Running battles, teargas and chaos characterised Nairobi County Assembly as police engaged MCAs who were trying to serve Speaker Beatrice Elachi with notice of impeachment.
The ward representatives had gone to the assembly to serve the Speaker a notice of the censure motion against her as well as a court order suspending the appointment of new Clerk Edwin Gichana.
However, the county legislators were met by anti-riot police officers who blocked them from accessing the Speaker’s office.
The standoff between the police officers and the MCAs soon turned ugly when the heavily armed officers lobbed teargas at the MCAs as well as journalists with Mlango Kubwa MCA Patricia Mutheu getting seriously injured in the process as everyone ran for their dear lives.
Waithaka MCA Antony Kiragu said the chaos was caused by the refusal by the Speaker to be served as she locked herself up in her office.
“Since Elachi’s return, there has been nothing but chaos and she has been running the assembly like her personal property. The Speaker is responsible for the current fight between NMS and the County Government but we have decided that she now must go. Basically, she now stands suspended,” said Mr Kiragu.
Embattled Clerk Jacob Ngwele confirmed that he had been served with the notice of motion by the MCA who will move the censure motion but his attempts to notify the Speaker of the same were thwarted by police officers.
“I was going to serve her with the letter to show her the notice of motion, the grounds for her impeachment and informing her that she needs to respond within seven days but that was not possible. However, I have served her on WhatsApp,” said Mr Ngwele.
According to the County Governments (Amendments) Act, 2020 section 7, once the Clerk receives the notice of motion, the Speaker will be notified and as per sub-section 6, she will stand suspended pending the resolution of the county assembly.
The push to remove Ms Elachi from office began on Sunday when 51 MCAs, drawn from both the Jubilee and ODM sides, signed her impeachment motion. As of yesterday, the MCAs who had signed the motion were 59.
A threshold of 42 signatures is needed for a notice of impeachment motion to be tabled before the assembly.
The ward representatives have laid at least six grounds for the fresh push to remove the Speaker from office for the second time.
The grounds include abuse of office, illegal appointment of a new Assembly Clerk, corruption, poor leadership, victimisation of MCAs and assembly staff, impunity, disregard of the law and county orders, and militarisation of the Assembly.
However, Ms Elachi maintains that Governor Mike Sonko is behind the bid to remove her from office over her support for Nairobi Metropolitan Service as well as her stance that Mr Ngwele is not the substantive Clerk.
Mlango Kubwa MCA Patricia Mutheu being assaulted by police officers at Nairobi County Assembly precincts.
Meanwhile, the Employment and Labour Relations court has suspended the appointment of Mr Gichana as the new Nairobi County Assembly clerk.
This is after the court suspended last week’s gazettement of Mr Gichana by Speaker Elachi as the new clerk to replace Mr Ngwele.
The suspension will stand, pending the determination of an application filed in court by Mr Ngwele seeking for a conservatory order quashing the appointment of Mr Gichana on July 24, 2020.
In the petition filed on July 26, 2020, Speaker Elachi has been listed as the first respondent while the assembly’s service board is the second respondent.
“It is hereby ordered that the appointment of Edward Gichana as clerk of the Nairobi County Assembly with effect from July 23, 2020, as published by the first respondent in the Kenya Gazette No.5072 of July 24, 2020 is hereby suspended pending inter partes hearing of the application herein,” read in part the order by Lady Justice Maureen Onyango dated July 28, 2020.