A face-off is looming at the Nairobi County Assembly after MCAs vowed to reject the reinstatement of Speaker Beatrice Elachi despite a court ruling that overturned her ouster.
This comes after the Employment and Labour Relations Court on Monday ruled in favour of Ms Elachi, reinstating her as the assembly’s Speaker.
The ruling followed a case she had filed against the county assembly last year after her impeachment in September.
But the ward representatives have maintained their ground that they will not allow Ms Elachi back to the assembly’s precincts, saying that their earlier ouster still stands despite Justice Maureen Onyango citing massive flaws during the censure motion.
The judge dismissed the MCAs’ argument that courts have no powers to interfere with legislative process of assemblies.
Majority Leader Abdi Guyo reiterated that the county legislators still consider Ms Elachi as a stranger as they lost faith in her leadership and are still not willing to work with her.
“We are not willing to work with her and in as much as we respect the court’s ruling, it cannot force an employee on an employer. We are the people that employed her and our decision to impeach her was final,” said Mr Guyo on Tuesday.
He said that the assembly already has an acting Speaker who has been in the role since last year and whom they intend to confirm soon as the substantive Speaker.
The Matopeni Ward MCA urged Ms Elachi to find another job elsewhere to avoid any confrontation that would further dent her public image as it will not be possible for her to be accepted back by MCAs.
“The decision to fire Elachi was final and allowing her back would only amount to the city assembly acting in retrospect. We already have an acting Speaker who is Chege Mwaura and he is doing a commendable job. Once the dust settles we will confirm him as a Speaker in full capacity using the right process,” he said.
On his part, Minority Leader Elias Otieno said that Ms Elachi had lost the goodwill of members while she served as a Speaker, necessitating her replacement with “someone who was more receptive to the members’ needs”.
“To us she is a stranger as 103 members including those from the opposition voted against her and only two voted for her. This is enough proof that they had no confidence in her and so I do not think she can come back to lead the same people who don’t want her,” said the Kileleshwa MCA.
Minority Chief Whip Peter Imwatok criticised the reinstatement of Ms Elachi, arguing that the judge went against a precedent that a court ruling cannot overturn the procedure of the assembly.
He said that Ms Elachi’s impeachment was a political one and could only be solved politically but not through the courts.
“She will never be our Speaker. She has gone through the back door to try and find her way back to the assembly but we will not allow it. She should explore other options such as demanding (payment) for damages but not seeking to be reinstated as our Speaker,” said Mr Imwatok.