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ODM withdraws MCAs from assembly committee amid feud with Jubilee

By Josphat Thiong'o | May 6th 2021
Nairobi County Assembly Minority Whip Peter Imwatok. [Samson Wire. Standard].

ODM has withdrawn all its members from the Nairobi County assembly watchdog committee amidst growing leadership wrangles with President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Party.

The withdrawal of membership from the powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) - held by the opposition, now threatens to cripple the assembly's oversight role over billions of shillings appropriated by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services and City Hall.

In a letter to Assembly Speaker Benson Muturi, Minority Whip Peter Imwatok accused Jubilee of allegedly meddling in the affairs of the committee by coercing and intimidating members to oust the PAC chair Wilfred Odalo.

‘‘It has come to my attention and that of the Minority leadership in the House that the members of the PAC have been intimidated and coerced by other members to endorse the purported removal of the current chairperson Wilfred Odalo," reads the letter in part.

He said the role of effecting changes from the minority side is vested in its leadership.

‘‘I regrettably invoke the Standing Order number 168 (1) and discharge the following members from serving as the members of PAC, Wilfred Oluoch, Moses Ogeto, Clarence Munga, Maurice Ochieng, Anne Caterine, Rose Ogonda, Lawrence Otieno, Peter Imwatok, Jared Okode,  Joan Muasya, Osman Khalif, Rosemary Masitsa," stated Imwatok as he de-whipped the ODM MCAs from the committee.

The Minority Whip claimed that Jubilee was plotting to destabilise the watchdog committee by introducing unnecessary changes and without following due process.

“As per the law, if any ODM member wants the PAC chairperson removed, then he/she must consult with the party leaders in the assembly. The Opposition party plays the watchdog role,” he said.

Imwatok claimed that the wrangles were being perpetuated by individuals out to protect corrupt individuals in the executive.

However, Jubilee MCAs led by Waithaka ward Representative Anthony Kiragu, termed the Minority Whip's decision inconsequential saying that majority of the committee members had lost faith in Odalo’s leadership.

“We are not going to be led by a person, who is accused of corruption and gross misconduct,” said Mr Kiragu noting that 16 out of a total 24 members of the committee had resolved to remove the chairperson.

The wrangles come against the backdrop of an earlier attempt by Jubilee and ODM MCAs to oust Imwatok as Minority Leader.

Interestingly, a section of MCAs have indicated that they have no confidence in his leadership.

They claimed that Imwatok was using the party’s name to advance his selfish interests.

But the Minority Leader said the allegations against him are a witch hunt as he has been vocal on corruption-related reports at City Hall.

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

The wrangles at the assembly point to ODM's struggle in dealing with errant members.


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