

However, he was finally ousted from the office after the Labour and Employment Court in October ruled that his appointment to the office was shrouded by irregularities.

Parties crack the whip on MCAs 

This year, Both Jubilee and ODM Party showed their interests in maintaining party discipline and position on matters as they moved in to tow the line of MCAs.

Amidst Sonko's impeachment and budget stalemate, Jubilee Party suspended three Sonko allied Nominated MCAs; Silvia Museiya, Millicent Jagero and Ann Thumbi from the party for six months.

They were also dewhipped for six from all the committees on the assembly.

On December 3, 2020, as MCAs impeached their Governor, ODM Party suspended 12 of its MCAs for a period of three to six months as well as dewhipped from committees.

The 12 MCAs ( both Nominated and Elected ) were also fined a total of Sh9.25 million over misconduct after disciplinary hearings 

The elected MCAs included David Okello (Huruma), Redson Otieno (Ngei), Jared Okode (Mathare North) and David Mbithi (Viwandani), Wilson Ocholla ( Utalii), Maurice Gari ( Nairobi West), Nicholas Okumu ( Lower Savannah) and Cecili Ayot ( Laini Saba).

The Nominated MCAs were Caroline Mayunzu, Millicent Akinyi, Hafsa Khalif and Nimo Haji.

Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura.
Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura.

New Speaker and Acting Governor

The year 2020 has been filled with events that will go down Nairobi’s history lane.

For one 48-year-old Benson Mutura (Former Makadara MP and Councilor), 2020 was a year full unexpected events.

Not being a new face in the Nairobi political arena, Mutura made a comeback at City Hall on August 14, 2020, after being elected as the third speaker of the county assembly.

This was after Elachi resignation from the seat.

Mutura was President Uhuru Kenyatta's fronted candidate and was voted by both Jubilee and ODM MCAs.

With the turn of events, within a span of four months, Mutura was made one of the most powerful figures in Nairobi.

Mutura was last week sworn in as Acting Governor of Nairobi County following Sonko's impeachment on December 17, 2020.

By this Nairobi becomes the first County to invoke the provisions of Article 182(5) of the Constitution following the vacancy that arose in the Office of the Governor of Nairobi City.

Mutura will act in the position until February 2021 when Nairobi’s gubernatorial by-elections will be held.

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