Our County Assembly Speaker has done it again! This is the umpteenth time he has escaped impeachment by a whisker. A cat, they say, has nine lives, but our House Supremo has nine times nine. And what is amazing this time is the swiftness with which his would-be impeachers transformed into his most ardent supporters.
It all happened when we arrived at our county offices to find vindu vishachenjanga. On the staff bulletin board was a notice reading: “Due to the need to cut down on expenditure, each staff member will only be allowed a maximum of three cups of tea at 10 o’clock.”
Someone, obviously an incensed tea guzzler, had tried to deface the distasteful notice by scribbling “NONE CENTS” across it.
The changes became more real inside the chambers. Before we began the day’s proceedings, the Speaker talked of the need for belt-tightening measures. He said this was necessitated by the tough economic times in the country.
For reasons best known to himself, he was talking in an unusually low voice. Perhaps, this was also a cost-cutting measure – saving on electricity used in the public address system!
After a while I, and probably most of my colleagues, lost concentration. It was, however, when he said MCAs would have to take steps to curb wastage and eliminate unnecessary expenditure that he caught the attention of members.
“How?” asked MCA Matayo.
“All our expenditure is necessary,” someone else bellowed.
The Speaker raised his voice. “But surely, we all know our county will soon face a cash crunch if we don’t take austerity measures.”
MCA Chonjo took him head-on. “Mr Speaker, I wonder why these so-called hostility measures only apply to us. Kwani are we the biggest wasters of money? We reject any cut-costing measures that will affect service delivery to our people.”
He spoke with so much animation that, at one moment, I thought he would go for the Speaker’s neck. “And to add salt to injury, we were not involved in the decision to reduce spending. It is unfair. Totally unfair!” he thundered. This was followed by an applause.
“Members, we have no choice. We must tighten our belts. Let’s not be unreasonable,” persisted the Speaker.
These words ignited the members ire. Everybody now had something to say, and was saying it loudly. The House quickly degenerated into chaos. Fists waving in the air. Catcalls. Then, above the din, someone screamed, “Impeach!” This call was taken up and the whole house began chanting in unison, “Impeach! Impeach! Impeach!” The vigour and concentration with which some members were dancing to the rhythm of the chant would have earned them awards in a music competition.
I saw the target of the impeachment calls consulting with the Leader of Majority, MCA Pinto. It took the efforts of this MCA to restore order. Pinto commanded the respect of the whole House probably due to his ability to bring practical solutions to thorny issues.
“Colleagues,” he began as soon as calm had returned, “You have spoken out loud and clear, and our Speaker has heard you. He has an announcement to make and I beg that we listen to him without interruption.”
There was pin-drop silence in the House. The Speaker, now looking composed, stood and said: “Dear Friends, in the spirit of consultation and participation in decision making, I have decided that a committee of the whole house shall proceed for a one-week retreat to…”
“Mauritius!” That was clearly the voice of MCA Colleta.
The Speaker did not respond to her. Instead, he continued, “We shall head for a retreat at the Coast to brainstorm on cost-cutting measures.” To say that the applause that followed was deafening would be an understatement. “Speaker for Governor 2022!” someone yelled.
“Yes,” came a chorus. We are now preparing for the retreat, courtesy of the unparalleled wisdom of our Assembly Speaker. Nani kama yeye! [email protected]