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Elachi reprieve as court halts her impeachment

Bernice Mbugua and Mercy Salisi

Embattled Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi got reprieve after Employment and Labour Relations Court extended orders barring her removal from office.

The Nairobi County Public Service Board was also temporarily barred from interfering with the execution of Elachi’s duties as the Assembly Speaker.

Justice Stephen Radido extended the orders to Friday when he will make a ruling on whether to strike out Elachi’s application which the Assembly, through lawyer Tom Ojienda, has termed “incompetent, bad in law and fundamentally defective”.

Through a preliminary objection, the MCAs claim the court has no jurisdiction to hear the petition as legitimate constitutional process was undertaken in her impeachment.

“The matter in court is a political issue and not a legal issue. The petitioner was elected and not appointed,” he said.

According to the MCAs, Elachi’s application was brought to court on September 6 under a petition that did not exist.

They further claim Elachi used her Personal Assistant James Mwangi to swear an affidavit yet she was the petitioner in the matter.

“The orders issued are unlawful, abuse of court process and bad in law. They do not take into consideration the principle of separation of powers and endangers the institutional comity between the arms of government,” he said.

He added that orders stopping her impeachment were served a day after she was impeached and thus she was properly impeached.

But responding to the arguments, Elachi’s lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui told the court his client was attending a devolution conference in Malindi, and it was in order for her PA to sign the affidavit saying her office was served with the letter at 1pm and sitting was at 3pm.

“She was attending a conference the same time she was required to attend impeachment proceedings, that was impossible,” he said

He said his client was not given sufficient notice or an opportunity to respond to the allegations levelled against her. He said Elachi’s removal from office is not a political process but a legal one, thus his client has a right to access justice before a court of law.