Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
Speakers of the county assemblies are now seeking the Senate’s protection from the continued attacks by governors and members of the County Assemblies (MCAs).
The speakers want senators to come up with proposals that will not only ensure they are given tenure of office but also have an appeal mechanism in case they are impeached just like in the case of governors.
Speakers also want senators to amend impeachment procedure to make it more difficult for the MCAs to kick them out of office on flimsy grounds.
While appearing before the Senate Justice and Legal Affairs committee, the County Assemblies Forum (CAF) claimed the recent attacks and impeachments on the speakers is being spearheaded by governors.
According to CAF, the governors were using the MCAs for political scores against the speakers who stand their ground in oversight and that is why some have been impeached.
Nandi Speaker Joshua Kiptoo, who represented the CAF, said whenever governors feel speakers are not loyal to them, they use MCAs to not only attack them but also ensure they (speakers) are kicked out of office.
While citing the removal of Nairobi Speaker Beatrice Elachi, who was kicked out the same day the MCAs amended the Assembly’s Standing Orders, Kiptoo claimed some of the MCAs were on governor’s payroll to protect selfish interests in the House.
On the other hand, he said MCAs resort to impeachment threats when demanding for lucrative foreign and benchmarking trips.
“If we are given security of tenure this will help us do our job. Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and that is why we are requesting your help,” he said.
“There are legal loopholes and the urgent need for institutional discipline. We want the same procedure of impeaching governors followed in removing county speakers. This would provide appeal mechanism,” he added.
While defending the speakers, Kiptoo expressed concerns that the culture of handouts in the country was also to blame as it has pushed the MCAs to hunt for every opportunity to make money.
He regretted that because of the pressures from the electorate, MCAs are forced to look for money to survive as most of them take home Sh16,000 monthly after deductions including mortgage yet they have to please their people.