Murang’a County Assembly member, Grace ‘City’ Nduta, has found herself in a whirlwind of controversy following a critical comment she made about her colleagues on a local WhatsApp group. The comment has led to her being summoned for disciplinary action, a move that has sparked public backlash.
The Kanyenya-ini MCA had engaged in a heated debate in a group named ‘Murang’a County Politics’ over the alleged death of a prominent lawyer due to a lack of oxygen and ambulance service. During the discussion, Ms. Nduta castigated the assembly members for their “misplaced priorities” and failing in their oversight duties, consequently absolving the executive of blame.
The disciplinary committee’s summons, issued in response to her comment, cites potential infringements on “the dignity or integrity of the House” and contravention of several constitutional and legislative provisions. The letter also invites Ms. Nduta to a hearing set for Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at 9 am.
Residents and social media users have, however, criticized the summoning of the MCA as an attempt to stifle dissenting voices. Some members of the group defended Ms. Nduta’s statements as an exercise of freedom of speech. Others suggested that the summon might be driven by political vendetta given that both the assembly speaker, Johnson Mukuha, and the secretary, Kuria Thuita, hail from the same constituency as Ms. Nduta.
Speaking about the controversy, Ms. Nduta maintained her right to comment on county issues. The group administrator, Mr. James Kamau, echoed her sentiments, arguing that the assembly should not have summoned her. Pius Kinuthia, another group member, labelled the move as “ridiculous,” accusing the assembly of trying to censure leaders who represent the people.
The move by the assembly to summon Ms. Nduta over a social media comment has triggered a broader debate on freedom of speech, the rights of elected representatives, and the boundaries of acceptable criticism within political circles. As this debate continues to unfold, it sets a precedent for how such incidents may be handled in the future.