Leadership wrangles paralyse operations at Garissa county assembly

Garissa County assembly in session.

Garissa County assembly in session.

Photo credit: Pool

A fight for leadership at Garissa County Assembly has left the House business affected just a week after the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) resumed from August break.

Under unclear circumstances and from his office, Mr Abdi Idle, the assembly speaker, announced changes in the House leadership sparking a war of words among the MCAs.

In the changes, Mr Mohamed Abdi Farah (Dadaab-Wiper) replaced Mr Abubakar Khalif (Galbet-ODM) as the leader of majority.

Other changes saw Sankuri MCA Abdirahman Borr (UDM) replaced by Abdirahman Muktar of Ijara (Jubilee Party) as the deputy majority leader.

Liboi MCA Ahmed Abdirahman Sheikh (Kanu) is the new majority whip replacing Abdi Ibrahim (Balambala-Jubilee) while Timira Bashir (nominated-ODM) is the new deputy majority whip.

Mahat Abdikadir (Modogashe-ODM) is the new county assembly service board member replacing Omar Abdi Hassan (Damajale-Wiper).

The ousted team was in the United Kingdom for official duty when the new team took over.

Interestingly, the assembly speaker was in the UK with the affected team but he left them behind only to come back and announce the changes.

“We were in the UK with the speaker attending a training on early childhood education programme and yet he (speaker) skimmed our replacement,” Mr Khalif claimed.

By Friday evening, Mr Abubakar Khalif (ousted leader of majority) remained locked out of his office as Mr Mohamed Abdi Farah and his team remained inside.

Mr Khalif accused the assembly speaker of being behind the house leadership wrangles.

“The due process was not followed despite the assembly being a House of procedure and rules. The speaker is biased in this process and I don't know his intention,” he said.

Nation.Africa could not reach the speaker as he was said to be out of office and his phone was switched off.

Mr Khalif, armed with a court order, failed to convince the new team to leave his office.

Police were called in to calm the situation as the ousted team attempted to kick the new team out of the Leader of Majority’s office.

“In the last few days we have witnessed a coup which was engineered and orchestrated by among others the County Assembly speaker purporting to remove me and my fellow honourable members from party positions in the house in our absentia,” Mr Khalif said.

A letter from the Azimio coalition and an order from the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) reinstated the ousted team.

Despite the order and the leader from the Azimio head office, Mr Farah maintained he is the new Leader of Majority in Garissa and dismissed the documents as fake.

In his defence, Mr Farah said all MCAs were invited for a sitting on September 3 where they discussed a number of issues.

“We discussed a lot of issues including our party's monthly subscription fees and the position of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) in our local affairs. UDM is not known whether it is in opposition or in government here in Garissa,” he said.

According to Mr Farah, the MCAs were also to discuss the conduct of the majority whip during the special sitting.

“Our majority whip has not been calling for our Azimio team meetings and that is what led to ousting him,” he said.

All Azimio allied MCAs held a meeting at Rabat Hotel on September 3 and unanimously agreed to make changes in the house leadership.

At least seventeen MCAs voted to effect the changes from the hotel meeting.

While dismissing the purported letter from the ODM party, Mr Khalif said Azimio was an umbrella bringing together political parties.

“The letter from ODM has nothing to do with the Azimio leadership changes here because this is not a one party affair. If ODM takes sides in this then it will affect the relationship among member parties,” he warned.

Mr Khalif said it was time Garissa County Assembly got a fresh leadership after a year of the ousted leadership.

“They have been in office for one year and we know what they have done. They performed poorly after they joined the Kenya Kwanza team instead of pushing for the Azimio agenda,” Mr Khalif said.