Drama unfolded in the Baringo County Assembly on Wednesday as Members of County Assembly (MCAs) engaged in a heated debate regarding a motion aimed at ousting the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Public Works, Transport, and Infrastructure, Lekonaya Kibwalel. The motion was based on allegations of public misconduct and his appearance, particularly his unkempt facial hair.
The motion to remove the CECM from office was presented by Jacob Cheboiwo, the MCA representing Kisanana Ward, and it was deliberated for a duration exceeding four hours. MCA Cheboiwo accused the CECM of attending county events with a disheveled appearance, and at times, inebriated, which he claimed violated the Public Officer Ethics Act.
According to MCA Cheboiwo, “The CECM contravened section 20(1) of the Public Officer Ethics Act which requires a public officer to conduct their personal affairs in a manner that upholds public confidence in the integrity of their office. It has been observed that the CECM openly consumes alcohol in public spaces, thereby tarnishing the reputation of the office he holds.”
He further asserted, “The CECM has violated section 9 (f) of the Public Officer Ethics Act, which mandates state officers to maintain an appropriate standard of dress and personal hygiene. It is evident that the CECM maintains an untidy beard and dresses casually even during official functions of the county government, which is unbecoming of a public office holder.”
MCA Cheboiwo added, “On one occasion, it was observed that the CECM attended a public function while heavily intoxicated, requiring the intervention of fellow MCAs to shield him from public humiliation.”
However, there were MCAs who opposed the motion, criticizing the County Assembly for addressing what they considered a “frivolous” matter when the county was grappling with more pressing issues such as insecurity and hunger.
One MCA, Mark Sialo from Mogotio, expressed his disapproval, stating, “I cannot stand here as an honorable member, paid by the people of Mogotio, and discuss someone’s beard. We all have beards, and I deliberately did not shave mine because I also wanted to show that I’m a man with a beard… the leader of the Majority is also bearded.”
Another Nominated MCA, Sharon Jerotich, criticized her colleagues for raising an irrelevant motion in the House, stating, “Baringo, people are watching us discussing beards, someone taking alcohol… I know some of the members in this House, myself included, indulge sometimes. You see a speck in someone’s eye and don’t see a log in yours.”
In the final vote, 22 MCAs rejected the motion, while 18 supported the removal of the CECM from office.