MCAs turn county assembly chambers into battleground
A film producer seeking an actor for the role of Jack Bauer, the TV series character known for beating the living daylights out of opponents in 24, would be advised to call on the Nairobi County Assembly.
The producer will be spoilt for choice as there are many characters in this assembly who believe in solving disputes through kicks and fists, undressing others and throwing chairs and water bottles at rivals.
You will find more excitement if you meet Dandora Area IV MCA Daniel Oria Odhiambo, who, just on Tuesday last week beat up at least two of his colleagues; or his buddy County Assembly majority leader Elias Otieno (Kileleshwa Ward) who has himself kicked a fair share of fellow MCAs and other leaders.
Mr Oria, seemingly, has a way of planning his time for his opponents. On the morning of last Tuesday, he and nominated MCA Nancy Luchiri, engaged in a fight that lasted several minutes, until the sergeant-at-arms rushed in and stopped them.
The fight broke out during a joint committee meeting held to address a strike by doctors, leading to the suspension of the meeting indefinitely.
In the afternoon, Mr Oria came back to the assembly and went for the throat of Viwandani Ward Representative Samuel Nyangwara, as the latter was about to present a petition for the impeachment of Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero.
Of course, Mr Oria’s fellow “honourable” colleague, Mr Otieno, could not watch such a spectacle from the sidelines.
The pair, who were later joined by other Cord MCAs, turned the County Assembly into a battleground.
Mr Otieno faces several assault cases in court. He is the MCA who allegedly led in the roughing up of former ODM executive director Mr Magerer Lang’at in November, 2014.
In April, 2016, he also rained blows and kicks on Kayole South MCA Elizabeth Manyala. She was later admitted to Nairobi Hospital.
Her crime? Mrs Manyala, who is the chairperson of the Nairobi County Assembly Women’s Caucus, had declined to approve funds for use by a group of women who were to travel to Mombasa for games.
In his defence, Mr Otieno said Mrs Manyala walked to his office and threatened to beat him up.
In the unbelievable happenings in almost all the 47 County Assemblies, Nairobi is not a unique case.
Political leaders from at least half of the 47 counties assembly have written history with some very ugly and nasty fights during debates in the House.
From stripping colleagues naked, throwing rotten eggs at opponents, running away with the mace, to mass brawls, County Assemblies have been a cause of much shame and embarrassment for the country.
Just days before Mr Nyangwara was “disciplined” for trying to embarrass his county chief, as his aggressors put it, several MCAs exchanged blows during a joint committee meeting held to address a strike by doctors.
And when it’s not about their own issues, then it’s about national issues, which should, technically, not concern MCAs.
One such incident happened in June, 2014, when Jubilee and Cord MCAs fought after sharp differences over Cord leader Raila Odinga’s calls for national dialogue.
The fight started as Minority Leader Abdi Guyo told the assembly that Mr Odinga was not qualified to call for national dialogue because he was not the President.
Whereas Nairobi is the centre of Kenya’s progress, Nyeri County, where almost every MCA has a degree, has also seen its fair share of fisticuffs in recent years.
For the last four years, there have been as many fights involving Nyeri County Assembly members as the number of bills that they have passed.
In August, the MCAs fought over the divisive move to impeach Governor Nderitu Gachagua. During the squabbles, rival MCAs tore off the clothes of Chinga Ward representative Paul Ngiria.
In Mombasa County, MCAs fought for two whole days, in chaos that was later blamed on deep-seated mistrust and tribal loyalties.
Homa Bay MCAs, in February, turned the assembly into a battlefield, after differences arose over composition of four assembly committees considered “very lucrative”.