What you need to know:
- The fight, which is now threatening to divide the city assembly into two rival factions, is over who between the two will be the assembly’s acting clerk.
A fresh supremacy battle has ensued at the Nairobi County Assembly over the control of the office of the clerk, with two deputy clerks laying claim to the office.
Last Friday, the Court of Appeal ordered Clerk Edward Gichana to vacate the office pending determination of an intended appeal lodged by former Clerk Jacob Ngwele.
The fight, which is now threatening to divide the city assembly into two rival factions, is over who between the two will be the assembly’s acting clerk.
The assembly has two deputy clerks - Adah Onyango, who is in charge of legislative affairs and Pauline Akuku, who is in charge of administrative affairs.
Speaker Benson Mutura, as the chairperson of the Nairobi County Assembly Service Board, announced that Ms Onyango will take over as acting clerk as the assembly awaits the appellate court’s verdict.
The court further restrained the office of the Speaker and the county board from advertising, shortlisting or appointing a substantive holder of the said office until the appeal is concluded.
“In compliance with the court decision, and considering the prevailing administrative circumstances in the county assembly and the critical functions of the office of the clerk in the day to day running of the county assembly, I wish to inform you the decision of the board in a meeting held on June 7, to appoint you as the acting clerk as we await the court verdict,” Mr Mutura said in a letter to Ms Onyango.
But in a swift rejoinder, Mr Gichana handed over the instruments of power, functions and responsibilities of the office to Ms Akuku an hour later; setting the stage for a titanic battle over the control of the office.
“In compliance with the aforementioned ruling and considering the prevailing administrative circumstances in the county assembly … I wish to inform you that during the period of my absence, you shall take over and perform the functions, duties and responsibilities of the office of the clerk in an acting capacity, with effect from June 7, until the hearing and determination of the intended appeal,” he said in the letter copied to Mr Mutura.
The tussle over the clerk's office has existed since 2018, leading to Mr Ngwele ouster with Mr Gichana taking over as his replacement last year.
The office is a pivotal one since its holder, as the accounting officer of a county assembly, is the signatory of the assembly’s accounts, hence is in charge of its finances.
The clerk is also the secretary of the assembly service board and is responsible for marshalling legislative measures passed by the county assembly.
The office holder is also the chief adviser to the assembly Speaker in the exercise of all his powers and functions.