Two deputies fight for Nairobi assembly clerk’s office

Nairobi County Assembly

Ward representatives are pictured during a session of the Nairobi County Assembly on December 3, 2020. PHOTO | NMG

The Nairobi County Assembly faces a fresh supremacy battle after two deputies claimed control of the vacant office of the Clerk.

This follows a Court of Appeal order last Friday which barred the current officeholder Edward Gichana from office, pending the hearing and determination of an appeal lodged by former clerk Jacob Ngwele.

The County Assembly has two deputy clerks, Adah Onyango, who is in charge of legislative affairs, and Pauline Akuku, who handles administrative affairs.

Speaker Benson Mutura, as the chairperson of the Nairobi County Assembly Service Board, announced on Monday morning that Ms Onyango will take over in an acting capacity.

This is after the Court of Appeal had further restrained either the office of the Speaker or the County Assembly Service Board from advertising, short-listing or appointing a substantive holder of the office pending the determination of the appeal.

“I wish to inform you the decision of the Board in a meeting held on Monday, June 7, to appoint you as the acting clerk as we await the court verdict,” read a letter by Mr Mutura to Ms Onyango.

But in a swift rejoinder, Mr Gichana handed over to Ms Akuku an hour later, setting the stage for a titanic battle over the control of the office.

“In compliance with the aforementioned ruling and considering the prevailing administrative circumstances in the county assembly…I wish to inform you that during the period of my absence, you shall take over and perform the functions, duties, and responsibilities of the Office of the Clerk of Nairobi County Assembly in an acting capacity,” read the letter by Mr Gichana, which is also copied to Mr Mutura.

There has been protracted tussle since 2018, leading to the hounding from the office of Mr Ngwele with Mr Gichana taking over as his replacement last year. The office of the clerk is a pivotal position as the holder, as the accounting officer of a county assembly, is the signatory of the assembly’s accounts, hence in charge of its finances.

The clerk is also the secretary to the assembly’s service board, is responsible for marshalling legislative measures passed by the assembly as well as being the chief adviser to the Speaker in the exercise of all his powers and functions, among others.