Standoff After Kericho County Assembly Speaker Chases Away Journalists
Mutai had directed the Sergeant at Arms to chase away about 15 journalists who had gone to cover the session
Kericho County Assembly Speaker, Patrick Mutai and his Deputy, Erick Bett, clashed on Friday, January 13 after the former kicked out journalists who were meant to cover a special sitting to consider the supplementary budget.
Mutai had directed the Sergeant at Arms to chase away about 15 journalists who had gone to cover the session, who were deployed from media houses such as Nation Media Group (NMG), Royal Media Services (RMS), Standard Media Group (SMG), K24 as well as journalists representing local vernacular radio stations.
"Who told you to come here? Get those guys (media) out of here. Let them follow the proceedings online," Mutai told security officers.
Kericho County Assembly premises in this photo taken on November 11, 2022. /DAILY NATION
However, the online link to the session, which was aired on Facebook, was pulled down after being active for less than five minutes before the audio was cut.
The move led to a standoff between Mutai and Bett, with the latter having earlier given the media the go-ahead to cover the session, something that angered Mutai.
"Who is in charge here? I am the Speaker and I have said the media will stay out. That is final," Mutai told the Deputy Speaker in front of onlookers. Security officers then followed his orders and kicked journalists out.
Chilchilla Ward MCA Hezron led four MCAs in helping the Speaker enforce his orders and chase away the journalists.
It was expected that the sitting would be messy due to recent House leadership changes announced last weekend in Nakuru, where Kamsian Ward MCA Mr Philiph Rono was picked as the new Majority Leader to replace Kapsoit ward MCA Paul Chirchir.
The stand-off further proved the sharp division in the leadership of the county assembly that has changed for the third time in four months.
A video later emerged showing the chaos that erupted during the special sitting, with panic screams heard amidst MCAs clashing physically with each other after the talks had failed to bear fruit.
The 47 Members of the Kericho County Assembly had reconvened hardly a week after House leadership changes were effected for the third time. The sitting also came two days after Mutai received an endorsement of the changes from the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party Secretary General Veronica Maina.
The supplementary budget was tabled in the assembly two weeks ago, in which if passed, will give Governor Erick Mutai the impetus to roll out his development agenda and manifesto.
Here's the video courtesy of NTV:
Chaos witnessed in Kericho County Assembly; MCAs were having a special sitting to deliberate on house leadership when a wrangle ensued. pic.twitter.com/fo951kchM3— NTV Kenya (@ntvkenya) January 13, 2023