Row over MCAs allowances rocks Makueni County Assembly

Makueni County Assembly

Members of the Makueni County Assembly in chambers during a past plenary session.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Disgruntlement over distribution of allowances degenerated into kicks and blows.
  • A faction led by Mr Mumo dismissed the changes in the assembly leadership. 

Tension rocked Makueni County Assembly for the second day on Tuesday after a faction of Wiper MCAs overturned the house majority leadership. 

Assembly orderlies watched helplessly as what started as a disgruntlement over “unfair” distribution of allowances among MCAs degenerated into kicks and blows as the two factions tussled. 

“You are not our majority leader,” an MCA shouted as she joined colleagues in attempting to kick out Tulimani MCA Kyalo Mumo, an ally of Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Junior, who has been the Majority Leader since 2017. 

In the changes in house majority leadership announced by a team of 13 Wiper MCAs on Monday, Kithungo/Kitundu MCA Kisungi Katete has replaced Mr Mumo as the Majority Leader while Nzaui/Kilili/Kalamba MCA Francis Mutuku has lost the deputy Majority Leader position to his Ilima counterpart Jonathan Muthoka. 

Others affected in the shakeup are Magdalene Mulwa who was the Majority Whip, and Nguumo MCA Muthiani Mwangangi who was the Deputy Majority Whip.

Ms Mulwa has been replaced with Joyce Mwende while Kathonzweni MCA Benedict Maneno has replaced Mr Muthiani. 

A faction led by Mr Mumo dismissed the changes in the assembly leadership. 

“The purported changes in the house majority leadership are null and void. The members in that group did not follow house standing orders when electing themselves into office. The law requires aggrieved members to write to the house leadership in advance before conducting elections,” he told reporters. 

Trouble started with a section of the MCAs decrying open discrimination in the distribution of allowances. 

The outcry intensified recently after the assembly stripped some of the nominated MCAs of committee leadership positions. 

“The meeting noted that the current leadership was treating Wiper members unfairly and was in favour of members from other political parties. Examples were cited on how three members namely Hon Sharon Mutinda, Hon Joyce Mwende, and Hon Elizabeth Muthike were stripped of committee leadership hence the responsibility allowances,” reads a section of the minutes of the Monday meeting seen by the Nation. 

A section of the Wiper MCAs has since written to the Controller of Budget, the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Senate accusing Assembly Speaker Douglas Mbilu of discriminately dolling out allowances “which way above the ceilings are for allowances set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.” 

The team led by Mr Katete also sees the hand of President William Ruto in the cracks which have rocked the party. 

The members of this faction accuse their colleagues of not being keen to promote Mr Musyoka as a potential presidential candidate in the county. 

“The team led by Mr Mumo has not been keen with promoting the Wiper agenda at the house. Wiper members have only met thrice since August 2022. They have been holding meetings with United Democratic Alliance (UDA) agents,” Wiper-nominated MCA Urbanus Wambua said. 

Mr Mumo’s faction dismissed the accusations as it denounced the new office-holders. 

Attempts by Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Junior to reconcile the aggrieved MCAs during a retreat in a Mombasa hotel over the weekend flopped. 

Some of the MCAs walked out of a meeting chaired by Mr Kilonzo Jnr and Mr Mbilu in protest. 

As this was happening, the nominated MCAs discretely stepped up efforts to enlist some of their elected colleagues into the plot to overturn the assembly majority leadership. 

“The assembly majority leadership directed us to apologize to the governor and the speaker for reporting them to the Controller of Budget, the EACC and the Senate over illegal allowances. We promised them that we shall tender an apology letter on Monday. We have made ourselves very clear,” a Wiper nominated MCA privy of the political undercurrents told the Nation in confidence for fear of reprisal.