Why Garissa County Assembly is restless

Dadaab ward representative Mohamed Abdi Farah when he took oath of office for majority leader position at Garissa County Assembly. [Abdimalik Hajir, Standard]

Dadaab ward representative Mohamed Abdi Farah when he took oath of office for majority leader position at Garissa County Assembly. [Abdimalik Hajir, Standard]

Backstabbing, betrayal, and favouritism on local and foreign trips are the reasons why the Garissa County Assembly is in turmoil, The Standard can report.

According to multiple sources within the Assembly, the current wrangles start and end at the corridors of the County lawmaking organ, disputing allegations that there could be external political forces.

The Standard has gathered that the dispute over leadership dates back to the start of the third Assembly and the elections of house leadership after a retreat in Mombasa and after taking oath of office.

While away in United Kingdom (UK), Abubakar Khalif who is also Galbet ward representative was stripped off his Majority Leader position, he was replaced by Dadaab ward representative Mohamed Abdi Farah.

Other changes saw Sankuri ward MCA Abdirahman Borr replaced by Abdirahman Muktar as the deputy Majority leader.

Ahmed Abdirahman Sheikh was made the Majority whip replacing Abdi Ibrahim while Timira Bashir was picked as the Deputy majority whip.

Mahat Abdikadir is the new County assembly service board member replacing Omar Abdi Hassan.

Chaos and pandemonium characterized sessions with ousted ward representatives accusing the speaker of hastening the process and disobeying court orders.

They claimed that they obtained an interim order staying the implementation of the decision and the declaration of the speaker.

The aggrieved MCAs shouted down the speaker to ‘respect court orders’ opening a floodgate of chaos and blows while others attempted to attack the speaker and others trying to snatch the mace.

In an interview, the Speaker Abdi Idle refuted claims that he had disobeyed court orders saying that by the time the order was served he had already made communication and elected ward reps assumed office.

“I have tremendous respect for the Judiciary and Court processes, but it should be understood that the court order was stopping my communication that I had already made regarding the house leadership changes,” he said.

The Speaker also noted that his office did not okay the trip to the UK as the procedure should be requested from the clerk and approved by the speaker.

“Am not a politician but an independent arbiter moderating debates, claiming that I’m partisan is totally unfair,” he said.

Dadaab ward representative Mohamed Abdi Farah who was defeated in the elections for the majority leader position in the inception of the third assembly, used an opportunity of silent murmurs of discordant within the assembly that the leadership of the assembly have been shortchanging and favouring others in foreign and local trips.

“He used the discordance of some ward representatives and mobilized his Azimio brigade to remove the majority leader and other leaders,” said a source who requested not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Abakaile ward representative Hajir Mohamed Dahiye confirmed to The Standard that those orchestrating the ouster used frictions and dissatisfactions within the assembly to their advantage, he was however quick to dismiss that the right procedure was not used.

“We have a court order staying the changes, and the speaker has completely turned a blind eye. We will be moving to court to seek further redress,” he told the standard yesterday.

Dahiye said the Assembly is the house of rules, and the speaker is bound to respect the rule of law and should not take sides in moderating members of the assembly.

The Azimio brigade were concerned about the position of Deputy Majority leader, which was assumed by UDM, a party they said is Kenya Kwanza coalition partner.

On his side, Dadaab MCA Farah termed chaos at the Assembly as unfortunate, defending taking up the majority leader position saying it was procedural.

“It’s a well-known fact that United Democratic Movement (UDM) is part and parcel of Kenya Kwanza and it’s not possible they take claimed positions reserved for Azimio,” said the third term Dadaab ward representative.

The ousted team led by Abubakar Khalif described the development as an illegal attempt orchestrated by a few members of the coalition saying they are going to fight for what is their rights.

“We have a letter from ODM against the changes and a court order but it seems all those are not being taken into consideration, we will be going back to the court,” he said.

Another concern that necessitated the changes according to ward representatives was lack of capacity building for various committees at the assembly.

“There was an issue of non-distinction between Azimio and Kenya Kwanza members and some members could take advantage and not attend sessions,” said another ward representative who declined to be identified fearing reprisal from his colleagues.

The ward representative claimed that the leadership changes were a done deal as there is evidence that members signed four different papers affirming the changes refuting claims of forged signatures.