Five residents of West Asembo Ward have petitioned Siaya County Assembly Speaker George Okode to initiate the process of removing their MCA whom they claim lives in Germany.
The petitioners claim Mr Ambrose Auma Akuno cannot affectively represent them in the county assembly.
Mr Bernard Genga, Charles Omondi Simbe, Bernard Akumu Abidha, Peter Omedo Ambere and MsLilian Omondi Jametho, in a petition to the speaker dated September 2, 2019, wants the seat currently held by Mr Akuno declared vacant.
REMOVE WARD REP
The voters want the Speaker to invoke Article 194 (1b) of the Constitution to remove the ward rep.
The petitioners say Mr Akuno was elected to represent them and perform his duties in line with all provisions governing the roles of MCAs and the county assembly standing orders which they argue he has violated.
The petition seen by Nation reads in part: “Representing us implies attending the assembly plenary sessions and defending our interests on the floor of the House on a case by case basis."
The petitioners claim in their petition that Mr Akuno is always absent during assembly plenary sittings.
In the petition received by the assembly on Monday, the residents provide the various dates between February 13 and April 25, 2019 as some of the days the MCA allegedly skipped the house business.
They claim that lack of representation was detrimental to the voters of West Asembo Ward and has resulted in the residents missing out on budgetary consideration and other benefits that would accrue to them if they had a committed representative.
The five voters allege that they have unsuccessfully tried to reach Mr Akuno.
“As a law maker, he knows what is expected of him as far as attending the assembly plenary sessions are concerned, the benefits of doing so and consequences of being habitual absentee," the petition further reads.
They assert that as prejudiced residents and voters of West Asembo Ward, they are faulting the office of the Speaker for failing to do its work as required by law and allowing the MCA to continue holding office even when he has been absent for more than the statutory period allowed by law.
The law requires that the members of the assembly should not miss eight consecutive sittings without written permission from the Speaker.
Speaking to Nation on Monday, Mr Akuno blamed his opponents during the 2017 elections for his woes.
Mr Akuno said that each time he visits his family in Germany, he always gets permission from the Siaya County Assembly Speaker.
“I visit my family in Germany every month and each time I travel out of the country, I seek permission (from the Speaker),” said Mr Akuno.
The embattled MCA claimed he was being fought because of his perceived close association with the Speaker.
“I am the Speaker's area MCA and those who have been fighting him believes he is protecting me,” he said.
In a petition by Siaya County Accountability Network (Scan) to Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, which is copied to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the petitioners called for a probe over claims that the assembly has been paying allowances to an absentee MCA who resides in Germany.
Scan officials Mr John Ouma and Mr James Wanga brought the petition against the assembly in May.
" It has come to our attention that Mr Ambrose Ouma Akuno (MCA West Asembo Ward) has been earning allowances despite not attending assembly sessions. We are further privy to information that a resident of the federal republic of Germany and only comes to Kenya for three weeks in every four months,” reads their petition in part.
They claimed in their petition that a Siaya County Assembly staff has been appending his signature on the assembly session attendance list for the absentee MCA for payment of allowances.
They asked the EACC to probe the issue.
The petitioners allege that there is a possibility of collusion between the office of the Speaker and the ward rep to manipulate assembly sessions attendance list.
They also want the Speaker investigated over alleged abuse of office by failing to declare the West Asembo Ward seat vacant.
Mr Akuno has since dismissed the allegations of fraudulently receiving allowances.
"I spend at least Sh1 million every time I visit my family. This is a sacrifice I make for my people and should they continue with this kind of witch-hunt, I will quit. The money I get from the assembly is very little, " he said.
He also indicated his intention of registering a foundation to support projects in his ward.
"I have friends in Germany, Switzerland and England who are willing to support the foundation. Last year, we received only Sh30 million for development projects in the ward and Sh15 million this year. This is very little compared to what the foundation will generate. They can keep the seat but I will still work for the community, " he said.
Speaker Okode told Nation that the petition against the MCA will be reviewed.