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November 16, 2018

Heated debate, demo as Bungoma MCAs vote for PSB officials

A banner that civil rights groups in Bungoma county used to protest against Rael Khisa's membership in the Public Service Board, February 13, 2018. /BRAN OJAMAA
A banner that civil rights groups in Bungoma county used to protest against Rael Khisa's membership in the Public Service Board, February 13, 2018. /BRAN OJAMAA

The Bungoma Assembly approved Rael Khisa's stay in the Public Service Board after a heated debate and protests on Tuesday.

Civil rights groups, led by activist Philip Wanyonyi, demonstrated outside the Assembly and filed a petition for Khisa's removal.

There was a heated debate in the House after the report with the names of candidates was tabled by Majority Leader and Maeni MCA Florence Wekesa.

A committee of seven, headed by Speaker Emmanuel Situma, retreated to Kisumu for a week in January before coming up with the report after interviews.

Situma had a difficult time controlling the members when Khisa became the subject before voting.

She was approved by 30 and rejected by 29. The MCAs rejected her counterpart Anthony Simiyu who got  31 'yes' and 28 'no' votes.

Related: Wangamati risks six months in jail for contempt in board row

The positions of the two had been advertised two times and 

During the discussion, Stephen Wanjala, representative of Soy Sambu/Mitwa ward in Tongaren constituency, asked why Khisa did not resign before vetting began as the law stipulates.

Wanjala said she was "seen loitering around the assembly’s premises lobbying for the job".

He added that the whole process should be declared a sham since the committee that selected the names was not constituted by the Assembly.

The MCA further said it was a shame that the Assembly spent a lot of taxpayers' money advertising the posts.

Milly Masungo of Misikhu ward in Webuye west constituency opposed Khisa's retention saying she is not a Bungoma resident.

Masungo added that the candidate vied for Chemuche ward MCA in Malava constituency, Kakamega county, and garnered a total of 1,250 votes. She submitted evidence to the Speaker,

Luke Opuora, a Ford Kenya Nominated MCA who represents youths, said approving Khisa's membership to the board would amount to injustice against the electorate.

"We live in a digital era ... I have just sent Rael’s number and details to Safaricom and it has brought back her details which are here," he continued.

He also said Khisa had been accused of " a myriad of issues regarding MCAs' welfare" during her time in the board.

Among the allegations are awarding some representative full mortgages and leaving out others and employing some of their children who then reportedly received huge loans.

Noting Kiambu county would not allow a non-resident to serve in its board, Ndivis MCA Martin Wanyonyi said the same should apply in Bungoma.

More on this: Sack Bungoma Public Service Board – activist

Also read: Case against us ‘is a conspiracy’ – Bungoma Public Service Board

But Matulo representative Paul Wanyonyi said the report stated that Khisa was born in Sitiko, Webuye West, and got married in Tongaren.

"Birth registration is what matters. Khisa's show she is a Bungoma resident," he said. "The few saying she stood for election in Kakamega .... that is null and void since our very own son here, Edwin Sifuna, vied for Nairobi Senator. Tim Wanyonyi is Westlands MP and even Kenyan Barack Obama was the most powerful President in the US."

Wanyonyi said their decision would send a strong message to "sycophants of the government - that legislators work independently".

He added: "I am purturbed because the Executive wanted to interfere with the Assembly’s decisions. They ought to know their boundaries."

The MCAs voted when sittings resumed yesterday after last year's long December break.

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