Samburu assembly elects Fred Lekoren Lengees its new Speaker

Fred Lekoren Lengees takes oath of office on Wednesday September 28, 2022 at the assembly chambers in Maralal town, Samburu County.

Photo credit: Geoffrey Ondieki | Nation Media Group

The Samburu County Assembly on Wednesday unanimously elected Fred Lekoren Lengees its new Speaker.

Chaos erupted as most Azimio-affiliated MCAs boycotted the swearing-in of MCAs, protesting that one of their members, nominated MCA Agnes Wambui, was being blocked from entering the assembly chambers.

The leaders engaged police in running battles outside the main gates to the assembly, demanding that Ms Wambui be allowed into the chambers.

Trouble started when Ms Wambui attempted to enter the chambers but was blocked by irate locals and leaders, who said she was a non-local and was registered as a voter in Kasarani, Nairobi.

This sparked a push and pull, prompting police to disperse the dissenting MCAs outside the main gates.

Samburu leaders issued a statement, saying that "locals blocked" an outsider MCA and that leaders would do nothing other than follow the people's decision "because they are supreme".

Samburu County Governor Jonathan Lelelit wondered why Jubilee could not nominate deserving locals and instead picked a Nairobi resident.

"We will not allow it to happen in Samburu. There are many local women who can be nominated to the assembly. We do not have a deficiency of women here to be given a Nairobi voter to represent Samburu people," Mr Lelelit said.

Samburu County Woman Representative Pauline Lenguris said the nomination of Ms Wambui mocked Samburu women.

"I represent women in this county, but in this case we will not accept. We are not going to accept today, tomorrow and forever," she said.

Azimio-affiliated MCAs who boycotted the swearing-in of MCAs and election of the Speaker were Joseph Loloju (Maralal ward, Jubilee), Jeremiah Leitoro (Elbarta, Jubilee), Lealmusia Ali (Ndoto, PNU), Paul Leshimpiro (Angata, Jubilee), James Lenanguram (Baawa, Jubilee), Francis Lemantile (Wamba West, Jubilee), and Christopher Lentukunye (Wamba North, Jubilee).

Those nominated to the House under the Azimio coalition are Silapia Lenamantiyo Esther Lenolkulal, Eunice Lekirenyei, Agnes Wambui, Osman Dube and Stacy Nareyo.

As the chaos continued, Kenya Kwanza-affiliated MCAs sat in the assembly main chambers ready to take the oath of office. Assembly Clerk Patrick Leshore took over the floor and presided over the swearing-in of the 13 MCAs who were present in the chambers.

Mr Leshore directed the dissenting MCAs to enter the chambers to take their oath in vain. After 10 minutes elapsed, the House, which had a quorum, proceeded to elect a Speaker.

Mr Lengees won and was declared Speaker, having garnered 13 votes from the 13 members present in the second round of voting. He trounced his competitor Solomon Lempere, in a process boycotted by Azimio-affiliated MCAs.

Mr Lengees will now succeed Mr Lempere as the third Samburu County Assembly Speaker since the advent of devolution. The race, which attracted only two contestants, went to the second round when none of them attained the required threshold – two thirds of House members.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Lengees thanked MCAs for believing in him and entrusting him with the Speaker’s position. He vowed to be "a neutral Speaker for all regardless of party affiliations”.

"I am deeply humbled [to be] elected the Speaker of the assembly. I promise to work fairly. I will be a Speaker for all regardless of party affiliations," he said.

Mr Lengees acknowledged the contribution of his predecessor, Mr Lempere in the previous assembly.

Wamba East ward MCA Jackson Lenkeju was elected deputy Speaker. Mr Lenkeju beat his competitor Lealmusia Ali of Ndoto ward by garnering 13 votes from the 13 members who voted.