A former executive adviser for Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti has been elected Isiolo County Assembly Speaker.
Mr Mohammed Roba Qoto’s election came moments after the county’s 18 MCAs, 10 of them elected, were sworn in at a ceremony presided over by Clerk Salad Boru in the assembly chambers in Isiolo town.
The oath-taking was delayed for several hours after dozens of irate residents and UDA supporters protested outside the chambers demanding that the swearing-in of former Laikipia woman rep Cate Waruguru’s relative Kelvin Mbuthia be stopped over alleged irregularities.
Chanting "Mbuthia Must Go", they claimed Ms Fatuma Abdullahi’s name was deleted from the UDA list and replaced with Mr Mbuthia’s under the marginalised category against the wishes of residents.
It took the intervention of Governor Abdi Ibrahim Guyo to calm the protesters and for the oath-taking to proceed.
“Because Mr Mbuthia’s name has already been gazetted, I will help you seek legal redress to deal with the issue. We must follow the law. Give me time and I will handle the issue,” the governor appealed to the group.
Mr Qoto was overwhelmingly elected with 18 votes, trouncing former MCAs Paul Mero (Burt) and Hassan Kumpa (Cherab), neither of whom received a single vote.
Abduba Nagele, another contender for the Speaker’s seat, had withdrawn from the contest.
Mr Qoto was sworn in by the clerk before he took over the House business and presided over the election of the deputy Speaker.
Oldonyiro MCA David Lemantile (Kanu) retained the deputy Speaker’s seat, which he has held since the inception of devolution. His main competitor, Peter Losu of Ngaremara ward, quit the contest at the last minute.
Asking MCAs to serve voters with dignity, purpose and honour, the Speaker promised to run the assembly in an objective, open and impartial manner.
“I commit to serve Isiolo residents diligently and ensure Isiolo is the core business in the assembly,” he said after he took the oath of office.
He also promised to support MCAs in their oversight, legislation and representation mandate.
“I will work with you and for you. I am here to serve you,” he assured the MCAs and assembly staffers before adjourning the session until October 12.
The Speaker also said he will work with Governor Guyo to bring more development in the county.
“We will work closely with the executive to ensure our people get better services and our county achieves more development,” he pledged.