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Elachi to sue Assembly for ‘defamation’ after staff promotions report

By Josphat Thiong'o | October 29th 2021

Former Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi speaking at a women's leaders meeting to drum up support for BBI. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

A legal battle is taking shape between Gender CAS Beatrice Elachi and the Nairobi County Assembly over the legality of staff promotions carried out during her tenure as speaker.

On Friday Ms Elachi vowed to sue MCAs over what she termed as defamation following an incriminating report by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee which indicted her, terming the promotions illegal.

In its report approved by the House on Tuesday, the committee said as chairperson of the Nairobi City County Assembly Service Board (NCCASB), she violated the law by usurping the powers of the board and acting unilaterally in creating, advertising, promoting and filling positions within the service.

The committee then declared the promotions null and void and invited investigative authorities to probe the same.

But in a rejoinder, Elachi defended herself saying the MCAs did not follow the law in declaring the promotions illegal. She said there was a court order gagging the committee from carrying out the probe on promotions.

She also added that the assembly had singled her out as acting “rogue” yet the promotions were carried out following the consent of the board and subsequent approval by the assembly. She argued that the action of the board should not be singularly blamed on the chairperson.

“I have asked my lawyers to go to court for defamation. The county assembly has continuously discussed me on the floor of the house despite my exit and they continue to defame me by saying things that are not true,” said Elachi.

“It is unfortunate that the political leadership is engaging in personal politics which will erode the institution. They have gone to the extent of slinging falsehoods on the floor of the house. Everything I did in that assembly was in accordance with the law,” she added.

Elachi said current clerk Adah Onyango – who is serving in acting capacity- had no powers to demote staff as that is the reserve of a substantive clerk.

The former speaker also castigated the MCAs for what she termed double standards, claiming that as soon as they (MCAs) nullified the promotions done during her tenure, they promoted “their preferred members of staff without following laid down channels.”

“It is not right that the MCAs chose to nullify some promotions carried out during my tenure and uphold others. They would have then nullified all the promotions,” said Elachi.

A letter in possession of Saturday Standard shows 10 members of staff were on October 25, 2021 recommended for promotion by acting clerk Adah Onyango, a day before the promotions during Elachi’s tenure were nullified.

In the letter to Director Human resource Robert Situma, Mr Adah however said the recommendations for promotions had been made following a meeting by the board on August 4, 2021.

“…the following officers have served in their current positions for three years and above and are eligible for promotion within the common establishment cadre as indicated in the table below,” read the letter in part.

At the same time, Elachi emphasised that with regards to the promotions, she was finishing a promotion process initiated by the late Alex Magelo, her predecessor.

Current Assembly Speaker Benson MUtura said the inquiry was a committee issue and being a parliamentary session, the assembly was at liberty to debate on issues brought before the house

“If there is any reservation, the court is at liberty to make a ruling and direct if the committee deliberations are in contradiction of the constitution. But you cannot gag the committee from doing its work,” he said.

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