The role of the Speaker of the County Assembly in Kenya is an important role in the County Assembly. A County Assembly speaker is the leader of the County Assembly in Kenya.
Article 178 of the Kenyan Constitution (2010) provides for the position of the Speaker of the County Assembly. Therefore, the role of the Speaker of the County Assembly in Kenya emanates from the Supreme Law (Constitution).
The County Assembly Speaker presides over the sittings of the County Assembly. In their absence, the Deputy Speaker (who should be an elected MCA who is elected by the Assembly to be deputy speaker) should preside over the sittings of the Assembly.
Role of the Speaker of the County Assembly in Kenya
The role of the Speaker of the County Assembly Speaker in Kenya includes the following:
- presiding over the debates of the County Assembly at every sitting of the Assembly,
- maintaining County Assembly attendance register,
- enforce the observance of the Constitution, the Standing Orders, relevant statute and Assembly traditions, procedures and practices,
- disciplining members of County Assembly for misconduct in the county assembly,
- issuing orders and making rules for the regulation of visitors to the County Assembly precincts,
- administer the oath of affirmation or allegiance to Members,
- issue writs for vacant County Assembly seats,
- protect the rights of the minority while making sure that the majority have their way,
- organize the business of the House as he or she is the Chairman of the House Business Committee,
- spokesperson of the County Assembly and shall ensure that the dignity of the County Assembly and by extension, the Assembly, is upheld and its rights and privileges are not abused,
- the Speaker is the final authority on all matters touching on the interpretation and application of the practice and procedure of Assembly at all times.
Qualifications of a county assembly speaker in Kenya
Section 21 of the Elections Act on the Election of county assembly speaker stipulates the following:
The speaker of a county assembly shall be elected by each county assembly in accordance with the Standing Orders of the county assembly, from among persons who are qualified to be elected as members of a county assembly but are not such members.
Therefore, the qualifications of a County Assembly Speaker in Kenya are similar to those of a County Assembly Member (MCA). These are as follows:
- be a Kenyan citizen for at least 10 years before the election;
- not hold dual citizenship;
- not owe allegiance to a foreign state;
- be a registered voter;
- be nominated by a Political Party or is an independent candidate.
Removal of a county speaker in Kenya
Now that we have looked at the role of the County Assembly Speaker in Kenya, how about their removal from Office?
A speaker of a County Assembly may be removed from office by the County Assembly through a resolution supported by not less than seventy-five per cent of all the Members of the County Assembly.
A notice of the intention to move a motion for a resolution to remove the speaker shall be given in writing to the Clerk of the County Assembly, signed by at least one-third of all the members of the County Assembly stating the grounds for removal.
The Deputy Speaker shall preside over the motion for a resolution to remove the speaker.
Before the debate and voting on the motion to remove a County Assembly Speaker, the speaker shall have an opportunity to respond to the allegations on the floor of the County Assembly.
Vacancy in the Office of the County Assembly Speaker
The office of speaker of a county assembly shall become vacant—
- if the officeholder vacates office;
- when a new county assembly first meets after an election;
- if the county assembly resolves to remove the office holder by a resolution supported by the votes of at least two-thirds of its members;
- if the office holder resigns from office in a letter addressed to the county assembly;
- where the officeholder violates the Constitution;
- in the case of gross misconduct on the part of the officeholder;
- where the officeholder is incapable, owing to physical or mental infirmity, to perform the functions of the office;
- where the officeholder is bankrupt;
- if the officeholder dies; or
- where the court sentences the officeholder to a term of imprisonment of six months or more.