City Hall has taken the dispute over the appointment of a finance executive to court.
In a lawsuit against the Government Press, its chief executive and the Attorney-General, Governor Mike Sonko’s administration is seeking to quash the directive that returned Finance executive Pauline Kahiga to office after her degazettement last year.
According to a December 13, 2019 Gazette notice from acting County Secretary Leboo Morintat, Ms Kahiga was replaced by Trade executive Allan Igambi in an acting capacity.
However, Government Press chief executive Mwenda Njoka called the notice illegal.
Mr Njoka said the appointment of Mr Igambi by Mr Morintat did not follow the right procedure, adding that the duty to appoint rests with the governor.
Mr Njoka said the Constitution does not envisage the appointment of a substantive officer by a person in an acting capacity, with the County Government Act giving the role of the county secretary as that “to communicate rather than to appoint”.
“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to inform you and the relevant authorities that we have done an appropriate corrigenda in the Kenya Gazette reverting to the status quo before the notice 172,” Mr Njoka said in a January 13 letter.
“We note that the county secretary is in an acting capacity and cannot, therefore, make substantive appointments for an executive.”
City Hall lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui wants Mr Njoka’s letter quashed and he be compelled to recall the impugned letter.
The devolved government, in the lawsuit, argues that Mr Njoka is granting himself powers he should not have.
It accuses him of acting in an arbitrary manner.
City Hall says Mr Njoka failed to appreciate that its financial affairs and payment to creditors would grind to a halt if Mr Igambi is not recognised as the Finance executive.
Sonko’s administration also complained about being deprived of its lawful powers to guarantee and ensure devolution works.
“Mr Njoka acted under the direction and hand of an external force to abuse his office since there was no objection from him of the original documents tendered before the publication of the notice,” Mr Kinyanjui said.
He added that the actions are contrary to the County Government Act, an abuse of power, oppressive and unlawful.