Kenya: Goats 'Invade' Nairobi County Assembly

28 February 2021

Nairobi Member of County Assembly (MCA) members are a worried lot over some group of unwanted visitors who consistently storm their virtual plenary sittings uninvited.

The concern was raised by one of the ward representatives who was at pains to explain how goats have become part of the 122-member assembly.

Deputy Majority Whip Waithera Chege complained that one such occasion was when the assembly was discussing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020 two weeks ago on Thursday and on Tuesday morning.

Speaking on the floor of the House on Tuesday ahead of moving the motion on the renaming of Kapiti Crescent Road in South B to Joe Kadenge Crescent Road, Chege called on the assembly's ICT department to wake up and save them the continuing embarrassment.

"Mr. Speaker, before I proceed, allow me to make a very short statement about the ICT Department. We had a very big day here when we were discussing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). Even this morning when we clocked in for the 9:30 a.m. sitting, you could hear some goats on our virtual meeting. I wish to request through your office, the ICT department needs to wake up," said the South B MCA.

"We don't want to experience the same embarrassment like the one we saw the other day and this morning. Therefore, this House needs to be respected and things need to be done professionally," she added.

Nairobi County Assembly adopted virtual plenary sittings last year July during the time of former Speaker Beatrice Elachi in order to minimize physical interactions at the assembly.

This was in response to a directive by the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua regarding containment measures against the spread of Covid-19.

Following the new development, only House leadership and mover of a business on the floor were to be allowed in the assembly chamber while all other MCAs shall follow and participate in Assembly proceedings via Zoom with the Office of the Clerk directed to facilitate the virtual sittings.

The Speaker together with the leaders of majority and minority, their deputies; majority and minority whips together with their deputies form the House leadership.

"Beginning this Thursday July 23, 2020 we shall be holding virtual sittings. Visitors will not be allowed in Assembly precincts including in Committees unless in exceptional circumstances. Members are also encouraged to stay away from the precincts," said Elachi at the time.

As part of the plans, the assembly scaled down on MCAs allowed in the chamber with a maximum of 42 members instead of 122 allowed at any given time in order to ensure there is social distancing.

Plenary sessions were also reduced from three to two on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Wednesdays dedicated to the fumigation of the chamber and assembly precincts.

The committee meetings also went virtual, save for the crucial ones like public accounts.

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