Western county assemblies set to hold first sittings, elect speakers

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa (left) with his deputy Ayub Savula shortly after taking their oath of office, September 2022. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

County assemblies in Western are expected to hold their first sittings this week following the gazettement of nominated MCAs.

Kakamega, Vihiga and Bungoma will have their first sittings on Wednesday. It is on this day that MCAs are also expected to elect county assembly Speakers.

In Busia, Governor Paul Otuoma is expected to preside over the first county assembly sitting on Thursday.

The law provides that whenever new county assemblies are elected, the governors, through a gazette notice, shall appoint the place and date for the first sitting. On this day, the first business shall be the swearing-in of the members who will then elect the Speakers. The clerks shall preside over these events.

“I, Fernandes Odinga Barasa, Governor of Kakamega County, appoint that the first sitting of September 21, 2022, at 9am,” reads in part a gazette notice by the county chief.

This came as lobbying for the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker intensified in Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia counties.

Regional balance, party politics, and interests of individual governors, are some of the factors that will determine who gets which position across the four counties.

Vihiga County assembly clerk Ambaka Kilinga told The Standard that candidates eligible for the positions will be known after their nomination forms have been returned.

In Busia, assembly clerk Allan Mabuka said he will make public the names of candidates for the Speaker position today. “The election of Speaker will go on as planned, on Wednesday 21.”   

Those eyeing the Speaker position in the four counties have been meeting elected MCAs and senior county officials to lobby to be elected.

At least seven of those seeking the speaker’s seat in Vihiga come from Hamisi constituency. 

Elders from Hamisi say they are in the process of identifying the strongest of the candidates from the constituency.

“We have had meetings bringing together all the candidates to discuss the matter because we want the strongest of the candidates to occupy the office of speaker,” said one of the elders, Evans Anusu.

In Kakamega, the race has attracted former Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito, Brian Lishenga who was floored by Boni Khalwale of UDA. Khalwale recaptured the seat he held between 2013 and 2017.

In Bungoma, Ford Kenya controls the House with 20 out of the 45 elected MCAs. DAP-K has 10 while ODM, Jubilee, Maendeleo Chap Chap and United Democratic Alliance have one MCA each. Three are independent MCAs.