CHAMBER CHAOS

I am not coming back to fight but to serve, says Elachi

Majority leader Abdi Guyo and his Minority counterpart Elias Otieno have vowed not to accept her back.

In Summary

• Elachi says she has no personal issues with the House leadership.

• MCAs have vowed to appeal the court ruling.

Nairobi county speaker Beatrice Elachi during a press conference in her office on August 28
Nairobi county speaker Beatrice Elachi during a press conference in her office on August 28
Image: EZEKIEL AMING’A

Embattled county speaker Beatrice Elachi is ready to resume office - to work and not to fight.

Elachi said her intentions are purely professional, with no drama.

"I want to serve Nairobians by leading the assembly in the House business because that was what I was elected as the speaker to do," she said in an exclusive interview with the Star on Tuesday.

The former nominated Senator said she has nothing against the House leadership and the 122 MCAs.

Labour Relations Court judge Maureen Onyango last week reinstated Elachi and dismissed the MCAs' argument that the court had no powers to meddle in legislative processes. She also blocked them from impeaching her in future.

Elachi is optimistic that the MCAs will accept her back despite their threat to appeal the ruling that ordered her return.

NO DIFFERENCES

The reinstated speaker said she has no personal differences with the County Assembly Service Board, and that her quest to serve without bias was misunderstood.

However, Majority leader Abdi Guyo and his Minority counterpart Elias Otieno have vowed not to accept her back.

On Sunday, Guyo said the assembly had instructed lawyer Tom Ojienda to appeal the ruling at the Court of Appeal this week.

Elachi has been at loggerheads with assembly clerk Jacob Ngwele, who accuses her of inviting the DCI to investigate graft allegations at the assembly in an attempt to kick him out.

The two nearly exchanged blows in June last year over the tender for the Speakers' residence.

In November 2018, Elachi testified in court against five senior county officials, including Ngwele, who were facing corruption charges in relation to a books supply tender worth Sh1 million.

PROTECTED SPEAKER

Last week, the Labour and Relations Court declared her as the bona fide speaker and stopped the MCAs from moving any other motion to impeach her.

The ruling gave her protection against any future impeachment.

It further nullified the September 6 impeachment, which included the amendment of the Standing Orders.

The County Assembly Service Board was also ordered not to interfere with her terms of employment, meaning she gets her full salary and the privileges that come with the office.

Ngara MCA Chege Mwaura, who enjoys the Majority support, is the acting speaker after being elected on September 25, 2018, with 84 votes.

Elachi, however, cited the Public Service Commission Act, 2017 which states that an officer may be appointed in an acting capacity for a period of at least 30 days but not exceeding six months.

She expects the assembly to respect the court ruling and allow her to exercise her duties.

"People at times talk so that they trigger you to respond and it becomes a back and forth issue. I chose to keep quiet, observe and continue with the Building Bridges Initiative and left the court to rule on the case," Elachi said.

Without confirming the date, the speaker said she will "soon" go to the assembly to serve the MCAs with the court order.

Elachi has not to the assembly since September 25, last year, when she was forced to escape through a back door after some ward reps attempted to forcefully evict her from the office.

She disclosed that the service board paid Sh15 million for her case and if they appeal and lose, more money will be spent.

"Regardless of whether people like each other or not, the House should come together and embrace unity," she said.

"Three years back, who knew that President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga would one day work together?" Elachi asked.

"It is quite sad to see that people are putting so much effort in fighting a woman instead of focusing to change Nairobi for the better."