The Nairobi County Assembly has voted to impeach its speaker.
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Beatrice Elachi (pictured), has served for just one year.
Members of the assembly overwhelmingly voted to kick out the speaker but had to amend the standing orders to shorten the impeachment process.
Yesterday, 103 of the 122 members presented voted to impeach Ms Elachi amid cheers. Two members voted not to impeach her and two others abstained from the vote.
On Wednesday, 108 members had signed a petition calling for the speaker’s impeachment, which meant the constitutional threshold of 85 members had been met.
Elachi’s ouster from the seat of power took place in a record-setting full house attendance from both the Jubilee party and Opposition members.
A motion tabled by Waithaka MCA Anthony Kiragu listed various violations of the Constitution, Leadership and Integrity Act 2012, as well as the Powers and Privileges Act, 2017, as the reasons for the speaker’s ouster.
The alleged violations included conflict of interest, undermining the authority of the county assembly service board, abuse of office, gross misconduct as well as failure to show leadership.
“Regretting that the conduct of the Hon Beatrice Elachi, through her actions and omissions, has caused the assembly great embarrassment and brought the office of the speaker into disrepute, contrary to the gamut of laws on conduct of State officers of her calibre, this assembly resolves to sanction and remove the Hon Elachi... pursuant to Section 11 of the County Governments Act, 2012,” said Mr Kiragu.
The members accused Elachi of interference by threatening and bullying staff to have a party close to her win the award for the purchase of the residence of the speaker. They stated that the house was valued at Sh100 million, but she quoted Sh125 million. The tender has since been re-floated and bids received.
They also accused the speaker of undermining the authority of the county assembly service board by inviting investigators to probe alleged irregularities in procurement matters, which was a function of the board and not an individual decision.
Abuse of office or gross misconduct were also cited as factors for her ouster, where the MCAs indicated that Elachi misused public funds on a visit to Dubai, UAE, to allegedly receive an honorary doctorate degree from the ‘London Graduate School”, which is affiliated to a “Commonwealth University” .
They claimed that the questionable degree was a ploy by Nigerian fraudsters in what are commonly known as 419 Scams, but the speaker spent $5,500/ or roughly Sh550,000 of taxpayers money
“She procured payment by intimidation, improperly and unprocedurally to have the public fund her deceptive personal travels going against the law,” read the motion.
It was also stated that she bought a first class ticket to Texas, US, at Sh1.5 million on May 23, 2018 in contravention of regulations on travel, which demand that all officers travel business class.
She was also faulted for unprocedurally and frequently authorising police into the assembly precinct to arrest officers of the board.
The MCAs also cited Elachi’s repeated invitation of anti-graft agency and other investigatory agencies despite the existence of the committee on powers and privileges, which is meant to handle such cases.
Elachi has gone to court to challenge the impeachement, arguing that the members did not follow the right process in her ouster.
She denied inviting the anti-graft agency inviting and claimed that most members had been coerced into signing the petition to impeach her.