Details of night call that ended Speaker Elachi’s job

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020 22:00 | By
Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi leaves her office at City Hall after resigning yesterday. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

A night call from State House led to the  unexpected early morning resignation of Nairobi Speaker Beatrice Elachi in what insiders described as a well calculated move by President Uhuru Kenyatta to take full control of operations at City Hall.

While Elachi who has endured a turbulent reign at the Nairobi County Assembly termed her resignation as “voluntary” and motivated by a quest to enable a conducive working environment, sources privy to the behind-the-scenes intrigues revealed that a decision that she vacates office was communicated to her on Monday evening.

In her resignation letter, Elachi said she was leaving office so that Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) can have an opportunity to deliver away from the City Hall shenanigans that had subjected the capital to a situation of ignominy that was previously unthinkable.

“Today I humbly relinquish my position as the Speaker of Nairobi. I want to thank the President for giving me the opportunity to serve for the past three years.

Now we have NMS and I think it will be able to transform the city. Because I wouldn’t want someone to die here because of myself or anything else, let me thank him (Uhuru) for the opportunity and just leave,” said Elachi.

But sources revealed that the outgoing Speaker had no intentions of leaving office and that upon receiving the call to resign, even threatened to move to court to block her ouster, only acceding to the directive after consulting further.

The decision to have Elachi resign, sources disclosed, is intended to “tame” beleaguered Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who has been accused of sabotaging the NMS. 

“It is State House that made the decision and she was told that it has to be that way. It was not a decision made out of her own volition.

When she became adamant and threatened to go to court, the plan was disclosed to her and she was told that there was no need because she would be given a government post,” said the source.

Elachi’s resignation only serves to deepen woes at City Hall, which is on the brink of a constitutional crisis with a governor who is barred by the courts from stepping into office, no deputy governor and no Clerk.

Matters took a nosedive shortly after Elachi announced her resignation when the Jubilee Party summoned her Deputy Speaker and Ruai MCA John Kamangu and several other MCAs over “party indiscipline”.

The MCAs are set to appear before the party disciplinary committee tomorrow. It is instructive to note that Elachi, in her resignation notice, proposed that Kamangu succeeds her.

Governor’s critic 

But while Elachi who returned to office towards the end of last year after challenging her impeachment maintained she was never pushed to quit, another source at the Ministry of Interior also indicated that she had been prevailed upon to quit “following a decision by State House” as part of a wider strategy to tame Sonko.

She said that she had left the office in the hands of Kamangu and Deputy Clerk Pauline Akuku and asked the MCAs to ensure they support NMS deliver on its mandate.

Sonko has been accused of sponsoring Elachi’s second impeachment and pushing for the return of ousted clerk Jacob Ngwele who MCAs have accused of graft.

Minority Whip Peter Imwatok, a supporter of NMS and fierce critic of Sonko, told People Daily that Elachi’s resignation was not just an event but part of a bigger scheme of things to come at City Hall, saying he was not surprised.

“This is politics. It is not an episcopal conference where you are waiting for white smoke.

It’s a game changer in every step you make and you calculate every step as you go.

Definitely, for many people, they were caught by surprise but for someone like me, I am not because I am waiting for more surprises to come,” the Makongeni MCA said. 

Lawyer Ndegwa Njiru backed Imwatok saying President Uhuru Kenyatta could be moving to stamp authority after his previous initiatives to save the city failed, adding that he could apply Article 192 of the Constitution that guides the process of suspending a county government for 90 day pending a by-election.

“Uhuru has every reason to dissolve the county. When he formed NMS, he wanted to save the county from the politics of Sonko.

When he called Sonko and MCAs to State House and halted his impeachment, he must have prevailed upon them to end the wrangles but it is clear they are not about to go down.

He now wants to give NMS the administration and political autonomy and that can only happen by having Sonko out,” Njiru said.

Though it was not clear when the decision to have Elachi leave was made, wrangles at City Hall  on Wednesday last week formed part of the agenda of National Security Council following a spate of violent altercations at the Assembly that culminated in a shoot out as MCAs fired at each other over Elachi’s impeachment, resulting in the hospitalisation of Mlango Kubwa MCA Mutheu Musyimi.

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