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The State House meeting that sealed Elachi’s fate as Speaker

By Josphat Thiong’o | August 12th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

On Friday July 31, as the nation celebrated Idd-ul-Azha, with plenty of goat eating, a meeting was underway at State House, which seemingly would seal the fate of Beatrice Elachi (pictured), as Nairobi County Assembly Speaker. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta had hosted 41 Jubilee MCAs for the two-hour long meeting to address the leadership crisis at City Hall and help forge a good working relationship with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to better service delivery for the electorate.

The meeting came days after chaos had rocked the Assembly when a number of MCAs tried to forcefully serve Elachi with a notice of Motion for her impeachment.

In attendance at the meeting, which started at about mid-day, were MCAs from the majority Jubilee Party, led by reinstated Majority Leader Abdi Guyo, deputy Majority Leader Peter Wanyoike, Majority Whip Paul Kados and deputy Majority Whip Waithera Chege.

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Guyo is a fierce critic of the Speaker, who had to fight a faction allied to Elachi to regain the Majority Leader position.

Waithera, the South B MCA, was earmarked as the mover of the impeachment Motion against the Speaker.

Neither Elachi nor MCAs allied to her were present at the State House meeting.

Yesterday, Waithera said she had collected 76 signatures in favour of the Motion to send Elachi home.

Roysambu MCA Peter Warutere, a close ally of the Governor, yesterday declared they would still continue with the Motion to impeach Elachi to seal any loophole for her comeback, especially given the procedure of her resignation was disputed.

“We spoke with the President and he listened to us and acted accordingly. There are claims that Elachi did not follow due process in tendering her resignation, but we are going to impeach her even if she has resigned, so that we can seal off any loophole of her ever coming back. This time she will not catch us by surprise,” said Warutere. 

Elachi addressed her resignation letter to the President instead of the County Assembly clerk.

Sources said the constant fighting between Governor Mike Sonko and Elachi, which had divided the House and a way forward to ensure that the NMS was able to achieve its mandate with the help of the MCAs featured at the State House talks.

The MCAs reportedly said they could no longer work with Elachi and sought the president’s intervention.

They said the supremacy wrangles pitting Elachi against Sonko were crippling the Assembly. The latest turf wars between the governor and NMS Director General Mohammed Badi had deepened the crisis at City Hall, they added.

“We were summoned by President Uhuru Kenyatta almost two weeks ago so that we could deliberate on the fate of the County Assembly, given the constant wrangles that had forced the national government to intervene,” said a source who attended the meeting.

“We met the President and made him understand that Elachi was the problem at the Assembly since she was acting contrary to assembly procedure,” said the MCA.

“What you are seeing happening today (Elachi’s resignation) is a consequence of that meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who at the time told us he would solve Nairobi’s problems in two weeks,” he added.

The MCA insisted that Elachi did not resign on her own volition. “After deliberations, she was directed to resign,” claimed the MCA. 

Another MCA said it was also agreed that Uhuru would have a free hand in nominating another Speaker.

The Speaker is elected by the Assembly but the majority party has influence on who takes over the seat, as members are whipped to support the party’s candidate.

“The President also revealed to us that he had held three other meetings with Governor Sonko and Gen Badi to ensure the dispute between them was solved once and for all,” said another MCA.

The State House meeting was confirmed by two other MCAs who were in attendance. 

Yesterday, Elachi announced her resignation citing a charged, poor working environment characterised by chaos, threats and constant fighting. She blamed Sonko for the woes bedeviling the capital.

She handed over to her deputy John Kamangu, who will be the acting Speaker pending the appointment of a new substantive one within 14 days.

“I leave with my head high because the last time I left my head was down. Of most importance is my political career. I now head where the politics is. I am going back to my Dagoretti North,” said Elachi.

“To Governor Mike Sonko, you should focus on God. Stop threatening people’s lives, children and even families for it does not help. If you can’t work with the deputy Speaker then there’s something wrong. You cannot have everything my governor,” Elachi added.

Prior to her resignation, Elachi was under siege as MCAs had mooted a fresh plot to impeach her for a second time, alongside her deputy Kamangu.  

The first time she was impeached she obtained court orders and held onto her office, although she stayed out of City Hall for a year.

Waithera yesterday said her Motion to oust Elachi was popular among MCAs.

“Elachi has no power to nominate Kamangu to act as the Speaker yet he is also facing impeachment. We will nominate another substantive Speaker and a deputy within the stipulated time frame,” said Waithera. 

Imara Daima MCA Kennedy Obuya welcomed Elachi’s resignation, saying it was long overdue and had saved the House from impeaching her a second time.

“Elachi was leading the House from the spirit of divide and she was also constantly involved in the abuse of office. All stakeholders should now come together and work for the city of Nairobi,” said Obuya.

Nairobi West MCA Maurice Gari said the impeachment Motion was necessary so as to ensure democracy at the city assembly.

Elachi’s stint at City Hall has been characterised by wrangles and impeachments given her love-hate relationship with Sonko.

The Speaker’s resignation has lifted the lid on her long running battles with clerk Jacob Ngwele for the control of the County Assembly.

Elachi’s decision not to submit her resignation letter to the clerk of the Assembly and instead address it to President Uhuru Kenyatta, contrary to procedure, has raised eyebrows and once again cast the bitter relationship with the clerk’s office into the limelight.

Bring confusion

MCAs are now accusing her of trying to bring confusion to the assembly by interfering with the operations of the office of the clerk.

They noted that deputy clerk Adah Onyango, who had been interdicted by the assembly, was reinstated on Monday and should assume office in acting capacity.

Meanwhile, Jubilee Party has summoned eight Nairobi MCAs to appear before the disciplinary committee on Thursday over misconduct.

Those summoned are the acting Speaker Kamangu, Millicent Mugambi (Ziwani) Jeremiah Karani (Kayole Central) and Charles Thuo (Dandora Three)

The others are nominated MCAs June Ndegwa, Joyce Kamau, Susan Makungu and Margaret Mbote.

According to party chairman Nelson Dzuya, the MCAs have been accused of conducting themselves in standards that go against the party as per the party Constitution.

Beatrice Elachi Jubilee Party City Hall
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