Why our Assembly sittings now make it to critical services list
Monday, September 21st, 2020
People can say whatever they want, but as far as we MCAs are concerned, we offer essential services.
This was confirmed during our assembly sitting last Thursday, the day operations in counties were to be suspended. Reason? The delay by the Senate to pass the division of revenue bill.
There was a strong rumour that our governor was about to announce the suspension of all non-essential services.
Well, we MCAs agreed that this was the right move to put some sense into the senators’ brains. This was until we learnt that our assembly sittings too were to be suspended.
The fact that it was just a rumour did not stop MCA Matayo from interrupting the day’s proceedings and demanding that we address this issue.
“Mr Speaker, we are under threat,” he said, visibly agitated. “We cannot continue burying our sands in the head when there is talk all over, that today is our last day in this House,” he thundered.
“Yes. Tell us if we are going home,” chipped in MCA Violata, leader of the minority. Soon everybody seemed to have something to say and was saying it aloud.
The temporary Speaker looked confused. “Order!” she called out. She could as well have been talking to herself .
Someone began a chant which quickly spread: “Hatufungi! Hatufungi! Hatufungi!”
I felt sorry for the Speaker. She looked helpless and was obviously regretting why she had agreed to step in for the substantive Speaker.
“Hatufungi! Hatufungi! Hatufungi!” Some members were now dancing atop seats, waving their arms.
“Order! The speaker is on his feet!” came the voice of the real Speaker. The chaos subsided, but a few MCAs were still lost in the chanting.
“Order, MCA Matayo,” shouted the Speaker. “Take your seat.” The MCA obeyed and calm was finally restored.
“Honourable members, this is a disgrace. Your reaction to a mere rumour is shocking!” he told a now hushed House.
“To the best of my knowledge, there are no plans to suspend our assembly sittings.”
There was a collective sigh of relief. The frowns on many members’ faces gave way to broad smiles.
“However, in extreme cases,” continued the Speaker, “the governor can order the suspension of all county activities, but this is only during extreme cases, like natural calamities and war. What is it, MCA Chonjo?”
“Mr Speaker, right now there is a war. Counties and the senate are fighting over the revenue allocation.
This war is threatening to paralyse operations in the counties. But Mr Speaker, representation, legislation and oversight are critical services which cannot be suspended.
So even if other services are suspended, our sittings must continue!” Chonjo charged and resumed his seat.
“This is not about sitting allowances but service to our people,” said MCA Violata.
Just then, into the chambers bounced MCA Matayo who had stepped out briefly. He was all smiles: “Mr Speaker, we now have the money.”
“What do you mean, Matayo?” asked the puzzled looking Speaker.
“The Senate has just passed the revenue thing,” the MCA announced.
This information almost brought down the House.
MCA Pinto, leader of the majority, was on his feet: “Counties are going to receive the same amount they received last year.
We now need to think of innovative ways of managing our funds since our needs have increased but the money is constant.”
Members began consulting loudly.
“What is it, MCA Chonjo?”
“Mr Speaker, since that is a weighty matter, I suggest that the whole House goes for a retreat to brainstorm on it.”
He got a standing ovation. The Speaker agreed with him. He however spoilt things by adding: “Members, since we are out to save money, I suggest that we be paid half per diem.”
From the members’ reaction, one would be forgiven to think he had insulted their mothers. He withdrew his suggestion and apologised.
We are waiting to the funds to be disbursed before we proceed to a yet-to-be -disclosed resort, to discuss ways of saving money. Kujipanga nayo? – [email protected]