A nominated Kakamega MCA has been suspended for three months after insulting County Assembly Speaker James Namatsi.
Victoria Zillah Ungai of the Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) allegedly referred to the Speaker as a ‘coward’ on the assembly’s WhatsApp group.
She stands accused of being ‘disrespectful’ to Namatsi. Consequently, Ungai has been removed from the Speaker’s panel, the Committee of Finance and Economic Planning, and that of Implementation and Monitoring.
Part of her message on the WhatsApp group reads: “Hon Speaker, you removed me from the Speaker’s panel two months ago without notice or being served any letter. I am equally not interested in sitting in that panel.”
She further stated: “You appointed me without asking me, thinking that you would silence me with that position to stop questioning your conduct. You should know I am enjoying the freedom so that I can push for accountability without fear or favour.”
The assembly, which is currently on a long recess, was convened via a text message sent to members on Tuesday of last week, requesting their attendance at a plenary sitting scheduled for September 27 at the County Assembly chambers.
On the floor of the House, the Powers and Privileges Committee presented a report recommending the suspension of the nominated MCA.
- Kakamega: Health services in jeopardy over Sh27m debt and a court order
- 'Why we chose to put our girls on the pill'
However, fellow MCAs united to reject the tabling of the report, citing that they were not informed of its contents.
Nominated MCA Evelyn Shitandi, a member of the Powers and Privileges Committee, was prepared to present the report, but the present MCAs opposed the move.
Nevertheless, the Speaker proceeded to declare that the ‘recommendations’ in the report would be implemented, and the clerk would convey this decision within seven days. The nominated MCA was suspended on the same day via a letter from the County Assembly Acting Clerk, Esther Ariko, dated September 27.
“The Powers and Privileges Committee report recommended that you (Victoria) be suspended from the House for the remainder of the Second Session of the Third County Assembly,” read the letter in part.
The letter further states: “During the suspension period, you will be restricted from accessing the precincts of the county assembly and from using or enjoying the facilities provided to ward representatives. Upon resumption, you must offer an unconditional apology before being readmitted to the House.”
The clerk informed the MCA that her suspension was invoked under Standing Order 192(3).
The ward representative has protested the decision, contending that the Speaker’s ruling is null and void due to the lack of due process.
She has accused Namatsi of attempting to ‘intimidate’ her for advocating for accountability within the county assembly.
“I was not given a fair hearing, and I intend to take legal action to seek redress,” Ungai said on the phone.
“When a report is tabled, there must be a proposer and a seconder, which did not occur. The report was rejected and can only be reconsidered after six months or in the next assembly. What transpired was an illegality,” she said.
Butali/Chegulo ward MCA Kevin Mahelo echoed her sentiments, saying the decision to suspend the MCA is not anchored in law.