Kirinyaga assembly starts bid to replace speaker

Kirinyaga County Assembly Speaker David Githanda during a past event. He resigned in July. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEIDA GROUP

The Kirinyaga County Assembly has started the process of picking a new speaker following the resignation of David Wachira Githanda in July.

In a notice published in the Kenya Gazette Friday, the clerk of the county assembly Mr Kamau Aidi invited qualified persons interested in replacing Mr Githanda to submit their nomination papers for election.

The candidates are required to have submitted their documents before December 31. Kariti Ward Representative Joel Wagura has been the acting speaker of the assembly that has 20 elected and 13 nominated MCAs.

In his resignation, Mr Githanda cited personal reasons in the notice he addressed to Governor Anne Kamotho. He also indicated that he wanted to concentrate with his Nairobi-based law firm.

The recruitment comes two months after a voter, who had moved to court seeking to overturn Mr Githanda’s resignation withdrew the petition.

The petitioner, Mr Francis Waweru Muchiri, had argued that Mr Githanda’s decision to leave the office was against the constitution, though he later dropped the case.

The speaker’s resignation last week helped 12 elected Members of the County Assembly, who had been removed as chairpersons of various House committees, reclaim their seats through a legal technicality.

Judge Lucy Gitari found that at the time the 12 were removed from their seats in mid-August, the speaker had already resigned.

With the speaker's position having fallen vacant, the court stated, no business could be transacted and therefore the removal of the MCAs was null and void.

Justice Gitari said under the Standing Orders, the MCAs would have first elected one of them to assume the role of the Speaker to conduct the business of the House.

“Since there was no speaker of the county assembly to preside (over) the said removal of the petitioners after he (speaker) tendered his resignation on July 31, no assembly business could have taken place in a vacuum,” Justice Gitari ruled.

The elected Ward Representatives had been replaced with their nominated colleagues in the House leadership.

Justice Gitari stated that Article 128 of the Constitution makes provisions for election of the Speaker and the same should have been followed before the members engaged in conducting any business of the House.

The court ruled that the removal of the 12 MCAs was unprocedural as it had undermined their fundamental rights.