Homa Bay Speaker wins first round in impeachment case

Ms Elizabeth Ayoo, the embattled Speaker of the Homa Bay County Assembly. The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kisumu on December 10, 2018 extended interim orders allowing her o to preside over House business despite rejection by MCAs. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Justice Nderi was forced to interject on several occasions to stop a war of words between Mr Kaluma and the lead counsel for the petitioner.
  • Ms Ayoo's lawyer faulted the assembly for “impeaching the Speaker unfairly” as she was not given a chance to defend herself.
  • The hearing of the case will continue on January 31, 2019.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kisumu has extended interim orders allowing Ms Elizabeth Ayoo to preside over the Homa Bay County Assembly as Speaker despite rejection by MCAs.

Judge Nduma Nderi on Monday directed that Speaker Ayoo be in office until the matter is heard and determined.

The court had on October 16, 2018 issued orders reinstating Ms Ayoo as the Speaker following her impeachment by the MCAs.

“I therefore extend the interim orders of 16th October 2018 and therefore order the petitioner to be reinstated as Speaker pending hearing and determination of the case,” ruled Justice Nderi, as he condemned anyone who disrespects the court saying that is equal to inviting anarchy.

WAR OF WORDS

In the packed and tense courtroom, Justice Nderi was forced to interject on several occasions to stop a war of words between Homa Bay MP Peter Kaluma and the lead counsel for the petitioner Mr David Otieno.

Mr Otieno accused Mr Kaluma of contempt of court, insulting the Speaker on local radio stations and even using his Twitter account to incite MCAs against the Speaker and telling them to elect a new Speaker as soon as possible.

“Mr Kaluma did an interview on various radio stations on the 6th of December where, among other things, he said that the Homa Bay Speaker was a thieving and incompetent leader, adding that she was going nowhere,” Mr Otieno said in court.

He went on: “The MP also on the 5th of October took to his Twitter account inciting the MCAs to elect a new Speaker [with] court orders not [being] factored in in his statements, meaning he was even planning to disrespect this honourable court.”

'UNFAIRLY IMPEACHED'

The lawyer also faulted the assembly for “impeaching the Speaker unfairly” as she was not given a chance to defend herself.

He also claimed that the threshold needed to impeach the Speaker was not met as, according to him, only 35 MCAs voted against a requirement of 42 in order to meet the 75 percent mark needed as per the Constitution.

But Mr Kaluma defended the assembly stating that contrary to what the petitioners were saying, the county assembly indeed met the said threshold to impeach the Speaker and even passed the mark.

LAW FOLLOWED

According to the lawmaker, 47 members of county assembly were present and therefore they were within the law in doing so.

He further said that the Speaker was served with a letter inviting her to appear before the House but she never did.

He also said that an acting Speaker was elected and sworn in legally before they were served with court orders and, therefore, they were not in contempt of court.

“It is a provision within the Constitution that when a Speaker fails to show up , the House is at liberty to elect a member of the county assembly to preside over the proceedings and continue to do so if the Speaker is the subject of discussion or if a motion of impeachment is before the assembly,” he said.

The hearing of the case will continue on January 31, 2019.

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