Kenya: Nairobi Assembly Clerk Removed in Fresh Row

25 November 2020

Acting Nairobi County Assembly Clerk Pauline Akuku has had her appointment to the position terminated as fresh wrangles over the occupancy of the office escalate.

This is after Ms Akuku, the deputy clerk in charge of administration and who has been acting in the position since May, had her appointment as acting clerk terminated by the Nairobi County Assembly Service Board.

The board's chairperson, Speaker Benson Mutura, in a letter to Ms Akuku, told her to vacate the office and resume her duties as a deputy clerk.

"This termination of your acting appointment in the office of the clerk of the county assembly is effective November 18, 2020. Please resume your duties in the office of the deputy clerk, administration. The board thanks you for your service and commitment during the period your appointment subsisted," read the letter by Mr Mutura.

The resolution followed a meeting on November 18, 2020 where the five members of the board failed to reach a consensus on the issue of occupancy of the office.

"Members having failed to reach a consensus following allegations raised by the chair against the acting clerk and his request that her services of acting as clerk be terminated, the board resolved that its decision made on November 2, 2020 on the matter be maintained until further deliberations on the same," read minutes of the day's meeting.

The meeting also resolved to lift the interdiction of officers who had sued the board, including Adah Oyango, the deputy clerk in charge of legislative affairs, Fred Macharia, Romeo Castro and Nancy Mutai.

The matter has split the assembly into two camps with one side pushing for reinstatement of Mr Edward Gichana while the other is rooting for Ms Onyango to take over the office in an acting capacity.

On Monday, Deputy Minority Whip Moses Ogeto accused Speaker Mutura of being selective in the implementation of court orders, saying the court ruled in favour of Mr Gichana last month.

"The Speaker must respect the courts and we are demanding that he implements the court order, failing which we shall start protests from this week. It shall be noisy, messy and chaotic," said Mr Ogeto.

Last month, Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Maureen Onyango declared the appointment of former clerk Jacob Ngwele irregular and unlawful, subsequently stripping him of the position.

Mr Ogeto, together with ODM nominated MCA Mary Arivitsa, alleged that certain "powerful individuals" at the assembly were trying to interfere with operations in the clerk's office.

However, Speaker Mutura dismissed the demands by the ODM MCAs, urging them to keep off the administrative affairs of the assembly. He said Mr Gichana does not have the right to occupy office since he was appointed while Mr Ngwele's case was still in court.

"The assembly board is well aware of the court ruling and, as far as we are concerned, there is a vacancy in the office. The board will deliberate on whether to advertise for the position or the best action to take in filling the position," said Mr Mutura.

"No one is indispensable and we should all desist from the thinking that if I am not in a certain office, then work will not continue. Even as the Speaker, I can be removed from my position or even die. Things have to move on," he added.

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