Nairobi Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi did ride some very turbulent waves in 2018.
Her impeachment stands out saliently as the highlight of her short career at City Hall this year.
The drama surrounding the protracted impeachment made good fodder for gossip columnists, with MCAs hurling expletives at her in a physical confrontation to get her out of office.
Voted in favour
It all started in September when the Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favour of the impeachment.
Ms Elachi had served for just one year. The bitter feud between her and the MCAs was made apparent when the MCAs stepped out of their way to amend the standing orders, in order to shorten the impeachment process.
Amid rising cheers at City Hall, 103 of the 122 assembly members voted to impeach her. Only two MCAs voted to keep her. Two others abstained, while the rest were not present during the voting.
A day before the vote, 108 MCAs had signed a petition calling for Elachi’s ouster, which meant the constitutional threshold of 85 members had been achieved.
Elachi’s removal from one of the most powerful and coveted seats at City Hall was endorsed so unanimously by Jubilee Party and Opposition members, which clearly painted the disdain the assembly had developed for her.
A Motion tabled by Waithaka MCA Anthony Kiragu listed the various constitutional violations the former Jubilee nominated senator was alleged to have made.
The assembly accused her of contravening the Leadership and Integrity Act 2012.
Besides, she was also accused of violating the Powers and Privileges Act, 2017.
The violations were surrounded by tales of conflict of interest, undermining the authority of the county assembly service board, abuse of office, gross misconduct and failure to show leadership.
“We regret that the conduct of Beatrice Elachi, through her actions and omissions, has caused the assembly great embarrassment and brought the office of the Speaker into disrepute, which is contrary to the laws that govern the conduct of State officers of her calibre.
“Therefore, this assembly resolves to sanction and remove Elachi... pursuant to Section 11 of the County Governments Act, 2012,” said Mr Kiragu.
The MCAs accused Elachi of threatening and bullying city hall staff to have someone close to her win a tender for the purchase of the Speaker’s residence.
They asserted that the house was valued at Sh100 million, but she had quoted Sh125 million.
The tender has since been re-floated, and bids received.
The MCAs also alleged that Elachi undermined 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’s.
The MCAs claimed Elachi misused public funds on a visit to Dubai that was meant for her to receive an honorary degree from an unknown university called the London Graduate School.
Sh1.5 million ticket
They claimed the questionable degree was a ploy by Nigerian fraudsters that led to Elachi losing Sh550,000 of taxpayers’ money.
“She demanded payment through intimidation. She improperly and unprocedurally worked to have the public fund her deceptive personal travels, which was against the law,” read the impeachment Motion.
The MCAs also claimed she bought a first class ticket to Texas at Sh1.5 million last May 23 in contravention of regulations on travel, which demand that all officers go for business class.
The real drama, however, happened days after the vote, when MCAs stormed Elachi’s office to eject her.
Amid the confrontation, Elachi thought it wise to pepper spray the MCAs. One of the MCAs, Mary Njambi, was captured on camera getting sprayed. Her words have now become memorable.
“Wewe kama speaker unawezaje wekea maMCAs wako ‘firi firi’ kwa macho? Si hio ni criminal?"