Fight between Elgeyo Marakwet Speaker, deputy causes rift in House

The entrance to Elgeyo Marakwet County Assembly in Iten on May 20, 2022

The entrance to Elgeyo Marakwet County Assembly in Iten on May 20, 2022. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Divisions have rocked the Elgeyo Marakwet County Assembly as the infighting pitting Speaker Philemon Sabulei against his deputy Paul Kipyatich intensifies.

The row has split the assembly down the middle six months after the elections, with several members stripped of their leadership positions in committees.

MCAs allied to Mr Sabulei have mooted an impeachment motion against Mr Kipyatich on charges of insubordination, incompetency, and abuse of office.

The Sabulei faction has formed an ad hoc committee led by Tambach MCA Dominic Chesire to investigate the conduct of Mr Kipyatich and recommend his removal from office.

Mr Kipyatich, who is the Embobut/Embolot MCA, has moved to the High Court to block his removal, terming the censure motion against him as a witch-hunt and malicious.

Yesterday, Mr Kipyatich told Nation that his cordial relationship with the Speaker began deteriorating shortly after the recruitment of County Assembly Public Service Board members.

“This is pure malice. We are being punished because we questioned the criteria used to pick a candidate who emerged second-best in the recruitment process while the one who was awarded the highest marks was left out,” Mr Kipyatich charged.

Ward reps opposing the Speaker have moved to court to block a fresh recruitment process, saying, it amounts to a waste of public funds.

“When this is settled, we shall be inviting the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to probe the recruitment conducted by the assembly’s Public Service Board, because we believe the exercise was marred with a lot of irregularities,” Mr Kipyatich said.

“The Speaker, being the board’s chair, should have brought the results of the recruitment to the House before re-advertising the vacancies,” he added.

Dismissed claims

Concerning the impeachment bid, Mr Kipyatich dismissed claims of incompetence, saying, said he was a two-term MCA who served on the assembly’s Public Account and Investment Committee for five years.

“At the moment, we have a lot of problems as an assembly and my plea to the Speaker is to provide leadership in the House.”

“We are unable to do our work as envisaged in the Constitution because of the infighting and hatred among members in the assembly,” he said. Mr Chesire said his committee has finalised their investigation into allegations made against Mr Yatich and will table the report in the assembly today.

“The Deputy Speaker failed to appear before the committee and his fate now lies in the hands of the assembly. Twenty-two MCAs have signed a motion to have him impeached and this may seal his fate,” said Mr Chesire.