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Wrangles in Kirinyaga as assembly leaders ejected

Thursday August 8 2019

Kirinyaga County Assembly Majority Leader Kamau Murango

Kirinyaga County Assembly Majority Leader Kamau Murango addressing journalists in Kerugoya on August 7, 2019 after 12 elected MCAs were ousted as heads of key House committees and replaced by their nominated colleagues in tension-packed polls. PHOTO | GEORGE MUNENE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE MUNENE
By GEORGE MUNENE
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Twelve elected members of the Kirinyaga County Assembly have been ousted as chairpersons of key House committees.

They were kicked out on Wednesday evening in tension-packed elections as leadership wrangles continued rocking the assembly.

The ward representatives were voted out and replaced with their nominated colleagues in a move which is likely to weaken the elected members who had been piling pressure on the executive to ensure speedy implementation of development projects meant to benefit Kirinyaga residents.

Most of those who took over the positions are nominated female MCAS who had been complaining of gender imbalance in the formation of the committees.

KICKED OUT

Outspoken Agriculture Committee Chairman Baptisa Kanga (Wamumu Ward) and his Health Committee counterpart Friedrick Bundi (Njukiini Ward) were the first ones to be shown the door.

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Mr Kanga’s position was taken over by nominated MCA Caroline Muriithi while Mr Bundi was replaced by Ms Lucy Njeri, who is also a nominated lawmaker.

The chairmanship of the powerful Finance committee was taken over by another nominated MCA, Mr Kefa Mugambi, after the incumbent, Mutithi MCA Peter Njomo, was thrown out.

Others dislodged were Tebere MCA Gudson Muchina (Delegated Legislation) Thiba Ward Rep Pius Njogu who headed the Welfare Committee. The two are strong critics of the executive.

RETROGRESSIVE POLITICS

Majority Leader Kamau Murango claimed those sent packing were incompetent and constantly engaged in retrogressive politics which was adversely affecting the smooth running of the assembly.

"The chairmen had to go to pave way for a new crop of leaders who are ready to cooperate and work hard for the benefit of all Kirinyaga people," he said.

Mr Murango said that the assembly had to ensure there was gender balance in all the committees as provided for in the Constitution.

But in reaction, those kicked out dismissed the claims as untrue and accused Mr Murango of influencing their ouster for his own selfish political interests.

OVERSIGHT

They insisted that the move was meant to silence most of the elected MCAS to ensure they do not continue discharging their role of oversighting the executive regarding development and transparency.

"The claims by the majority leader are just propaganda but we shall not be cowed," said Mr Muchina.

They promised to issue a comprehensive statement on what they think about the majority leader and the executive after analysing the humiliating defeat in the House.

"The majority leader is behaving like a kingmaker. He wants to control the assembly and continue dictating to us on what do but we shall resist," another ward representative said.

But Mr Murango denied that he wants to control the assembly and rein in MCAS opposed to his leadership and critical of the executive.

The ouster comes barely nine days after the Assembly Speaker David Githanda resigned, citing personal reasons.