What you need to know:
- This follows reports of a surge in infections among MCAs and staff at the assembly, with close to 20 said to have contracted the virus.
- The county has also banned all physical meetings at the precincts with immediate effect, with both plenary and committee sittings to be held virtually.
Nobody will be allowed access to the Nairobi County Assembly precincts without a Covid-19 negative certificate, Speaker Benson Mutura has said.
This follows reports of a surge in infections among MCAs and staff at the assembly, with close to 20 said to have contracted the virus.
Mr Mutura said the directive, aimed at stemming the spread of virus, will take effect Friday.
“As you are aware, our country is facing a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to recent statistics from the Ministry of Health, the second wave is proving lethal. The assembly has not been spared,” said Mr Mutura.
"Beginning November 20, a Covid-19 negative certificate shall be a pre-requisite for accessing the assembly precincts for both members and staff.”
The county has also banned all physical meetings at the precincts with immediate effect, with both plenary and committee sittings to be held virtually.
Further, more than 150 assembly staff have also been directed to work from home. The Speaker said only essential staff will be at the assembly.
The new developments come after a meeting of the assembly's leadership on Monday on the way forward regarding rising cases of the disease that has killed more than 1,300 people in the country.
A week ago, a section of MCAs called for the early end of the assembly’s plenary sessions as part of measures to reduce transmission.
Majority Leader Abdi Guyo said closure of the assembly precincts could be the only way to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
He said a request to suspend all physical interactions at the assembly had been floated by a number of MCAs and that the House Business Committee chaired by Speaker Mutura was to meet to deliberate on the matter.
Speaker Mutura further said that only assembly leadership – comprising the Speaker, majority and minority leaders and their deputies, majority and minority whips and their deputies – shall be allowed into the chambers.
Other members, even those with business on the floor, shall follow proceedings virtually.
“Members are encouraged to stay away from the precincts. No visitors will be allowed into the county assembly unless it is absolutely necessary. Committees intending to invite witnesses shall do so virtually,” he said.
Interestingly, the ward representatives have been asked to uphold the official dress code even while attend meetings virtually. They also stay seated and remain present and focused, failure of which their attendance will be terminated.
“Members attending virtual sittings in plenary and committees shall be required to strictly adhere to the applicable provisions of the Standing Orders, especially on upholding decorum. Any member who breaches the same shall immediately be disconnected,” said Mr Mutura.
The assembly has been conducting part of its house business virtually since June, when former speaker Beatrice Elachi suspended physical sessions due to the pandemic.
However, physical interactions among MCAs have been taking place.