PENDING BUSINESS CITED

Assembly to proceed with sittings despite Uhuru call for suspension

Speaker Mutura says power to suspend sessions rests with the ward representatives and not the President

In Summary

•• The MCAs are required to keep off the assembly precincts unless in exceptional circumstances.

Nairobi county assembly speaker Benson Mutura.
Nairobi county assembly speaker Benson Mutura.
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

The Nairobi county assembly will resume plenary sittings on Tuesday despite President Uhuru Kenyatta's ban on public gatherings.

The assembly has been on a two-week recess.

Cases of Covid-19 infections have been reported amongst both MCAs and staff at the assembly.

Speaker Benson Mutura on Sunday said the assembly has a lot of business to transact and that sittings might not be suspended as had been advised by the President.

Nairobi county has the highest number of Covid-19 cases and is among counties in the 'disease-infested zone' that was put on lockdown by the President.

The others are Kiambu, Nakuru, Kajiado and Machakos.

On March 26, Uhuru asked the county assemblies of the five counties as well as the National Assembly to suspend sittings until further notice.

But Mutura said the power to suspend sittings is with the house. He said he will only read the President's communication to the members and it will be up to them to decide.

“The calendar of the house is a constitutional mandate exclusive to the leadership and I or even the President don’t have the powers to dictate what to do,” Mutura said.

He said the assembly was in the middle of the budget-making process and cannot afford to ground completely.

There are also a number of reports from different committees to be considered by the house business committee for debate.

The speaker acknowledged that the assembly has had several cases of Covid-19 despite having most house business conducted virtually.

“To avoid stigmatisation of the affected members, I won't mention names but just like any other institution we have been hit hard by the third wave,” Mutura said

“We are lucky enough that nothing serious has happened to those who have been infected. The house leadership will discuss the best way to manage the situation.” 

The assembly has been conducting its business virtually since the Covid-19 pandemic struck last year.

Only the house leaders are allowed into the chambers while plenary sittings are on.

Other precautionary measures at the assembly include limited in-person meetings within the assembly’s precinct. Sanitisers and hand-washing points have also been put in strategic locations.

 

Edited by P.O