Murang'a MCA in trouble over WhatsApp message
A WhatsApp comment has landed a Murang'a County Assembly member in hot water.
The MCA is in trouble after criticising her colleagues for failing in their oversight role and what she described as misplaced priorities.
Kanyenya-ini MCA Grace 'city' Nduta's WhatsApp comment on her colleagues has led to her being summoned for disciplinary action.
Commenting on a local WhatsApp group called ‘Murang'a County Politics’ during a heated debate where they discussed a failed health system after it was alleged that a prominent lawyer had died due to lack of oxygen and an ambulance to take him to Nairobi for specialised treatment, Ms Nduta absolved the executive of blame, and instead pointed an accusing finger at MCAs for 'misplaced priorities' and lack of oversight.
The summoning of the MCA has drawn criticism from residents and social media users who believe it is an attempt to silence dissenting voices.
It has come to the attention of the committee that on Thursday May 18, 2023, between 10.24am and 12.55pm, while engaged in conversations on social media, you posted messages on the MCP WhatsApp group which, in the opinion of the committee, are intended to or are likely to reflect adversely on the dignity or integrity of the House and are contrary to the best interests of members of the assembly and are further contrary to the values enshrined in Chapter Six of the Constitution and Sections 11(a); (b) and 13 (b) of the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012, Section 26 (1) of the County Assemblies Powers and Privileges Act 2017 and Standing Order 203 (4)," reads the letter.
"In view of the above and pursuant to Article 195 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Section 17 of the County Assemblies Powers and Privileges Act, 2017, and Standing Order 203, the committee hereby invites you and your witnesses to appear before the committee at the Hon. Speakers boardroom on Wednesday May 24, 2023, at 9am to respond to the alleged breach of privilege," the letter continued.
The first-time ward rep was asked to appear in person or through a solicitor to answer the allegations made against her.
She was also asked to identify witnesses to support her evidence to the committee.
Commenting on the heated debate on health issues, the ward representative wrote:
"Members, I agree with you that there is a problem, but I can promise you that things are going to change ... I have worked in the health sector before and those who know me know that I am so passionate about the welfare of our people who visit our public hospitals because they can't afford the ones most of you go to, or don't have insurance."
"However, you must understand that the transition process from the previous rotten regime has cost his excellency the governor a fortune. We inherited loans from Kemsa and dilapidated facilities. Health workers were demotivated because of delayed salaries and lack of basic necessities to work effectively. Had it not been for the delayed disbursement of government allocations, we would have improved a little."
Angry members of the group said it was a matter of freedom of speech, while others described it as political vendetta because both the speaker, Mr Johnson Mukuha, and the secretary, Mr Kuria Thuita, hail from Kangema constituency, where Ms Nduta hails from.
Commenting on the authenticity of the summons that has been doing the rounds on social media, and criticising the assembly, the clerk said he received a complaint from colleagues who claimed that her comment was derogatory to them hence the summons to appear before the powers and privileges committee.
He added that a member is also summoned if he or she contravenes any provision of the national legislation that provides for the powers, privileges and immunities of county assemblies, their committees and members.
Ms Petrah Njeri said it was her fundamental right and that she was free to respond or comment on county issues.
Mr James Kamau, the group administrator, said the assembly should not have summoned her.
Mr Pius Kinuthia said the move was ridiculous and an attempt by the assembly to censure leaders who speak for the people.
Mr Stephen Njoroge said no one should be intimidated because everyone has the right to speak their mind without intimidation.
Mr Macharia wa Mwihaki said the move was an attempt to intimidate and silence critics.
“These leaders are our eyes, ears and mouthpieces, I urge leaders not to be afraid to shout when things are not right,' he said.