The simmering row between two Isiolo MCAs and Speaker Hussein Roba over House leadership took a twist this week when the former were asked to keep off the assembly precincts for 28 days.
Charri Ward Representative and minority leader Ali Dima and his Sericho counterpart Nura Diba were on Wednesday thrown out of the chambers for trading barbs with the Speaker, minutes after the House rejected politician Ekuru Aukot’s Punguza Mizigo bill that proposes constitutional amendments.
A heated exchange ensued after nominated MCA Ajira Abdi (Jubilee Party) raised concern that Mr Dima (ODM) occupied the seat illegally as he was not a member of the party as required by law.
On Thursday, the Speaker de-whipped Mr Dima from the position of minority leader and banned him and Mr Diba from taking part in any of the committees’ activities until the 28 days elapse.
While the Speaker maintains that Mr Dima does not qualify as a member of the second largest party or coalition of parties, the Chari MCA insists it is the prerogative of the party to choose the minority leader.
“The Speaker has no power or mandate to dictate who becomes minority leader. He knows very well that it is the party’s prerogative to decide whether I continue holding the position or not,” the legislator said, adding that before any de-whipping, a member must first be investigated and served with warnings, which did not happen.
Speaker Roba notes that Mr Dima was given the seat by MCAs, not the party, which he acknowledges was unconstitutional, and says the mess must be corrected.
“There is no party with one leader and that is why the Mombasa County Assembly has been operating without a minority leader as out of all the MCAs from ODM, only one was elected on a Jubilee ticket,” he said.
Mr Dima, who was expected to meet ODM leaders in Nairobi on Friday, threatened to challenge the matter in court and file complaints with other relevant authorities.
“The dismissal was very unofficial. He should have allowed me respond to the allegations before making his ruling. I have not yet been served with a copy of the ruling,” he said.
The ward representative cried foul, accusing the Speaker of intimidating him for his strict stand on accountability and for demanding copies of expenditure reports, which should be submitted on quarterly basis.
Mr Diba claimed he was punished for complaining that order papers were being issued to them while in the house instead of 24 hours prior to the sitting.
Speaker Roba dismissed the allegation, noting that the documents are uploaded on the county assembly’s website, from where the MCAs download them.