Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi owes her return to office after 13 months in the cold to Opposition chief Raila Odinga and the fallout between Governor Mike Sonko and Majority Leader Abdi Guyo, the Nation can reveal.
Mr Odinga whipped his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party members.
Since her forceful eviction last year, Nairobi MCAs from both sides of the political divide have been open in their unanimous opposition to her return, vowing not to let her ever set foot in the speaker’s office.
An ODM MCA told Nation that party members had two weeks ago been told by their party leader to respect a court order declaring Ms Elachi as the bona fide assembly speaker and allow for her return.
Because the assembly broke for a short break to allow members to attend the inter-counties sports meet in Eldoret, the former nominated senator’s return was put on hold for a week.
The MCA added that what galvanised party members was when Mr Guyo on Tuesday, while speaking before the House, mentioned the name of the former premier while criticising Ms Elachi and accusing her of linking her impeachment to Deputy President William Ruto.
“Because the majority leader badmouthed Raila Odinga, we decided to support Ms Elachi because we have had no problems with her. We had to bring her back to restore sanity in the assembly after the chaos that was witnessed on Tuesday afternoon,” he said.
Mr Guyo’s assertion that those in support of Ms Elachi should “employ her in their bedrooms” drew a backlash from ODM MCAs resulting in chaos at the assembly.
The MCA added that the task was made easy by the fallout between Mr Sonko and My Guyo, who supports Ms Elachi.
Minority Whip Peter Imwatok confirmed the involvement of ODM’s top leadership in the return of Speaker Elachi, saying that he called Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna in the morning to whip members on the party’s stand.
Mr Imwatok said that the party was clear that if Elachi had moved back to the office courtesy of the court order, which cleared her, then ODM members would not violate her rights.
He refuted claims that the return of Ms Elachi was as a result of a deal being struck, saying the clincher was the party’s stand that rights of every individual and court order must be respected.
While addressing the press that day, Ms Elachi said Governor Sonko must be respected as “tumetoka mbali na yeye” (we have journeyed together politically).
Mr Sonko’s involvement in the issue is clear, as indicated by a letter dated October 4, 2019 and addressed to Speaker Elachi calling for the removal of the majority leader, who was to be replaced by Maringo Hamza MCA Mark Ndung’u.
Mr Ndung’u, interestingly, led Jubilee MCAs who were in support of Ms Elachi, a clear show that a deal must have been struck earlier.
During the chaos, close to 100 goons under leadership of individuals close to the governor stormed the assembly, kicked at Mr Guyo's office door while baying for his blood and shouting, “Guyo, you must respect Governor Sonko,” as they ran amok in the corridors.
According to a Jubilee MCA, who did not his identity revealed, the governor had to act quickly by supporting the return of Ms Elachi to forestall an impending impeachment motion against him that was allegedly being prepared by the majority leader following their fallout.
“The governor had to act with speed and whip members of the Jubilee Party to his side to support the return of Ms Elachi. This was to avoid a scenario where the majority could pull a rug under his feet,” said the MCA.