Fresh turf wars in the Kisumu County Assembly on Thursday took a new turn after Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga warned ward reps against attempts to lock out Speaker Ann Adul.
The MCAs had on Tuesday asked Ms Adul to first win back public trust before resuming office, three days after she was cleared of charges of abuse of office and corruption by a Kisumu court
However, the Speaker, on Wednesday evening, chaired her first session of the assembly after she was vindicated. The session was given a wide berth by a section of the MCAs.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, Ms Odinga warned the MCAs against creating unnecessary tension in the county. He asked them to stick to their oversight role in the House, instead.
The deputy governor said the assembly wrangles, which come less than a year to the General Election risk polarising the county.
“The MCAs should do their work for which they were elected into office and stop using diversionary tactics in the assembly. The Speaker was elected by them. They should, therefore, work with her,” said Ms Odinga.
While opposing the return of Ms Adul, the MCAs, led by Majority Whip Isaiah Onyango and Manyatta B Ward Rep Nereah Okombo, said her return would only be successful once she regains public trust.
“She has won the case in a law court but not in the public opinion court, where she has a case to answer. We are also waiting for a letter from the EACC (Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission) clearing her of the corruption charges,” said Mr Onyango.
Ms Okombo, who had unsuccessfully moved an impeachment Motion against Ms Adul last year, warned that “should the Speaker resort to her old ways of undermining members, then they will have no choice but to impeach her”.
The assembly wars pitting Ms Adul and the MCAs have been blamed on vested political interests in the 2017 General Election. The clergy have said the situation risks stalling development in the county.
Ms Adul was on Monday cleared of the corruption charges by Kisumu Senior Resident Magistrate Thomas Obutu due to inadequate evidence. The case was filed by the EACC.
She was accused alongside six others - including former Majority Leader Samuel Ong’ow, former Minority Leader Eddy Anayo and former Assembly Clerk Nelco Sagwe - of conspiring to defraud the House of Sh17.4 million through the Assembly Service Board.
Ms Odinga dismissed the demands by the MCAs, saying no such thing should be expected of the Speaker once her case was dismissed by the courts.
She said the return of Ms Adul will seal a leadership vacuum in the assembly, whose sessions were only run by acting Speaker Pamela Josi.
“Ms Adul was not elected by the people of Kisumu but the MCAs. Since she has been vindicated of corruption charges, the MCAs should now resume business as usual for the sake of the county,” said Ms Odinga.