Lawmaker Chege Mwaura has been elected Acting Nairobi Speaker following Beatrice Elachi’s impeachment on September 6.
In the running were Mwaura, who is Ngara Member of County Assembly (MCA) and Majority Chief Whip, and Nominated MCAs Mary Arivisa and Mary Njambi, famed for the ‘mafirifiri’ cry.
Ms Njambi, who had been proposed by Kariokor MCA Millicent Mugadi, dropped out of the race to support Mr Mwaura.
Minority Chief Whip and Makongeni MCA Peter Imwatok, who proposed Ms Arivisa, withdrew saying she was not at the assembly at the time.
There was drama during the vote on Tuesday as Ms Arivisa later came shouting that she did not ask anyone to propose her.
She engaged in a struggle with the orderlies, who took her out of the meeting because she made for the speaker’s chair while swinging her crutch.
Mr Mwaura garnered 84 votes, being the number of members in the House, as his two competitors withdrew their nomination.
“I declare Chege Mwaura as the duly elected acting speaker with immediate effect,” Deputy Speaker John Kamangu said after announcing the number of votes.
The acting speaker took oath of office and immediately assumed his role by adjourning the assembly until 2.30pm on Wednesday.
In his address, he promised to be open and respect all members.
While asking his colleagues to offer support through ideas, Mr Mwaura pledged to take the assembly “where it is supposed to be”.
“I assure you that the office of the acting speaker will serve members in an open manner and adopt an open-door policy. I will also be mindful of members’ affairs and give the media full access to the business of the Assembly,” he said.
He defended his election saying it was not an illegality as it was in line with Article 178 (2) (b) of the Constitution and Article 9 (4) of the County Governments Act.
The County Government Act, 2012 states that in the absence of the speaker, or in case of matters that directly affect the speaker, the assembly shall elect a member to act, as contemplated under Article 178 (2) (b) of the Constitution.
The Constitution further says that a sitting of the assembly shall be presided over by the speaker or an elected member of the assembly should the speaker be absent.
The lawmakers considered electing an acting speaker while awaiting a court’s decision on Ms Elachi’s fate.
Majority Leader Abdi Guyo had said that they would look for another person to steer assembly affairs, albeit in an acting capacity, until the ousted speaker’s case is concluded.
“We are guided by the County Governments Act, which directs that in case of any issue that directly touches on the speaker; the assembly shall nominate someone to serve in acting capacity. As the assembly resumes today, the deputy speaker will be in charge,” the Matopeni Ward MCA said earlier.
Ms Elachi was impeached on allegations of gross misconduct and abuse of power. She obtained court orders temporarily reinstating her to the position until the case is heard on September 28.
Mr Imwatok had said members could elect someone to replace Ms Elachi if they felt her absence caused a leadership vacuum.
“As far as we are concerned, Elachi is no longer the speaker of this assembly. She might have been reinstated but as her employers we do not recognise her as a substantive speaker,” he said.