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Reprieve for Pauline Kahiga as MCAs' bid to remove her fails

Thursday January 23 2020
Kahiga

An undated picture of Nairobi's Finance Executive Pauline Kahiga. PHOTO | COLLINS OMULO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By COLLINS OMULO

The bid by City Hall to replace Finance Executive Pauline Kahiga with Trade Executive Allan Igambi has flopped.

The Government Printer has rejected a purported Gazette notice that announced the change, terming it illegal. The notice degazetted the appointment of Ms Kahiga effective December 5, 2019.

In a letter to acting County Secretary Leboo Morintat, who made the appointment, CEO of the Government Press Mwenda Njoka said: "The purported notice is not in accordance with article 179 of the Constitution and other applicable laws."

"The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to inform you and all relevant authorities that we have done an appropriate corrigenda in the Kenya Gazette, reverting to the status quo prior to notice number 172 of December 13, 2019," Mr Njoka added.

He explained that the duty to appoint solely rests with the county governor as stated in section 35 of County Government Act and article 179 of the Constitution.

LIMITED POWERS

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The Constitution does not envisage an appointment of a substantive officer by a person serving in an acting capacity.

In addition, the role of the county secretary is to communicate rather than appoint, according to section 44 of the County Government Act.

"We note that the county secretary is [serving in] an acting capacity and cannot, therefore, make the substantive appointment of a CEC," Mr Njoka said.

The January 13, 2020 letter was copied to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, his Interior counterpart Fred Matiang'i, Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge, the Controller of Budget and Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

KAHIGA's ARGUMENTS

On Monday, severalMCAs and rowdy youths stormed Ms Kahiga's office to forcefully evict her and subsequently installed Mr Igambi as the new Finance Executive.

The ward representatives accused her of being in office illegally and insisted that she should only run the Lands docket.

However,  Ms Kahiga questioned the timing of the change, more than a month after it was allegedly made.

She challenged the validity of her degazettement, arguing that only Governor Mike Sonko can make changes in the cabinet.

Ms Kahiga noted that article 179 of the Constitution gives only a governor the power to either suspend, fire or appoint a CEC; and not a county secretary, whether acting or substantive.

“The acting county secretary is a junior staff as he is a chief officer. Which law gives an acting CS authority to make such changes on behalf of the governor?"

But Mr Morintat stated that he acted under instructions from Mr Sonko.

“I did not gazette it myself but on behalf of the governor upon instructions. He was not in office on that day. That is why I forwarded the notice to the Government Printer.”

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