Elachi, Ngwele in tiff over Assembly Service Board advert

Court to rule on composition of the Public Service Board

In Summary

•Elachi places an advert for two members of the public on the County Assembly Service Board.

• Ngwele says that's not her role, it's his; board is functioning with quorum but without members of the public. 

Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi and Clerk Jacob Ngwele have argued over an advertisement for two vacancies on the County Assembly Service Board.

But it's all about who's boss with authority to place the advert. The larger issue is about power in the assembly.

Elachi, who was impeached once, faces more resistance. She sent Ngwele on compulsory leave; he got a court injunction against it.


The advert, which was published in the local dailies on Thursday last week, said the assembly was looking for public board members, a woman and a man, to represent the public interest. 

"The office of the Chairperson of the Nairobi County Assembly Service Board invites interested persons who qualify to be appointed to the position of Board member to collect nomination forms from the office of Speaker from Thursday, October 31,” read the advertisement.

A court hearing on the board will be held on Tuesday.

The board consists of six members, the Speaker, two members nominated by major parties, the Clerk and two members of the public nominated on the basis of their knowledge and experience in public affairs.

Candidates are required to be Kenyan citizens, Nairobi residents, having knowledge and experience in public affairs, holding a degree from a recognised Kenyan university.

They must have at least 10 years' experience in public affairs and meet constitutional leadership and integrity requirements.

Documents must be submitted by Friday, November 8, at the City Hall, Assembly wing.


Elachi said that the previous board had been holding meetings without the two members of the public as required by law.

“There have never been two members of the public sitting on the board as required by the law and it is important to bring in members of the public whose mandate is to protect the staff,” she said.

The law states that the board can sit with a quorum of three members.

Elachi also said county staff who are civil servants and not politically aligned to either the majority or minority side of the house must also be represented.

This is a classic case of power struggle whereby one person is not content with her duties as per law and wants to do duties as the Clerk. The law is very clear on the role of the Clerk.
Clerk Jacob Ngwele

Clerk Ngwele accused Elachi of overstepping her duties and interfering with the work of the clerk.

"She (Elachi) went ahead and placed an advert in the print advertising for the members of the board yet, as the Secretary of the board I was not informed, nor was my authorisation sought," he said.

Ngwele said that as the Clerk, he was in possession of the names of the shortlisted members of the board and was waiting to fix the date of candidates' interview.

He also questioned Elachi's motive in placing the advert. He said there a court order bars both the former and new board from performing the duties or participating in its mandate pending the hearing of an application on November 5, 2019.

This means that the new board — which has newly appointed members Mark Ndung’u and Maurice Gari — has been barred from performing their duties. Similarly, Majority leader Abdi  Guyo and his Minority counterpart Elias Otieno also have been barred from performing any role related to the board.

"This is a classic case of power struggle whereby one person is not content with her duties as per the law and you want to do your duties as the Clerk. The law is very clear on the role of the Clerk," Ngwele said.

"I think If we are all sober enough and we respect each other and their position then we can have harmony in this institution," he added.

Last week Ngwele had obtained a court injunction against the 30-day compulsory leave Elachi had ordered him to take.

The previous board was made up of former acting Speaker Chege Mwaura, Clerk Ngwele and Minority leader Elias Otieno who conducted business without two members of the public.

Two weeks ago, Elachi presided over the swearing-in ceremony of two new board members — Maringo Hamza MCA Mark Ndung’u and Nairobi West MCA Maurice Gari — after their names were forwarded by their parties.

Elachi argued that the previous board was not legally constituted as Majority leader Guyo and his Minority counterpart Otieno did not have nomination letters from their parties.

(Edited by V. Graham)