Kewopa defends suspended Murang'a MCA Grace Nduta

Murang'a Mca

Kanyenyaini Ward MCA Grace 'city' Nduta during her swearing in ceremony at the Murang'a County Assembly in this past photo.  The MCA is in trouble over her WhatsApp comment.

Photo credit: Martin Mwaura I Nation Media Group

The move by the Murang'a County Assembly to suspend a member for four months over a WhatsApp message has divided the county's leadership as women leaders condemned the House.

The suspension of Kanyenya-ini Ward MCA Grace Nduta has seen female Murang'a legislators launch scathing attacks on the Assembly Speaker Johnston Mukuha, calling for his impeachment.

This comes as the women MPs, through their caucus, the Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association (Kewopa), have expressed bitterness over the suspension of the MCA for raising concerns about the deteriorating standards of health service delivery.

They have vowed to hold demonstrations outside the Assembly until the decision is reversed.

Murang'a MP Betty Maina and Maragua MP Mary Wamaua said the Speaker should have resolved the matter amicably instead of moving a motion to expel the MCA.

Kewopa, who spoke at Parliament Buildings, said they will challenge the move in court if the Assembly does not rescind its decision, arguing that the suspension of the female MCA is a dangerous precedent and they have taken it seriously.

Nominated Senator Veronica Maina, who hails from Murang'a County, described it as coercion and suppression of women's voices.

"This must not happen anywhere and women must not be made to obey certain voices that force them to behave in a certain way, I want to urge the Assembly to take immediate remedial action and if they fail to do so, Kewopa will take legal action and ensure that she is reinstated," said Ms. Maina.

Dagoretti North MP Beatrice Elachi said they stand in solidarity with the MCA and all individuals facing similar acts of oppression and discrimination.

"We call for an end to the persecution of individuals for exercising their right to freedom of expression and criticism, and as a society we must value and celebrate diversity of opinion and support the inclusion of all voices," said Ms. Elachi.

For her part, Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo said it was barbaric and backward that anyone would want to tell a woman what to say.

"What she is being victimized for saying is absolutely nothing, some of us say outrageous things and we are still in Parliament, women should not be victimized for speaking," she said.

Speaking at Kanyenya-ini market in Kangema sub-county, Ms. Betty and Ms. Wamaua alleged that the suspension from the Assembly and removal from the three committees was politically instigated.

Ms Betty said the Speaker appeared to be settling scores with Ms Nduta over her personal affairs, adding that this was unacceptable.

She said the MCA did nothing wrong by making comments on the state of the health sector in the county and it should have served as an eye-opener to the executive.

"It is very wrong for the Speaker to suspend the MCA and we call on him to withdraw the decision and recall her with immediate effect," said Ms. Betty.

"If Nduta is not allowed to attend the assembly sessions next week, we will move to have the Speaker removed from office," she added.

For her part, Ms. Wamaua accused the speaker of abusing his power and office, saying he seemed not to understand his role.

The MP said the Power and Privileges Committee is only supposed to discuss matters that take place within the precincts of the Assembly and not anywhere else.

Further, Ms Wamaua said the remarks made by Ms. Nduta were factual and she should not have been crucified for telling the truth.

"I have received a lot of complaints from residents in my area about poor health services in public hospitals and this is what the MCA was pointing out," she remarked.

She also pointed an accusing finger at nominated female MCAs who are on record supporting the suspension of their colleague, saying they should have been at the forefront to defend her.

"It is a shame that they could not stand by one of their own, yet they were nominated to represent the interest of women," Ms Wamaua said.

The duo also called on Governor Irungu Kang'ata to intervene in the matter, saying he must be fully aware of what is happening in the assembly.

Residents of Kanyenyaini ward also expressed their displeasure over the matter, saying with the suspension of their representative, there will be no one to look after their interests.

The residents threatened to join Kewopa in demonstrating at the county assembly on Tuesday.

The MCA was suspended for allegedly violating her privileges.

Ms. Nduta was suspended following the adoption of a report by the Assembly's Power and Privileges Committee which recommended that she be stripped of her privileges for allegedly making some demeaning remarks on a social media group a few weeks ago.

The ruling by the committee, which was probing the MCA over remarks she allegedly made on a WhatsApp group known as 'Murang'a county politics' (MCP), condemned her colleagues for what she described as failing in their work to oversee the county government.