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Business comes to a halt as ward reps resort to fistcuffs

NYANZA
By Harold Odhiambo | February 20th 2019

Chaos erupted at Kisumu County Assembly yesterday following the removal of the assembly’s budget chairperson.

Blows were exchanged, as a section of MCAs opposed to the swearing-in of Central MCA Judith Ogaga as the new chairperson made a futile attempt to block the process.

At one point, one of the MCAs grabbed the mace and attempted to run with it outside the assembly. He was, however, tackled by the sergeant-at-arms.

Tensions began to rise when a group led by Majority Leader Kenneth Onyango questioned the process that led to the removal of the budget chairperson.

They also protested about an Order Paper that had been presented before the House and accused Speaker Onyango Oloo of dictating operations at the assembly.

During the afternoon session, tension intensified when the new Budget chairperson took the microphone to take oath.

The disgruntled MCAs shouted and approached her, forcing the Speaker to suspend sittings for about 15 minutes.

When the assembly reconvened, Ms Ogaga took the oath as the assembly orderlies kept the MCAs opposed to the change of leadership at bay.

According to the Majority Leader, the process of removing the Budget chairperson was not in accordance with the law. “We are not opposed to the removal of the Budget chairperson, but we cannot accept when things are not done in accordance with the law,” said Mr Onyango.

He claimed the move was a ploy to serve particular interests and said members of the ODM Party would not participate in any House business until order was restored.

Steve Owiti, who lost the Budget chairmanship, said he was not voted out by members of his committee.

He said he was dislodged due to his uncompromising stance against impunity and his committee’s rejection of a raft of proposals, including the allocation of Sh200 million for the construction of new assembly premises.

“The process of removal includes presentation of a petition. This was never done,” said Mr Owiti.

Mr Oloo, however, said the assembly leadership got communication that the Budget Committee decided to change its leadership.

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