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Elachi, Gichana upstage Ngwele in fight for Nairobi Clerk

The supremacy battle between Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi and Clerk Jacob Ngwele has taken another twist with a showdown now looming between rival factions at the assembly.

This is after the Speaker and MCAs allied to her approved Edward Gichana, the head of internal audit and risk management at Nairobi County government, as the new Clerk.

This has, however, sparked tension at the assembly with the rival faction in support of Mr Ngwele digging in saying that their man is going nowhere.

Gichana was secretly sworn in on Friday morning.

Speaker Beatrice Elachi and Edward Gichana. PHOTO | COLLINS OMULO

As if anticipating the development, Ngwele made a return to the office on Thursday after being out for nine months. Nonetheless, the Speaker and MCAs in support of her have vowed to treat him as a “visitor”, saying they now have a new Clerk.

Mr Ngwele defended his return saying he had been cleared by the Ethics and Anti-corruption (EACC) as well as the existence of a court order saying that the status quo should be maintained.

Vacancy in the office of the Clerk

“There has never been a vacancy in the office of the Clerk as claimed by the Speaker. There was a consent order recorded by the courts that I resume my duties,” said Mr Ngwele.

However, Speaker Elachi maintains that Mr Ngwele is a “visitor” at the assembly as he has never been formally appointed as the assembly’s clerk since his name has never been tabled in the assembly for approval.

“Ngwele has come as a visitor. He is no longer the clerk and he has no orders to hold to say he is the clerk of the assembly,” said Ms Elachi.

The Speaker said that, three months ago, the assembly’s service board announced a vacancy in the office of the Clerk, an advertisement was made last month and 11 individuals made it to the shortlist for interview.

Nairobi County Assembly “new” Clerk Edward Gichana with Pauline Akuku, deputy clerk in charge of administration, and assembly sergeant. PHOTO | COLLINS OMULO

“We have followed the procedures and recruited a clerk. Edward Gichana was our number one with 79.1 points followed by Gad Otieno with 69.63 points and Sammy Kiptoo who got 66 points,” said Speaker Elachi.

Intimidating her

She alleged that MCAs opposed to her have been intimidating her that if she does not pick their choice then they will bring back Mr Ngwele.

“We cannot play politics telling us you want a specific person and you are not telling us why the others are wrong yet they have performed well. Let us respect what the court has said. Let us stop this intimidation because we are not taking the person they want,” she said.

But Waithaka Ward MCA Anthony Kiragu accused the Speaker of going rogue name-dropping President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Premier Raila Odinga’s names in order to achieve her selfish agenda.

“The Clerk is Ngwele and he is here courtesy of a court order. The speaker has been kicking Ngwele out which has resulted in her hindering our core mandate of oversight because we are all intimidated,” said Kiragu.

Nominated MCA Sylvia Museiya said that Ngwele was reinstated as a result of a court order and so was Elachi.

“Elachi is causing a lot of havoc to this assembly and the entire county government. We have a record 18 cases of infighting between the speaker, MCAs, the Governor and the majority leader because she does not respect court orders. Ngwele is our clerk and is going nowhere he is here to stay,” she said.