Bomet County headquarters was a scene of drama on Friday morning after the election of a new speaker.
Acting speaker Wesley Kiprotich announced the election of Nairobi-based lawyer Nelson Mutai as the new speaker. Soon after this announcement, MCA for Embomos ward Hon. Kiplangat Robert Serbai grabbed the ceremonial mace to disrupt the special seating.
The mace is intended to represent the official authority of the County of Bomet.
Serbai was, nevertheless, stopped by the Sergeant-at-Arms who also serves as the custodian of the mace. He was forced out of the chambers.
According to Serbai, his actions were prompted by rampant bribery at the assembly, alleging that some members were given cash presents to vote for Mr. Mutai. He also claimed that Konoin sub-county where he represents people has been denied crucial positions in the South Rift county.
“For how long will Konoin be sidelined in this county? The position of the county secretary and that of the executive committee member for agriculture which were previously held by persons from the area have all been taken to other sub-counties,” he lamented.
In the meantime, jubilant supporters of the new speaker celebrated his election. According to Kenya’s constitution, the speaker is the third most ranking official of the county who ascends to the top job in case a vacancy occurs in the office of county governor and that of deputy county governor, or if the deputy county governor is unable to act.
A vacancy occurs in the office of county governor and that of deputy county governor, or if the deputy county governor is unable to act.
Further, a speaker officially receives the resignation letter of a governor if he/she decides to resign.
The new Bomet speaker emerged the winner after garnering the support of 27 MCAs, beating his closest rival, Weldon Chirchir, who got three votes.
Other contenders Cheruiyot Tamogei got one vote, Cherotich Joan two, Edwin Sitienei two, and Wilfred Lesan, who got zero votes.
Mutai, being a state official, will have to resign his role as an advocate of the High Court of Kenya at Kandie Mutai & co. Advocates before commencing his new role.
He will be entitled to attractive compensation terms given that speakers remain the highest-paid county assembly officials following the new policies and guidelines on perks released by the SRC. The new guidelines give speakers Kes. 259,875 monthly salary, a Kes.20 million mortgage, a Kes.4 million car loan paid at 3 percent interest.
A speaker is also housed by the assembly and provided with utilities like furnishings and house attendants.
There was drama late last year when impeached Kisumu speaker Onyango Oloo failed to return properties assigned to the speaker. They included executive display tables valued at Sh580,000, leather sofa sets valued at Sh756,000, coffee tables valued at Sh360,000 as well as a king-sized bed.