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Division in assembly grows as group holds own night session

Wednesday November 13 2019

Homa Bay MCAs

Homa Bay MCAs who support acting Speaker Evance Marieba and Majority Leader Welter Muok at the assembly on   November 12, 2019. The MCAs held a sitting at night to avoid conflict with a rival group that backs embattled speaker Elizabeth Ayoo. PHOTO | GEORGE ODIWUOR | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE ODIWUOR
By GEORGE ODIWUOR
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Police have arrested a ward representative over the assault of Homa Bay County Assembly Clerk Daniel Kaudo on Wednesday morning.

Kojwach Ward Rep Joan Ogada is accused of assaulting the clerk by tearing his clothes and destroying items in his office over unknown reasons.

She is said to have been in the company of two other MCAs who went underground after the incident.

Homa Bay County Deputy Police Commander Samuel Obara said Ms Ogada will be arraigned.

"We are looking for the MCAs who escaped so that they can face charges. We want them to explain to us what happened," Mr Obara said.

Divisions in the Homa Bay County assembly deepened on Tuesday after one of the feuding factions held a night sitting to avoid a conflict with their “adversaries”.

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This came after an attempt by embattled Speaker Elizabeth Ayoo to return to office failed because the camp opposed to her leadership boycotted her sitting.

The MCAs have taken sides in a leadership battle pitting Ms Ayoo against acting Speaker Evance Marieba.

Ms Ayoo was impeached by MCAs last November over corruption and mismanagement claims but obtained a court order on the basis of which she has been trying to reclaim her position.

On Tuesday, the ward reps allied to Mr Marieba met from 6:30 to 8:00pm, in a session presided over by the acting speaker.

The faction, which has branded itself “team sanity”, boycotted the normal afternoon session that runs from 2:30pm to 4:30 pm, citing avoidable circumstances. Ms Ayoo intended to chair the sitting, but there was no quorum, so the sitting aborted. The House needs at least 21 members to begin a session.

Assembly orderlies, including clerks and the serjeant at arms, were also missing.

But later “team sanity”, which includes Majority Leader Walter Muok and his minority counterpart John Njira, claimed they had abandoned the afternoon session because they did not want to fight with their colleagues.

Ms Ayoo’s camp includes Majority Whip Dan Were and Ruma Kaksingri MCA Osuri Omoro. Ironically, the two were initially at loggerheads with the Speaker over her leadership.

Mr Were is facing an assault charge against the Speaker while Mr Omoro tabled an impeachment motion against her last year.

Mr Marieba claimed that the afternoon session aborted because most of the MCAs were engaged in other activities, including meetings with county executives and directors to discuss ward development projects.

He said as the acting Speaker, he had powers to call for a sitting at any time before 12am, which he did.

Speaking on Tuesday night after adjourning the assembly until Tuesday next week to facilitate plans for the burial of Nominated MCA Esther Dualo, Mr Marieba accused Ms Ayoo’s faction of seeking the attention of national leaders, including ODM leader Raila Odinga.

“Our counterparts, who are enemies of development, wanted us to fight during the plenary session so that we can be seen as people who like conflict. If there are any differences, they should be resolved peacefully. We had resolved not to engage in any wrangles,” he added.

Mr Muok concurred, adding that the assembly cannot perform its oversight role in an environment of conflict.

The majority leader said MCAs are currently focused on service delivery, adding that there are several projects in the county that need to be inspected.