MCAs confront speaker over plastic chairs, unfinished chambers

Wednesday March 28 2018

Nakuru MCAs.

Some Nakuru MCAs during the swearing in on September 6, 2017. Some MCAs complained that renovations of the County Assembly chamber were taking too long. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By FRANCIS MUREITHI
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Angry Nakuru MCAs caused a stir when they refused to sit on plastic chairs in the temporary chamber to protest the delay in the completion of the refurbished chamber.

They opted to remain standing while conducting House business.

PROTEST

The old chamber has been undergoing renovations for the past year.

The ward representative have been using the hall since they took oath in September last year.

On Tuesday, the MCAs gathered all the plastic chairs and placed them in one corner of the multi-purpose hall and waited for the speaker.

When temporary Speaker Philip Wanjohi entered the assembly, members took strategic positions near the walls of the hall.

Mr Wanjohi, who was accompanied by the three clerks and the Serjeant-at-arms, began with prayers before he was interrupted by calls of ‘a point of order’ from MCA Douglas Ayabei of Mariashoni Ward.

Mr Ayabei’s attempts to alert the Speaker that members were all standing were met with a quick reply from the acting Speaker that their chairs were in a corner of the hall.

MCAs complained that they found it difficult to discharge their duties while sitting on plastic chairs

RENOVATIONS

There has been a cold war between MCAs and the management of the Assembly over the delay in completion of rehabilitation work at the assembly.

Earlier, MCAs stormed out of the hall, vowing not attend any sitting before getting an explanation from the assembly leadership.

Members have been questioning why new buildings were coming up yet the renovation of the chamber had stalled.

“Why is the construction work of a new building given top priority while we sit on plastic seats yet we are honourable members of this assembly?” asked Kihingo MCA George Machoka.

Leader of Minority Peter Palang’a said: “The relationship between the Office of the Clerk and MCAs has been deteriorating in the recent times while the assembly Liaison Committee has remained tight-lipped.”

Mr Palang’a, who is the Olkaria MCA, said the renovation had taken more than one year yet the management has not explained the reason for the delay.

ISSUES

Keringet MCA Anthony Rotich said it is embarrassing when members are forced to sit on plastic chairs.

"Even to visitors who come to the Assembly it is unacceptable.

“Even in my own house I do not sit on a plastic seat. MCAs deserve to be respected, they are elected leaders,” Mr Rotich said.

But a section of MCAs distanced themselves from the boycott, saying lack of “good seats” was a non-issue.

“Personally I have no problem with the sitting arrangement in the House. As MCAs we have better issues to articulate other than complaining about seats,” said Kabazi MCA Peter Mbae.

Assembly Clerk Joseph Malinda said that one contractor violated the agreements leading to the delay in completion of the renovations.

But he reassured MCAs that the work would soon be completed.