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ODM reinstates minority leaders in city Assembly

Irene Githinji @gitshee

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party yesterday reinstated Peter Imwatok as Minority Whip and Elias Otieno as the Minority Leader in the Nairobi County Assembly.

This follows a joint meeting of the members and the ODM Central Committee held to discuss emerging  issues affecting the Assembly.

ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna said in a statement that it was also resolved that committee memberships be harmonised in the next one week to ensure equity.

It was also resolved that the Minority leadership fosters unity in the Assembly going forward to ensure service delivery to Nairobi residents. The meeting comes against the backdrop of wrangles over leadership positions in the Assembly, which gave rise to two factions, threatening to split the MCAs.

Reinstatement also comes barely a month after the party announced it would replace its leaders in the Assembly.

“The Minority Leadership of the House will be retained as is with Peter Imwatok as Minority Whip and Elias Otieno as Minority Leader,” he said.

ODM chair, John Mbadi last month wrote to the Speaker of the Nairobi County Assembly, notifying him that Kileleshwa MCA had been replaced by Kennedy Odhiambo of Highrise ward.

“Pursuant to the powers conferred to me by the constitution of ODM, I hereby communicate the decision taken to remove Okumu and Imwatok as stipulated in the Nairobi County Assembly Standing Orders,” the letter read.

But Nairobi County Assembly nullified ODM’s replacement of Imwatok and Otieno, with the Acting Speaker Chege Mwaura saying due process  was not  followed while taking that move.

Making reference to the Standing Orders,  he said the Standing Orders indicate that the changes in the  Assembly party leadership can only be communicated to the Speaker by the Whip, in writing.

“I am afraid I cannot act on your letter as it is, unless the issues raised are sufficiently addressed,” Chege said.

ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen also wrote to Chege saying the status quo should remain as the party follows its own mechanism to arbitrate the matter.

The party further insisted that was no confusion over leadership positions in Nairobi County Assembly.

“There is no confusion in the party over the Minority Leadership in the Nairobi County Assembly. The matter is being handled by the top organs of the party and a communication will be made to that effect. For now, the status quo remains,” the party stated last month.

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