Members of staff and journalists were yesterday shocked when part of a session at the Nyeri County Assembly was conducted in mothertongue.
In a departure from the House tradition and against the Standing Orders, debate at the Roads and Infrastructure committee oscillated between Kikuyu and English to the surprise of those following the proceedings.
It is still not clear why members of the committee were allowed to speak in a language not recognised in the House, and how the proceedings were to be documented in the Hansard in such a form.
At one point Dedan Kimathi MCA Gibson Wahinya questioned the county executive for roads Muthui Kariuki in Kikuyu, while demanding an explanation on why 20 wards would not benefit from the two-kilometre murraming programme.
“Ni tutige kurituhia maundu, malorry macio matiraruta wira, nige mukurihia atia kilometre 1 millioni 1.5 na murrum itaiuma oguku kaunti? (Let us stop complicating issues. Those lorries are not working. How can we pay Sh1.5 million to put gravel one kilometre, yet the murram is being sourced from our county?” asked Wahinya.
As the debate generated heat, the Roads committee chair Clement Warutere tried to intervene, but fell into the same trap when he told Wahinya in vernacular to stick to either Kiswahili or English.
“Riu tiga kwaria Gikuyu committee-ini, Aria na githungu kana githweri. (Now stop using Kikuyu in the committee proceedings, use either English or Kiswahili,” he told Wahinya, to the amusement of many.
During the session, proceedings nearly turned chaotic when assembly members considered friends of the committee took over the session to demand answers from the CEC.
Majority Whip Watson Weru had to seek the intervention of the chair to help quell tempers.
“I would like members who do not belong to this committee to recognise that as friends of the committee, you should be directing your questions through the chairperson. Please follow procedure,” Mr Warutere pleaded.
While the sitting proceeded, it emerged that road equipment purchased in 2014 by the previous government at a cost of Sh110 million were no longer working, forcing the county to hire machinery from the national Government for the road works.
The road repair equipment, which included four graders, two excavators, one roller and one low loader, had broken down, most of them being beyond repair.
“As your committee knows, the equipment we inherited from the previous government were in bad shape. Actually, we had to fix two of the graders, while we hired the rest of the equipment from Public Works Department,” Muthui said.
He told the assembly that the county had an agreement with National government’s Public Works Department to hire equipment at a cost of Sh27 million to build at least two kilometres of murram road per ward.
Deputy Speaker Samuel Kariuki insisted the county should purchase its own equipment.