Gachagua summons feuding Kericho MCAs for meeting

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua addresses wananchi in Nyeri town on November 19, 2022.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua addresses wananchi in Nyeri town on November 19, 2022.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has summoned 47 Members of the Kericho County Assembly for a meeting in Nairobi, in the backdrop of fight over house leadership positions. 

It comes as reports filtered out that 14 of the MCAs were blocked on Tuesday night from flying out to Dubai, a trip earlier scheduled for last Saturday, one day after chaos broke out at the chamber. 

The meeting to be held on Thursday at Harambee House Annexe at 8:00 am will happen a day before Speaker of the County Assembly Patrick Mutai appears before the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party disciplinary committee at the Hustler's Plaza in Nairobi. 

It follows President William Ruto's public reprimand of the MCAs during a thanksgiving prayer rally in the neighbouring Bomet county. 

Initially, Ms Veronica Maina, the UDA Secretary General had written to the MCAs to attend a meeting at Mr Gachagua's office on Wednesday, but a follow up invite switched the session to Thursday. 

"Please note that the UDA Kericho MCAs' meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday January 18, has been rescheduled to Thursday, January 19 at 8:00 am. The meeting will be chaired by the Deputy President, H.E Rigathi Gachagua at his Harambee Annex office" states an electronic message sent to all the 47 MCAs from the UDA party headquarters, which Nation has seen. 

It was not clear by press time whether or not Dr Mutai (Speaker) had been invited to the meeting at the DP's office. 

Dr Mutai has repeatedly declined to talk to the press on the controversial issue and could not be reached for a comment by press time. 

A section of the MCAs are said to have been blocked at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) from boarding a 7:00 p.m flight for a one week' trip to Dubai. 

"It is true that some of our colleagues (MCAs) have had their trip cancelled as a result of the scheduled meeting with the Deputy President " Deputy Speaker Erick Bett said on Tuesday night. 

It was not clear who gave directives to have the trip cancelled at the last minute. 

On Sunday, President Ruto angrily reacted to an ugly scene witnessed last Friday at the assembly chambers where chairs and tables were broken as the MCAs fought over change in house leadership effected by the Speaker following a high court order. 

"Kericho MCAs must stop the nonsense. shame on you. The people of Kenya voted for us to implement development projects and not to fight over positions," Dr Ruto said. 

"The differences of the MCAs to a level of fighting in the assembly chamber is a shame. Shame on you" Dr Ruto angrily reacted. 

A fight broke out in the chamber last Friday over leadership changes in the house effected by the Speaker with Mr Vincent Korir (Londiani) being reinstated as majority leader replacing Mr Paul Chirchir (Kapsoit) who had held the position from November. 

In the controversial changes Mr Haroun Rotich of Cheptororiet/Seretut ward was picked as the Majority Whip while Mr Chirchir was elected into the new role of a Commissioner. 

It followed implementation of a High Court order reinstating Mr Korir to the position, days after UDA party ratified a new list of house leadership team. 

The order was issued on February 12, 2023, by Justice Asenath Ongeri of the Kericho High Court following a consent that led to withdrawal of a case filed by Mr Korir who had challenged election of Mr Chirchir as the Leader of Majority on November last year. 

The changes were seen to be a defiance by the Speaker of the UDA party directives on the matter as the change of guard happened for the fourth time in hardly five months. 

Dr Mutai's action was seen as going against the UDA party's endorsement of a list that has Kamasian Ward MCA Mr Philiph Rono as the new Majority Leader replacing Kapsoit ward MCA Mr Chirchir who has been in charge from November last year. 

Ms Maina wrote to the Speaker on January 9, stating that the UDA party had ratified the leadership changes agreed upon by 27 MCAs in Nakuru on January 8. 

Ms Fancy Korir, a nominated Member of the Assembly was picked as Deputy Majority Leader, Kapsuser Ward MCA Peter Kemoi was elected the Chief Whip while nominated MCA Bavina Serem, a former radio journalist was nominated as the deputy Chief Whip. 

A Mr John Njenga has been picked to chair the UDA disciplinary committee that will look into the conduct of the Speaker of the County Assembly (Dr Mutai). The names of the other committee members has not been released by the party. 

Dr Mutai received a letter on Sunday evening summoning him to appear before the disciplinary committee, a few hours after a public dress down of the MCAs by the President. 

"You failed to guide the house in giving effect to the party's clear direction on the matter (house leadership changes) as a result there arose confusion , confrontation, violence and commotion in the house as extensively covered and published in the media," states a letter from the party headquarters addressed to Dr Mutai. 

Dr Mutai was accused of compromising the dignity and reputation of the party by admitting new leaders to the positions against clear directives given by UDA on the matter. 

"As a member of the party, you are expected to conduct your affairs in a manner that promote it's image, interests and accords to it's values and principles , a duty which you failed to discharge in this instance" the letter reads. 

   




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