Stand-off at Nairobi County Assembly over Jubilee changes, budgetary allocations
By JOSPHAT THIONG'O and CYRUS OMBATI | June 26th 2020
Nairobi MCAs barricaded themselves in the County Assembly on Wednesday night as leadership wrangles between two factions escalated.
Members allied to Speaker Beatrice Elachi and another group supporting Majority Leader Abdi Guyo are locked in a standoff.
The group of MCAs allied to Elachi spent the night at the assembly in order to bar the other team from assuming office.
Guyo had been reinstated to the position by the party alongside Deputy Majority Leader Peter Wanyoike, Majority Whip Paul Kados and his deputy Waithera Chege.
Rival MCAs who tried to access the assembly precincts yesterday morning were denied entry. There was heavy police presence around the area as the row, also over the 2020/2021 budgetary allocations set to be approved by the house next week, intensified.
The showdown came just a day after Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphel Tuju on Wednesday confirmed the Guyo-led team as the substantive office bearers and warned of disciplinary action against those who did not obey the changes.
In a separate letter to Elachi, Tuju had also communicated that the interim leadership comprising MCAs Charles Thuo, June Ndegwa, Millicent Mugadi and Hassan Abdikadir had been discharged from their leadership roles effective May 28, 2020.
Ms Ndegwa yesterday said the MCAs who spent the night at the assembly had caught wind of a plan by their rivals to report to the House early Thursday morning in order to block the rest from accessing the precincts.
She claimed the rival faction was intent on occupying office and then amending the Budget estimates in favour of Governor Mike Sonko without the input of the entire House and that is why they took the drastic action.
“The pro-Sonko team wants the Budget allocated to the Nairobi Metropolitan Service split by half and their plan was for to come to the assembly early and block the rest of us so that they can make the amendments to the estimates before they are tabled next week,” said Ndegwa.
The first time MCA also claimed that goons allied to the rival faction had arrived at the assembly precincts as early as 4 am with the intention of getting the Guyo-led team into the office and barricading the entrance so that the rest of the MCAs could not access the assembly. Their efforts, she said, were however scuttled after police showed up and dispersed the group and arrested embattled county clerk Jacob Ngwele.
However, 56 MCAs allied to Guyo, who is the Matopeni MCA, yesterday accused Elachi of denying them entry into the county assembly. They also accused their rival MCAs of inviting goons into the assembly and pretending that they were under siege on Wednesday night until Thursday morning.
“On Wednesday night, 12 MCAs invited 60 goons into the assembly and faked a siege until morning and pretended we had attacked them. They did this because they do not want leadership officials appointed by Jubilee party to take over the office,” said Waithaka Ward MCA Anthony Kiragu.
Speaking at Sagret Hotel after the morning incident, the MCAs claimed that Elachi had handpicked a few Jubilee and NASA members to reach the quorum of 42, the maximum number of MCAs allowed into the assembly due to Covid-19 and with whom they were controlling the Budget-making process without input from the entire House.
At the same time, other Jubilee MCAs have also accused Elachi of kicking them out of committees. Mutheu Musyimi, the MCA of Mlango Kubwa Ward says she was removed from the Transport Committee last week without a written explanation. [Additional reporting by Gloria Aradi]
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