Migori MCA Stella Ombonya sits on the ground after getting injured during county assembly chaos on January 16, 2023. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

Members of the Kericho County Assembly recently engaged in fisticuffs on the floor of the house. The cause of the fight is said to have been disagreement on the composition of house committees.

The Speaker has since been summoned by the United Democratic Alliance leadership to explain why he failed to give direction on the matter of leadership in the assembly.

Monday this week, chaos broke out in the Migori County Assembly following disagreement on a motion tabled to remove some members from the County Public Service Board.

Last year, there were fights in the Wajir, Kakamega, Mombasa and Nyandarua county assemblies over leadership roles. Irked by the fights, President William Ruto castigated Kericho MCAs for fighting over leadership roles instead of doing what they were elected to do by the electorate.

Leadership and integrity

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission lend its voice to the condemnation by reminding MCAs that their constant fights are a violation of Chapter Six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity. Such unbecoming behaviour, needless to say, is an embarrassment to the national leadership as a whole.

Added to their endless squabbles with Governors over issues that can be solved through round table talks, fisticuffs among Members of County Assembly depict the former in very negative light. Yet, fights are the hallmark of our MCAs.

Like Members of Parliamentary, ward representatives were elected to legislate on matters affecting their respective jurisdictions. They have a duty to enact and pass laws as well as initiate development projects in their wards.

Their contract with the electorate does not include physical fights in the assembly halls. That is demeaning. 

The conclusion one draws from witnessing constant physical fights among elected leaders is that Kenyans  elected people who have serious challenges reasoning together like mature people with a view to finding a common ground on contentious issues.

Diverse opinions

It is unfortunate that MCAs have refused to outlive the bad traits that defined their predecessors; councilors. Good leaders must demonstrate tolerance to diverse opinions and restraint even under provocation.

To stop these ugly incidences that demean MCAs standing in the public eye, the County Assemblies Powers and Privileges Bill, 2014 sponsored by then Senator Kithure Kindiki should be revisited.

The Bill sought to make assault on each other, obstruction, molesting or causing injury to any other member of assembly, or forcing others through insults and coercion to either support or decline to support a motion in the chambers a crime punishable by law.

We are all governed by laws, and MCAs are no exception.