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ODM de-whips three Nairobi MCAs from committees

By Josphat Thiong'o | May 12th 2021

ODM Party (Chungwa House) headquarters in Nairobi. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

ODM has de-whipped three MCAs from committees at Nairobi County Assembly as wrangles with the Jubilee party intensify.

ODM has removed MCAs Lawrence Otieno (Sarang’ombe), Clarence Munga (Kabiro) and Jared Okode (Mathare North)  from  Nairobi County Assembly committees.

While Mr Otieno was de-whipped from Trade and Water committees, Okode was removed from Transport, Planning and Culture committees, and Munga from Implementation, ICT, Culture and Trade committees.

The trio has been accused of going against the party position and colluding with Jubilee MCAs to vote for the removal of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Wilfred Odalo (ODM).

They are said to have signed a petition to oust Mr Odalo despite the Orange party warning against it. Another 12 Jubilee MCAs had signed the ouster petition.

The de-whipping of the MCAs was communicated by ODM Minority Whip Peter Imwatok through a letter to Speaker Benson Mutura.

In the letter dated May 5, Mr Imwatok stated that the three MCAs had been discharged from the committees as per Standing Order 168 (1) after being accused of misconduct.

“This is due to the reported gross misconducted namely, coercing and intimidating members to go against the party position and house leadership,” read the letter in part.

Standing Order 168 (1) states that the county assembly party that nominated a member to a select committee, may give notice, in writing, to the Speaker that the member is to be discharged from a select committee.

The development comes after ODM removed 12 members from the PAC in a move aimed at jeopardising oversight of the watchdog committee.

The Raila Odinga-led party last week accused Jubilee of allegedly meddling in the affairs of the committee by coercing and intimidating members to oust the PAC chair Odalo.

The move was seen as a knee-jerk reaction to the decision by Highrise MCA Kennedy Oyugi to begin the process of impeaching Imwatok as the Minority Whip claiming that he was “abusing his position for selfish gain.”

Mr Oyugi claimed he collected signatures from 32 ODM-affiliated ward reps in support of Imwatok's ouster.

But in a rejoinder, the Minority Whip removed the 12 ODM MCAs -himself included- from the committee to paralyse its operations.

He said the allegations against him are a witchhunt as he has been vocal on corruption-related reports at City Hall.

A fortnight ago, Imwatok invited the Director of Criminal Investigations and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate circumstances under which the county paid more than Sh400 million to suspect law firms.

He was supported by Minority Leader Michael Ogada who said that anyone agitating for the removal of Odalo was doing so contrary to the party’s directive.

“Anybody collecting signatures purporting to remove the minority whip and PAC chair is doing it against ODM party. The exercise has not been sanctioned by the party,” he said.

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