Garissa MCAs fight over House leadership

 Drama ensued at Garissa County Assembly on Friday when two factions engaged in a near fist fight over who should occupy the office of Leader of Majority.

While away on official duty in the United Kingdom (UK), Abubakar Khalif who is also Galbet ward representative was stripped off his majority leader position.

He was replaced with Dadaab ward representative Mohamed Abdi Farah.

Other changes saw Sankuri ward MCA Abdirahman Borr replaced by Abdirahman Muktar as the Deputy Leader of Majority.

Ahmed Abdirahman Sheikh was made the Majority whip replacing Abdi Ibrahim while Timira Bashir was picked as the Deputy majority whip.

Mahat Abdikadir is the new County assembly service board member replacing Omar Abdi Hassan.

However, drama started when the aggrieved MCAs came with a letter from the Azimio Coalition and a court order stopping the change of guard and even physically attempted to access the office that was already occupied.

Khalif led the team, armed with a court order and other documents, which they had already served to the clerk and the speaker.

They stormed the office as they tried to force the other group out. They however stood their ground as Farah remained seated on the Leader of Majority’s seat.

The two sides then started shouting at each other with each side claiming to be legitimate, so heated was the argument that police had to come in and restore order.

As this was happening, the speaker Abdi Idle and the Assembly clerk Mohamed Santur were not in the vicinity.

Speaking to the press in the office, Farah who was flanked by several members allied to his camp said that the changes that were carried out were in accordance with the law.

He was reacting to allegations that the said changes were not sanctioned by the Azimio Coalition.

“It is important to note that the Assembly of Garissa is an autonomous institution and we have every right to do our own things so long as we follow the law. In this case we did everything right. There was no need to inform our coalition leadership,” he said.

However, speaking outside the office, the ousted team led by Khalif described the development as an illegal attempt orchestrated by a few members of the coalition.

“It is unfortunate that the speaker has stooped too low and has decided not to be a neutral arbiter but one who is siding with one camp. He oversaw the violation of rules and procedures of electing or having a new leadership,” he said.

“We went to court and obtained a court order which we have since served the relevant authorities including the clerk and the speaker unfortunately our colleagues have refused to follow the orders,” he said.

Khalif who was flanked by colleagues Hajir Dahiye (Abakaile), Abdirahman Borr (Sankuri) Omar Abdi (Damajaley) and Khatra Iman (Nominated) blamed the police for not enforcing the order.

“The sergeant at arms and the police should the enforcing this order. Unfortunately, they are nowhere to be seen. We are not in a banana republic where you wake up one day pick yourself to a certain position then you start bragging,” he said.

Dahiye (Abakaile) wondered how the whole exercise was carried out.

He said that unlike the normal procedure where a notice is made by the members in Garissa and the Azimio coalition which should then be communicated to members, nothing of the sort happened.

“We were surprised that when we went to the house, The Speaker decided to remove an envelope and read some resolutions that he said were from Azimio coalition purporting that we had changed our leadership. I can tell you that none of whatever he said took place,” he said.

On Thursday, in a letter dated September 7, and addressed to the Assembly speaker, signed by Azimio coalition Secretary Junet Mohamed and copied to all the MCAs who had been replaced, dismissed the new changes and instead said that the status quo remains.