Kenya: Nairobi County Assembly Resumes Sittings With Overflowing in-Tray

Nairobi County Assembly resumes its sittings on Tuesday after three months recess with plenty of business lined up.

However, sitting days have been reduced from the usual three days every week to two but with morning and afternoon sessions as a result of Covid-19 crisis.

BUDGET

Top on the House's in-tray will be the county's budget for the financial year 2020/2021 with pressure mounting on the assembly to dispense with it before the end of the month.

There is also the issue of a new supplementary appropriations bill proposing allocation of Sh3.5 billion to Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) for transferred functions.

This is after the gazettment of an earlier bill that had allocated Sh15 billion to NMS, approved by the assembly in April 2, 2020, was revoked.

Speaker Beatrice Elachi said the House will also be seeking to establish how they will work with NMS in terms of oversight framework.

She further said that there will also be the consideration of a bill domesticating the Deed of Transfer of functions putting a legal framework on NMS.

"We need to realign everything properly and to see how the assembly will restructure itself to work with NMS. I know members will be asking how they will oversight the new office since they are under the Office of the President but I know we can work out something," said Ms Elachi.

MAJORITY LEADER

High-octane politics is also expected to form part of House business with eyes on the speaker whether she will finally communicate leadership changes in the majority side of the House.

This was after the Jubilee Party made changes to its House leadership in April which saw the reinstatement of Matopeni MCA Abdi Guyo, a sworn political enemy of the speaker, as the Majority Leader taking over from Dandora Area 3 MCA Charles Thuo.

Other changes saw Mihango MCA Paul Kados named new majority whip taking over from nominated MCA June Ndegwa. However, Mr Thuo and Ms Ndegwa have rejected the changes.

This will be the first time the assembly will be sitting since being suspended on March 16, 2020 at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic save for two special sittings on April 2 and 17, 2020.

However, this will be a unique sitting as only 42 out of the 122 MCAs will be allowed into the Chambers with only the House leadership allowed entry into every sitting while the rest having to alternate to give each member equal opportunity to attend the plenary.

COVID-19

"Members will log in online and register early the Speaker will check on the numbers from Jubilee and NASA side so that the house is in order and start the session," said Ms Elachi.

Also, members will have to show proof of having been tested for Covid-19 to be allowed entry into the plenary where sessions will be done both in the morning and in the afternoon of every Tuesday and Thursday with no sittings on Wednesdays to give room for fumigation of the chambers and the assembly precincts.

The former senator said that as a precautionary measure, MCAs who have not been tested will have to undergo the tests in order to access the assembly precincts with testing kits available at the entrance for testing of the county legislators as only tested members with their results will be allowed entry.

"I am aware some members have already gone for testing including myself. If they can go earlier the better so that we also get a quorum for sittings," said Ms Elachi.

"We shall borrow from what the National Assembly has been doing by having two sessions in the morning and afternoon as from 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 pm on both days," she added.

At the same time, the speaker said the assembly will soon set up an Application to enable virtual sittings amid the current coronavirus crisis.

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