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'Strangers' in the chamber delay reading of Nyeri budget

While other county assemblies have public, speaker’s and media galleries, Nyeri has none

In Summary

• County Finance executive Robert Thuo was about to present the budget when nominated MCA Julia Wanjiku pointed out that there were strangers in the house.

• The MCAs' targets included Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu, County Secretary Ben Gachichio, Economic Planning chief officer Francis Kirira and his Finance counterpart John Ngugi.

 

Nyeri deputy governor Caroline Karugu, Chinga MCA Kiruga Thuku and Finance CEC Robert Thuo during the budget reading on Thursday
Nyeri deputy governor Caroline Karugu, Chinga MCA Kiruga Thuku and Finance CEC Robert Thuo during the budget reading on Thursday
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI
Governor Mutahi Kahiga outside the chamber on Thursday with speaker John Kaguchia, Majority leader James Kanyugo and Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu.
ARRIVAL OF EXECUTIVES: Governor Mutahi Kahiga outside the chamber on Thursday with speaker John Kaguchia, Majority leader James Kanyugo and Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu.
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI
Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu and County Secretary Ben Gachicio at the temporally speaker’s gallery as the budget was read on Thursday.
THE 'STRANGERS': Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu and County Secretary Ben Gachicio at the temporally speaker’s gallery as the budget was read on Thursday.
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

The presence of "strangers" in the chamber on Thursday delayed the reading of Nyeri County budget for 15 minutes as MCAs sought the speaker’s guidance on the way forward.

County Finance executive Robert Thuo was about to present the budget when nominated MCA Julia Wanjiku rose on a point of order pointing out there were strangers in the house.

“I can see very many familiar faces here. I can see others who are strangers. May be you can guide us so that we don’t have any stranger in the house,” Wanjiku said.

Dedan Kimathi Ward rep Gibson Wahinya supported her, citing Standing Order 234 which defines who should be in the chamber and at what time.

 “Mr Speaker, this house is exclusively for members, both elected and nominated. Of course the standing order recognises the senator and His Excellency the governor,” he said.

But Chinga representative Kiruga Thuku accused his two counterparts of being vague instead of target specific persons.

Governor Mutahi Kahiga was seated on the left side of the speaker. The seat reserved for the senator was empty.

Speaker John Kaguchia referred to the speaker’s rules regulating admission and conduct of strangers within the chamber precincts.

One of the rules defines a stranger as a person who is neither a member nor an officer or other employee of the county assembly.

“Special permission whenever required by this rule may be given by the speaker or in his absence by his deputy.  If neither of them is available, the clerk or the sergeant-at-arms or their respective assistants can do so,” he said.

Kaguchia said while other assemblies have galleries, namely  the public, speaker’s and media galleries, the Nyeri one does not have them as it was built many years ago and is one of the historic assemblies in Kenya.

“We have not done much improvement in this county assembly and that means we have operated without a speaker’s gallery for as long as this assembly has existed,” he said.

“We have only had the public gallery where we have put only a piece of wood to separate the media and the public. The assembly remains without a speaker’s gallery.”

He said they have tried in the past to refurbish the house to create a speaker’s gallery but that has not been possible.

Kaguchia explained that guests from the executive, particularly at the level of County Executive Committee, the governor and deputy governor, are accorded  respect by being allowed to occupy the speaker's gallery.

It was for that reason that he gave permitted senior county executives to occupy the right side of the speaker’s (temporary) gallery.

Those seated in the speaker’s gallery, and therefore targets of the complaining MCAs, were Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu, county secretary Ben Gachichio, Economic Planning chief officer Francis Kirira, his Finance counterpart John Ngugi and Finance CEC Robert Thuo.

Three media representatives were also in the chamber but they were not mentioned by the speaker.

 

- mwaniki fm