Chaos rocks City Hall as ward reps storm speaker's office

By Wainaina Wambu | Tuesday, Sep 11th 2018 at 00:00
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Ward reps storm the offices of Speaker Beatrice Elachi. [Beverlyne Musili, Standard]

Embattled Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi vowed to stay put even as ward reps yesterday stormed her office to evict her.

Ms Elachi was said to have left through the basement after police stepped in to save her from a quickly escalating situation characterised by teargas and shouting.

The ward reps clamouring to eject Elachi were led by both Jubilee Party and opposition MCAs.

Speaking to reporters before the ward reps barged in, Elachi linked her impeachment to her foreign trips.

Foreign trips

Elachi accused the assembly's majority leader of using the trips as a weapon to intimidate whoever failed to toe his line.

She claimed that ward reps had been threatened with withdrawal of foreign trips and committee posts to intimidate them into voting her out.

She claimed the ward reps duped her into gazetting a special sitting meant to discuss the 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products, which they turned into an impeachment session.

Majority Leader Abdi Guyo declared the speaker's seat vacant, saying members had overwhelmingly voted last week to impeach Elachi.

During the impeachment vote, 103 ward reps out of 122 voted in favour of the motion moved by Anthony Irungu (Waithaka ward).

The motion cited six grounds for Elachi's impeachment, including abuse of office.

“If your employer is not satisfied with your job and has sent you packing you've got no business to impose yourself,” said Mr Guyo.

Elachi had, however, been granted a reprieve by a Nairobi Court, which gave her temporary orders against the impeachment.

However, Guyo said the Supreme Court could not stop the process of a county assembly and that ward reps had duly followed the County Government Act.

"You cannot stay in a place where 98 per cent of people have no confidence in you," he said.

Elachi, who has occupied the speaker's position for a year, said her relationship with ward reps was largely about money.

"I want to plead with members that this is just about money, because if I had the money we would have had very good relationships," she said.

She also accused the ward reps of going against standing orders in the impeachment vote.

"I cannot force myself on Nairobians, but if I have done wrong the County Government Act is clear," she said.

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