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City assembly to resume sittings, consider adjourning indefinitely

The Nairobi County Assembly is set to resume its plenary sessions on Tuesday after a two-week short recess, despite the assembly being hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The city assembly has had a spike in the number of members testing positive for Coronavirus during the third wave that continues to ravage the country.

Nairobi County has continued to be the epicenter of Covid-19 contributing to at least 47 percent of positive cases reported countrywide.

This led to President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 26, asking parliament and county assemblies in the five disease-infected counties of Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Nakuru to go on recess until further notice.

However, Speaker Benson Mutura said MCAs have a full in-tray as they are currently in the middle of a budget-making process and grounding the assembly will not be possible.

The speaker also said the House has a number of reports from the different committees of the House to be considered by the House Business Committee for debate.

He, nonetheless, said he will read the communication by the President to the members to decide on the way forward.

“We are resuming on Tuesday and I will read the communication from the President and then it is upon the members to decide because those powers are with the House,” said Mr Mutura.

“The calendar of the House is constitutional mandate exclusive to the leadership and I or even the President don’t have the powers to dictate what to do. However, we are in the budget making process and so we cannot ground completely,” he added.

Mr Mutura said the assembly has been hit hard by the third wave of Covid-19 but was reluctant to reveal names and the numbers as it would in stigma against the members.

He, nevertheless, said they have instituted precautionary measures, like being the first county assembly to hold virtual sittings, and have also limited in-person meetings within the assembly’s precinct.

“Covid-19 is here with us and we have been hit hard just like any other institution in the country. But we are discussing on the best way to manage it. We are more cautious and we are lucky that nothing serious has happened,” he added.