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MCAs challenge new law allowing voters to recall them for poor performance

By Paul Ogemba | July 30th 2020

Members of County Assemblies are up in arms against a new law that makes it easy for voters to recall them.

The ward representatives from all the 47 counties have filed a petition in the High Court challenging the County Governments (Amendment) Act, 2020, which was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta on July 9, claiming it is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Through lawyer Charles Kanjama, the MCAs want orders stopping the implementation of Section 9 of the Act which has provisions for recalling incompetent and troublesome MCAs.

“The new law provides for different standards in recalling MCAs which is different from that one for MPs and senators yet they are all elected leaders. There is no justification to make it easy to recall MCAs as this will set them up against the electorate,” said Kanjama.

Section 9 of the Act makes it easy for voters to recall an MCA over various grounds of violating the Constitution, incompetence, gross misconduct or if convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for at least six months.

The process

The law requires any voter dissatisfied with the performance of MCA to collect only 30 per cent of signatures of registered voters within a ward to initiate the process of recall.

The petition for removal is filed with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to verify the signatures within 30 days and if satisfied that the requirements are met, it notifies the Speaker of the county assembly of the decision to recall the MCA.

The commission then conducts a yes or no question among the registered voters and if a simple majority agrees with the recall petition, the MCA loses the seat and fresh election is held within 90 days.

According to the lawyer, any leader could use the law against MCAs.

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