Faceoff looms as Nairobi MCAs reject Beatrice Elachi’s return
What you need to know:
- The Employment and Labour Relations Court on Monday ruled in favour of Ms Elachi, reinstating her as the assembly’s Speaker.
- The judge dismissed the MCAs’ argument that courts have no powers to interfere with legislative process.
- However, MCAs have stood their ground and said they will not allow Ms Elachi into the assembly's precincts.
A face-off is looming at the Nairobi County Assembly as MCAs have vowed to reject Beatrice Elachi's reinstatement as Speaker despite a court ruling that overturned her ouster.
On Tuesday, the Employment and Labour Relations Court ruled in Ms Elachi’s favour, reinstating her as Speaker.
The ruling followed the case she filed against the assembly after she was impeached in September 2018.
Justice Maureen Onyango cited massive flaws in the censure motion and dismissed the MCAs’ argument that courts have no powers to interfere with Parliament’s legislative process.
But the ward representatives have stood their ground that they will not allow Ms Elachi back to the assembly’s precincts, saying the ouster stands.
Ms Elachi on Wednesday extended the olive branch to members of county assembly opposed to her reinstatement, saying it was time to serve residents.
She urged MCAs to rise above personal interests and stop personalising politics to avoid conflicts that would jeopardise service.
“I request peace. Let us avoid unnecessary conflicts. Nairobians will not forgive us if we personalise our politics every time. Let us rise above personal interests and serve our people,” she said.
However, MCAs have stood their ground and said they will not allow Ms Elachi into the assembly's precincts.
Majority Leader Abdi Guyo reiterated that county legislators still considered Ms Elachi a stranger as they lost faith in her leadership.
“We are not willing to work with her and in as much as we respect the court’s ruling, it cannot force an employee on an employer. We are the people that employed her and our decision to impeach her was final,” he said on Tuesday,
Mr Guyo also noted that the assembly already elected an acting Speaker and that they intended to confirm as the substantive office holder.
The Matopeni Ward MCA urged Ms Elachi to find another job elsewhere to avoid any confrontation that would further dent her public image as it will not be possible for her to be accepted back by MCAs.
“The decision to fire Elachi was final and allowing her back would only amount to the city assembly acting in retrospect. We already have an acting Speaker who is Chege Mwaura and he is doing a commendable job. Once the dust settles we will confirm him as a Speaker in full capacity using the right process,” he said.
Minority Leader Elias Otieno said Ms Elachi lost the goodwill of members while she served as Speaker, hence her replacement with “someone more receptive to members’ needs”.
“To us she is a stranger as 103 members, including those from the opposition, voted against her. Only two voted for her. This was enough proof that they had no confidence in her. I do not think she can come back to lead people who do not want her,” said the Kileleshwa MCA.
Minority chief whip Peter Imwatok criticised the court, saying Ms Elachi’s reinstatement was against precedent - that a court ruling cannot overturn the procedure of the assembly.
He said the impeachment was political so the matter could only be solved politically, not through the courts.
“She will never be our Speaker. She has gone through the back door to try and find her way back to the assembly but we will not allow it. She should explore other options such as demanding (payment) for damages but not seeking to be reinstated as our Speaker,” said Mr Imwatok.