Nyeri leaders on Sunday came out strongly to deny claims of a plot to block the swearing-in of Deputy Governor Mutahi Kahiga as the county boss.
The event is set for Monday.
Word has been going round that Mr Kahiga is being compelled to step down to pave the way for a by-election that would usher in a new governor and his team.
Mr Kahiga, however, dismissed claims that he has been under pressure to resign, following the death of Dr Wahome Gakuru in a road accident last week.
He made the remarks as former Senator Mutahi Kagwe also denied allegations that he was among leaders in the county attending night meetings in a bid to block the swearing-in of Mr Kahiga as governor.
The deputy governor said the leaders accused of piling pressure on him to resign, on the contrary, had pushed him to take the oath of office before the burial.
Mr Kahiga wanted to wait until the governor was buried. “I need to correct the impression that has been created that I was under pressure not to be sworn in. I had made a personal decision to give my brother a decent send-off before being sworn in,” he said.
He added: “I wanted to ensure a dignified funeral for our leader and mentor, but having listened to the leaders, I am left with no choice but to take this legal step.”
The deputy governor was responding to claims of night meetings being held by prominent politicians and businessmen opposed to his assumption of office.
Mr Kagwe, who vied unsuccessfully for the governor’s position in the August 8 elections, said no one could change what the Constitution stipulates concerning the assumption of office when a county boss dies.
“Our Constitution is very clear that if a governor dies, the deputy automatically takes over. Any debate on the contrary is in futility,” he said. He noted that it was not time to discuss whether Mr Kahiga should be sworn in because the matter is sealed by the Constitution.
“If there are any meetings to be held, they should be aimed at unifying the county,” he said.
Meru teachers have been demanding that Mr Kahiga be sworn in on Monday.
“When Governor Nderitu Gachagua died, his deputy Samuel Wamathai was sworn in immediately. We wonder why Mutahi Kahiga has not been sworn in,” said Mr Caxton Miungi, Kenya National Union of
Teachers’ executive secretary for the Mt Kenya Eastern region.
The clergy yesterday led prayers in Nyeri town following the loss of two governors in a year.
Dr Gakuru is the second Nakuru governor to die, after Mr Gachagua, who died while undergoing treatment in a London hospital on February 24.
Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, his Kiambu counterpart Ferdinand Waititu and Gatundu MP Moses Kuria yesterday visited their former colleague’s home in Kirichu village, where burial arrangements are under way.
The governors also joined the residents in prayers.
“This is not the time to fight but to facilitate an easy and smooth transition. It is your responsibility to ensure that the things he (Dr Gakuru) stood for are honoured,” said Mr Muriithi.
Mr Waititu termed Dr Gakuru’s death a great loss to the Council of Governors and the country.