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Goons invade assembly after MCAs reject county executive nominees

By Olivia Odhiambo | Published Thu, October 5th 2017 at 00:00, Updated October 4th 2017 at 22:58 GMT +3
Siaya County Assembly Speaker, George Okode and members of the appointment committee in the chambers after a group of hooligans took them hostage after they rejected a list of Governor Cornell Rasanga's appointees.[Photo: Olivia Odhiambo/ Standard]

Police are looking for goons who raided the county assembly and held MCAs hostage for hours for rejecting nominees to the county executive.

The youths, armed with crude weapons, stormed the chambers on Tuesday after learning that the vetting panel had rejected nine of Governor Cornel Rasanga's nominees.

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Panel members said the nominees were turned away either because they had integrity issues or failed to meet academic and professional requirements. The rejections mean Mr Rasanga must go back to the drawing board to constitute his cabinet.

In what appeared to be an organised attack, the youths first surrounded the county assembly before storming in.

They accused some MCAs of being behind "a plot to reject Rasanga's nominees" to achieve selfish ends.

The police had to be called in to rescue the MCAs, Speaker George Okode, journalists and members of the public.

An agitated Mr Okede accused unnamed MCAs of leaking information about the rejection of the nominees.

"I am very disappointed this evening. The youths' reaction shows some members must have leaked information about what we were doing. They did not have to put our lives in danger like this," said Okode.

The speaker called on the Senate and the police to investigate the matter and arrest those behind the attack.

He said the House would not be forced to accept nominees who failed the interviews.

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"I am ready to face the consequences of the decision we have made. It is absurd that people can pay goons to invade the county assembly and attack MCAs for doing their work," Okode said.

Only one out of the 10 nominees, Mary Omondi, who is hoping to be the education minister, qualified.

"Only Ms Omondi's academic qualifications matched the portfolio she was nominated for," said Usonga MCA Sylvester Madialo.

The other nominees were Nicholas Kut (Agriculture), Dismas Wakla (Public Service), Jaoko Oburu (Tourism, Sports and Culture), George Amenya (Public Works and Roads), Dorothy Owino (Health), George Rubik (Water and Irrigation), Elizabeth Odhiambo (Enterprise), Adrian Ouma (Physical Planning) and Joseph Ogutu (Finance).

Mr Madialo, who is a member of the vetting panel, told the House they had asked the governor to ensure that nominees' qualifications matched their portfolios.

In a report, the MCAs asked Rasanga to begin the nomination process afresh.

Omondi has a bachelor's degree in education and an Executive Master of Arts in leadership and policy.

Rasanga contracted Log Associates to interview nominees. But the MCAs were unhappy with the decision to hire a consultant when the County Public Service Board could have done the job.

They accused the governor of picking the nominees without following due process. Okode said Log Associates would be held accountable for wasting taxpayers' money by conducting illegal interviews.

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