Speaker barred from assembly despite orders

Speaker Catherine Mukenyang waits outside the West Pokot Couty Assembly gate. [Irissheel Shanzu, Standard]

Embattled West Pokot Speaker Catherine Mukenyang was stranded outside the county assembly premises after she was locked out by MCAs.

Mukenyang, who was impeached on September 7, had returned to the assembly on Tuesday after obtaining court orders from the High Court in Eldoret, which temporarily stayed the decision.

Drama started at the premises entrance after she arrived in an Administration Police vehicle escorted by police officers.

Mukenyang, armed with a court order, alighted from the vehicle expecting to be allowed in the chambers, but was barred by the sergeant at arms, who claimed they did not recognise the court order.

The Speaker pleaded with the assembly security officers to allow her access to the premises, but they declined. She spent more than 30 minutes pleading with the security team to let her into the chambers, to no avail. Some MCAs also told her to keep off the premises.

While speaking outside the House, Mukenyang said the High Court allowed her to continue serving as the Speaker, adding that she had not delegated duties. “I am still the Speaker officially and whatever they are doing is unlawful. The assembly is a house of law and they need to respect the court order,” she said.

She however said she could not use force to get access to the assembly, and vowed to go back to court for direction since the purported impeachment had been suspended.

Selina Longiro, a nominated MCA, defended Mukenyang, saying she should be allowed into the county assembly to preside over sessions since she had obtained a court order.

Mnangei MCA Benjamin Araule also said the chaos at the assembly was unnecessary. “The wrangles might extend afterwards. The management of the county assembly should obey the stay orders. If there are other issues they can be resolved; it’s not fair,” he said.

Mukenyang later left the county assembly in a private vehicle.

On September 7, the assembly approved an impeachment Motion tabled by Endow MCA Evanson Lomaduny and seconded by Kiwawa MCA Joseph Yarakwang. Up to 25 MCAs voted in favour of the Motion.

Mukenyang, when invited to defend herself, declined to appear before the assembly, claiming the MCAs failed to serve her the document Motion to enable her prepare her defence.

The MCAs claimed Mukenyang abused office by employing staff on contract without following due process.

They also claimed the embattled speaker embarked on early campaigns using county assembly resources, among other allegations.