The Lamu County Assembly has elected Mkunumbi Ward MCA Paul Kimani Njuguna as deputy Speaker. Mr Kimani was elected unopposed on Thursday.
The position fell vacant after Kiunga Ward MCA Abdalla Baabad quit following August 2018's ruling by High Court in Meru and Machakos that the deputy speaker’s position was illegal. Mr Baabad is currently the Majority Leader in the Lamu County Assembly.
But in February this year, a Nyeri court declared the position of deputy speaker in county assemblies constitutional, contrary to earlier rulings.
Justice Jairus Ngaah, in a 18-page judgment, found the position valid, according to section 178 of the Constitution, Section 21 of the Election Act and Section 9 (4) of the County Governments Act.
Political activist Amos Muchiri had challenged the creation of the position in counties, insisting that the office is only recognised in the National Assembly and the Senate.
But the judge said the Constitution expressly provides for someone to stand in for the Speaker and preside over the House business whenever he or she is away.
He also noted that Article 178 of the Constitution does not compel counties to describe the person representing the substantive Speaker as a ‘deputy speaker’, so county assemblies are free to use any other term. Following the ruling, Lamu County Assembly elected Mr Kimani.
Speaking shortly after his election, Mr Kimani pledged to ensure the House achieves its objectives.
“I am happy to have been elected deputy Speaker of the Lamu County Assembly. I am ready to carry out my duties as required. I will cooperate with my colleagues in ensuring the House businesses are a successful,” said Mr Kimani.
Hongwe MCA James Komu thanked fellow ward representatives for electing Mr Kimani Lamu County Assembly deputy speaker.
“He has been in leadership for long, we’re confident that he’s going to use his experience and expertise in the running of the county assembly,” said Mr Komu.