Elachi sucked into governor’s ouster intrigues
Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi was yesterday sucked into intrigues to impeach Governor Mike Sonko with claims of being behind a plot to scuttle the process.
According to the Sonko ouster group, the Assembly’s leadership is determined to use a “no quorum” technicality to ensure that no special sitting takes place to discuss the ouster agenda.
“Every effort is being made (even by the County Assembly leadership) to scuttle the impeachment motion.
Don’t think that Sonko is sleeping as things are being planned against him,” an officer who works at the governor’s office told the People Daily.
Those pushing for the impeachment of the governor, claim Elachi has approved trips for ward reps out of the city as part of a scheme by Sonko’s supporters to scuttle the move to remove the governor who was last week arraigned over alleged theft of Sh357 million.
A source at City Hall yesterday claimed County Assembly members are allowed to travel for meetings out of town.
One committee is set travel for between three to five days, while another set of four committees is said to have already travelled to Kisumu and Mombasa for their respective special sittings.
Yesterday, ward reps leading in the collecting of signatures to sack the beleaguered governor, led by Embakasi MCA Michael Ogada, told the People Daily that the Minority Whip Peter Imwatok had written to Elachi asking her to reconvene the House.
But Elachi, who is now being seen as Sonko’s ally, said she had not seen any such letter requesting for the sitting, adding that calling a special session to discuss an impeachment against the governor “is tricky since it cannot be done in a day”.
Further, the Speaker said through the Assembly public communication head Pauline Akuku, that Imwatok’s letter was not admissible because such a document should only come from David Mberi, the minority leader.
“The Speaker has not received any letter as alleged. People are saying that Imwatok has sent one, but even if she (Speaker) was to receive any, it was the Minority Leader who is to write (it),” Elachi said yesterday.
Sonko, who is today expected to be paraded before a Voi court to answer to charges of assaulting a police officer during his arrest on December 6, was barred by court from accessing City Hall, leading to fears that the county could be plunged into a leadership crisis because he does not have a deputy.
The People Daily has also established that the Assembly had okayed alleged “old and unnecessary trips” for the Members of the County Assembly with allowances being the major bait with a view to ensuring there will be no quorum in case the House is reconvened.
The Speaker, who returned to City Hall recently after a protracted legal battle, also denied claims that MCAs were being allowed to travel to kill the planned ouster motion, saying they are part of the House’s official programmes “which have been continuing”.
Mberi, the Karen MCA, yesterday feigned ignorance of the existence of any plot to impeach Sonko, who is out on a Sh15 million cash bail after denying the graft charges.
This is despite Imwatok, who is also part of the House’s opposition, insisting that the bid has been gathering steam having received commitment from close to 70 members and already signed by 55 out of the 123.
“I am not aware of any impeachment plans against the governor, not any,” said Mberi, who is the Leader of the official Opposition in the Assembly.
But Ogada said ouster plans were in top gear, noting that today the House Business Committee, normally chaired by the Speaker, will meet at Windsor Hotel where the possible date on when the House should sit to discuss the fate of the county will be agreed upon.
The MCA said they had listed at least 31 grounds on which to impeach the flamboyant governor, and which fit the charges of gross misconduct and abuse of office against him, adding that the county chief was enjoying support of less than 30 members.
“I am the one collecting the signatures and already 55 members have signed it and we are waiting for our colleagues who are in Kisumu and Mombasa to come and the number will be more than enough to kick him out of office. Most of them are on our side,” claimed Ogada.
The planned Sonko ouster has divided ward reps, now fighting over the devolved unit’s fate. The divisions came out clearly on Monday when about 28 MCAs allied to the besieged governor, led by Majority Leader Charles Thuo, held a presser to defended him from their counterparts who mooted his ouster.
“Let those who are sponsoring it bring it and we shall deal with it. If you get the numbers, well and good but if you don’t, we shall meet another day,” said Thuo. He described the planned ouster as “silly.”