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County Assembly defies ODM, as wrangles continue

By James Omoro | Published Wed, February 7th 2018 at 00:00, Updated February 7th 2018 at 00:24 GMT +3
Homa Bay MCAs address journalists at a Homa Bay town hotel over fighting which broke during a special sitting on January 29, 2018. [Photo by James Omoro/Standard]

Wrangles continued to mar the operations of county assembly committees as MCAs differed over key positions.

The standoff heightened even after the Orange Democratic Movement's national chairman, John Mbadi, told the assembly leadership to end the rows that saw the MCAs fight in the chambers last week.

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Mr Mbadi wrote to the county assembly speaker, Elizabeth Ayoo, warning against misusing the party's name to oust some committee chairmen and their vice chairmen.

He argued that the party had not given any directions on the removal of the committee leaders, as Ms Ayoo had claimed on Monday last week.

He told the assembly leadership to resolve the wrangles quickly for better service delivery to the people.

But on Monday evening, a discussion on the employment of pre-school teachers and bursary distribution by the assembly education committee almost aborted after the MCAs clashed.

The meeting was marred by confusion and an exchange of words when a section of the committee members protested after their chairman, James Ochieng, was locked out of the meeting.

Instead, West Kasipul MCA John Mireri appeared in the committee as the chairman.

But a section of members, including Okuku Miregi (Rusinga), Julius Gaya (Central Karachuonyo), Joan Ogada (Kojwach), Michael Nyang’i (Kochia), and Paul Wamunga, vowed not to allow Mr Mireri to chair the meeting.

Education committee

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Trouble started when Ms Ogada complained that Mireri was chairing the wrong meeting because he was not a member of the education committee.

“I am seeing a stranger here purporting to be the committee chairman. Nobody in this room was elected committee chairman,” said Ogada.

Miregi demanded to know how and when Mireri becomea chairman of the education committee without the knowledge of MCAs.

But Mireri replied that he was the genuinely elected chairman though he could not say when he was elected.

“Stop calling me purported chairman. I am chairing this meeting in an official capacity,” said Mireri.

The MCAs demanded that Mr Ochieng’, who had been locked out of the meeting, be allowed in.

Mr Gaya claimed that the wrangles were orchestrated by the county assembly management because it had refused to accept the truth.

“We cannot have an assembly where an individual wakes up and decides who should chair a committee. The leadership of this county assembly views those who tell them the truth as a threat,” said Gaya.

Service delivery

According Wamunga, the wrangles would jeopardise service delivery to the people of Homa Bay.

“Many children in this county need educational services yet we are still unable to deliberate on employment of teachers and distribution of bursary. This will cause suffering to our electorate,” said Wamunga.

The MCAs urged the Orange party to intervene to resolve the conflict.

“Mbadi’s letter indicated that the performance of the assembly would reflect the performance of the party because 58 of 60 of us are ODM members. This will have a negative image of the party, hence it should intervene,” Gaya said.