Kisii Assembly plunges into chaos amid controversial impeachment bid

Like Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, something is rotten in the County Assembly of Kisii.

And, going by recent events, the regional parliament may cease to be venerated as an August House, what with proceedings often descending into ugly fist fights, name-calling and shouting matches.

In the latest incident on Tuesday, members exchanged blows during debate on a failed motion to impeach Administration Executive Alfred Ndemo.

Angry MCAs from the ruling Kenya Kwanza Alliance clashed with their counterparts from the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party, who were in support of the ouster bid.

Chaos broke out after the motion to send Dr Ndemo packing came a cropper.

Sources indicate that a section of the legislators shot down the impeachment motion in protest after assembly Speaker Philip Nyanumba failed to agree to their demands for money.

The Speaker, according to our sources, could be next on the chopping block if the demands by the MCAs are not met.

In a letter addressed to the Speaker last week and which may have laid ground for Dr Ndemo’s unsuccessful impeachment, members demanded the payment of last year’s allowances for foreign travel.

“The assembly demands the immediate payment of the outstanding Sh100,000 before proceeding with any house business or the formation of the ad hoc committee,” the letter said.

The ward reps also demanded to be paid mileage allowance arrears, which were to be included in their June salaries.

“Speaker is required to provide evidence of requisitions for foreign travel forthwith. We want ratification of the ad hoc Committee. The ad hoc committee is to be ratified immediately, comprising nine members, with the majority being from the minority party,” the MCAs went on to say in their letter.

“The ad hoc committee is tasked with identifying and investigating staff involved in the siphoning of funds, including the approvers and the requisitions used. The committee is to remain unyielding to any form of compromise. Officers under investigation are to step aside,” noted the letter.

Furthermore, the MCAs demanded that members of the committee “shall refrain from signing imprests until all due payments are settled.”

“A welfare committee is to be constituted immediately. The welfare committee is mandated to monitor the assembly budget and report periodically to the assembly,” they said.

The Speaker was also required to inform the members of the exact dates for the payment of the March, April, May, and June per diems.

The House leadership was tasked with ensuring a balanced representation, particularly within the Budget and Appropriations and Public Accounts committees.

The demand letter went on to list several other demands, and when these were not met, the politicians lashed out by shooting down Dr Ndemo’s impeachment motion 43 to 23.

Only one MCA abstained while another absconded.

Dr Ndemo had been on suspension for more than six months following accusations levelled against him relating to abuse of office, among other infractions.

The motion to impeach Dr Ndemo was moved by Masige East MCA Michael Motume.

Bogeka MCA Richmand Manani, who supported the motion, said that, even though Dr Ndemo was his personal friend, “being very learned does not give license for travesty”.

“This is not a political witch-hunt. You don’t [have licence to] break the law [simply because] of the academic documents you have gathered in class,” Mr Manani said.

Coming to Dr Ndemo’s defence, Minority Whip Denis Ombachi faulted the report rooting for his impeachment, saying, it did not provide enough grounds to warrant an impeachment.

Not the first time

This is not the first time that MCAs are being embroiled in a physical altercation over partisan political differences.

Similar ugly scenes were witnessed during the impeachment of former Deputy Governor Robert Monda.

Members of the Kisii County Public Service Board Members were also kicked out last year.

Bitter wrangles were also witnessed when former Speaker David Kombo and former Clerk James Nyaoga were fighting to take control of the House.

Residents are now worried that the incessant battles in the county assembly risk having a negative impact on service delivery.

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