Disarray after Homa Bay speaker abolishes minority posts

Homa Bay county assembly MCAs leave the plenary after deliberation on April 24, 2020. IMAGE/COURTESY

Homa Bay county assembly was the scene of angry protests on Tuesday evening following attempts by acting Speaker Godfrey Anyango to abolish the minority leadership positions.

MCAs resumed sittings following a three-week recess to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

But some MCAs led by Anyango had been conducting special sittings in different places outside Homa Bay town.

Some MCAs boycotted the special sittings.

On Tuesday when they resumed, Anyango announced he had a communication to make.

He then read a statement saying the assembly did not qualify for minority leadership positions.

He argued that majority of Homa Bay MCAs were in ODM or the Nasa coalition, which the party is part of.

The assembly has 60 MCAs, 40 elected while 20 are nominated. Of those 58 belong to ODM.

The other two are John Njira of West Karachuonyo elected on a Wiper ticket while Paul Adika of Lambwe was voted as an independent.

Anyango argued that Njira’s party belongs to Nasa, which forms the majority coalition while Adika has no party.   

“In view of the above, I declare that all the minority leadership positions in the county assembly are hereby abolished and should be vacated forthwith,” the statement read.

With that, all hell broke loose as some MCAs stood and shouted loud protests, forcing Anyango to suspend the sitting prematurely.

More than 15 MCAs who were against the decision called for dissolution of the assembly if minority leadership positions would not be recognised.

Eliphalet Osuri (Ruma Kaksingri), Walter Muok (Kanyadoto), Julius Nyambok (Homa Bay Central) and Adika said the assembly had been plunged into a constitutional and leadership crisis.

Osuri said the assembly could not work without members from the minority side.

“The existence of the minority side is a creation of the law. It is an illegality and an irregularity to abolish the minority positions. It cannot happen and shows a high level of incompetence,” Osuri said.

Since the 2017 General Election, Njira has been the minority leader and deputised by Adika.

But in March, Anyango announced Kabuoch North MCA George Okelo of ODM to replace Njira while Kaksingri West MCA Peter Oriema of ODM replaced Adika.  

Since the replacements, the assembly has had leadership wrangles. 

On Tuesday, Nyambok said they would not allow Anyango to abolish the minority leadership positions.

“We’re calling for dissolution of the assembly should Anyango and his group insist on abolishing the positions,” Nyambok said.

Muok and Adika said the assembly’s Public Accounts and Investment Committee would not be well constituted if the minority leadership positions are abolished.