Nyeri MCA punches female colleague in fight over committee slots

Monday January 22 2018

MCAs Njuguna Kawanjiku and Beth Nyawira

Mweiga MCA Njuguna Kawanjiku (left) who punched Nominated MCA Beth Nyawira (right) at the Nyeri County Assembly on January 22, 2018 following a disagreement over committee positions. FILE PHOTOS | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GRACE GITAU
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A male MCA has punched his female counterpart as competition for committee positions turned into a fist fight among ward reps in the Nyeri County Assembly.

During the scuffle in the chambers Mweiga MCA Njuguna Kawanjiku punched Nominated MCA Beth Nyawira angering other nominated MCAs.

Mr Kawanjiku threatened journalists against reporting the fight and fled from the assembly minutes later, leaving his colleagues trying to calm down Ms Nyawira and her colleagues.

The male MCAs then quickly moved to try and cover up the scuffle denying that female MCAs had been intimidated and kicked out of committee seats.

RECONSTITUTE COMMITTEES

Trouble started when MCAs were called in for an informal meeting also referred to as Kamukunji where Deputy Speaker Samuel Kariuki and Majority Leader James Kanyugo attempted to reconstitute committees.

This meeting took place shortly after Speaker John Kaguchia adjourned a special siting that had been called to allow the tabling of the County Integrated Development Plan.

During the morning sitting, the Speaker praised the ward reps for remaining peaceful at a time when their counterparts in other counties were fighting.

But this changed minutes later when women MCAs questioned the procedure of removing a chairperson of a committee, turning the meeting into a shouting match.

During such meetings the Speaker, clerks, sergeant-at-arms and journalists are not present.

INTIMIDATION

A nominated MCA who declined to be named accused their male counterparts of intimidating female MCAs while attempting to limit their responsibilities.

“They do not want to see a woman in a leadership position. Instead of supporting us, they are fighting us and trying to silence women,” the MCA said.

The male MCAs thereafter issued a press statement denying claims that they were ejecting female MCAs from committee positions insisting that they were deliberating on the Development Plan.

“There [was] no scuffles but members engaging on how they will support Wanjiku. Anybody saying that there was a scuffle is misleading,” he said. 

Mr Kanyugo claimed that the women were camera shy and did not want to be involved in the briefing.

RECORDING

However, a recording obtained by Nation, revealed a tense debate between the top House leadership and the nominated MCAs who have been accused of being disrespectful.

Nation also learnt that the female MCAs were warned against talking to journalists.

In November 2017, four women holding chairperson positions in committees were ejected in a bid to “tame and discipline them”.

Another nominated MCA who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation accused the elected leaders of bullying them and wanting them to act as rubber stamps.

Out of the 15 women MCAS, only three were elected on August 8, with the other 12 being nominated.