Why Nairobi MCAs have rejected Rachel Shebesh for County Speaker

Rachael Shebesh
  • Rachel Shebesh lost her Nairobi County Woman Rep seat to ODM’s Esther Passaris
  • Hon Alex Sanaika Ole Magelo has been serving as the Speaker of the Nairobi City County Assembly since March 2013.

Jostling for the powerful Nairobi City County Assembly Speaker’s seat has kicked off days after the August General Election was concluded.

The Speaker’s plum job attracts above Sh283,500 monthly package besides other fringe benefits.

The County Assembly Speaker’s position is open to outsiders who are voted in by the sitting MCAs. Only the Deputy Speaker has to be a sitting MCA.

Eight members have thrown their hats into the race, four of them having lost parliamentary seats. The Nairobian has established that immediate former Nairobi Woman Rep Rachel Shebesh, who lost to Nasa’s Esther Passaris, was being fronted for the Speaker’s position. But the maneouvre was dropped after members guardedly opposed the move owing to her confrontational nature.

“Her combative nature was not going to work well with MCAs, considering they tend to be quarrelsome too and need a patient, understanding Speaker” a Jubilee MCA told The Nairobian.

The newcomers to the assembly gunning for the Speaker’s position include County Chief of Staff George Wainaina, former Makadara MP Benson Mutura, Kamande Kamau who lost Roysambu constituency seat and Karen Nyamu who lost Nairobi Woman Rep post.

Wainaina has been accused by Nairobi governor-elect Mike Sonko as a close ally of outgoing governor Dr Evans Kidero. 

Also jostling for the seat are immediate former Speaker Alex ole Magelo who lost Kajiado West parliamentary seat, outgoing Karura MCA Kamau Thuo, Deputy Speaker Ken Ngondi and Vesca Kagongo who was a member of Nairobi County Assembly Service Board.
The eight contestants bet on House members - Jubilee with 45 MCAs against Nasa’s 39 and one from Narc-Kenya’s one MCA, are the majority and likely to carry the day..

Mutura said he was not being fronted by powerful people in the Jubilee Party to take the post as it was being claimed.

Thuo who expressed confidence in winning the seat said some challengers have created a perception that they are front-runners to influence voting.

“I am relying on my networks in the previous House. The assembly needs someone who understands the MCAs and how they work,” said Thuo. Out of the 85 elected members, only 21 MCAs have made a comeback, with Jubilee, previously a minority party becoming the majority in the new House.