CITY HALL BATTLES

MCAs ignore court order and send county clerk home

The appointment was revoked on grounds that the County Assembly Act had been violated

In Summary

• Some MCAs termed the clerk a stranger and intruder, arguing that the assembly had not approved his name

• The County Assembly Act says the appointment of the clerk should be done openly, transparently and competitively

The office of the County Assembly clerk after it was barricaded on Tuesday
NO ENTRY: The office of the County Assembly clerk after it was barricaded on Tuesday
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

 

MCAs have sent County Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele packing despite a 2017 court order confirming his appointment.

The ward representatives revoked the appointment through a motion of privilege moved by Nairobi West MCA Maurice Gari on Tuesday afternoon on the grounds that there was a gross violation of Section 18 (2) of the County Assembly Act.

"As per provisions of this Act the name Jacob Ngwele was not tabled on the floor of this Assembly for approval. This depicts that the appointment of the office bearer was an illegality," the motion read.

The entry to the clerk's office was subsequently blocked with pieces of wood nailed to the door.

The clerk is the County Assembly's chief administrator and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the devolved unit. He/she also is the secretary of the County Assembly Service Board.

Ngwele says he was in the assembly legally.

A July 20, 2017 consent order presented to Judge Monica Mburu at the Employment and Labour Relations Court states, "It is hereby ordered by consent of all parties that the claimant, Jacob Ngwele Muvengei, is hereby declared to have been duly appointed as the Clerk to the Nairobi City County Assembly under Section 13 of the County Government Act." 

 

Nairobi County Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele
Nairobi County Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

A section of MCAs labelled Ngwele a stranger and intruder arguing that the assembly had not approved his name.

First-time representatives stated that they never approved him on the floor of the house and that the court order was given when the house had adjourned for the 2017 general elections.

"We are working with someone we have neither confirmed or employed. We need a substantive clerk in the assembly," Kariokor MCA Millicent Mugadi said.

Her Kabiro counterpart Clarence Munga explained that the first assembly (2013-2017) was briefed that Ngwele was seconded to the assembly to take them through procedural matters.

"Ngwele was given three years to do so and I think he achieved that but there is a procedure of employing the clerk. The house is the employer and it is upon us to either approve or reject his name," he said.

Highrise MCA Kennedy Oyugi accused the clerk of having no interest in the welfare of the legislators.

Imara Daima's Kennedy Obuya said he does not have any personal issue with the clerk but his concern was how he got the job.

The County Assembly Act says the appointment of the clerk should be done openly, transparently and competitively. "The name of a person nominated by the Board for appointment as the Clerk of the county assembly shall be submitted to the county assembly for approval in accordance with the Standing Orders of the county assembly."

According to the Act, the board shall, within seven days of receipt of the resolution of the county assembly approving a person for appointment as clerk of the county assembly, appoint that person as clerk of the county assembly.

The Act gives direction on how to remove a clerk – charges should be framed by the board, forwarded to the clerk together with an attachment of the charges against him/her.

The clerk is then invited to respond to the allegations in writing, setting out the grounds on which he/she relies on to exculpate him/herself. He/she should appear before the board either personally or with an advocate.

If the assembly approves a motion, the clerk against whom the motion was filed shall be deemed to have been removed from the office from the date the motion was approved.