Nyeri deputy governor's approval hangs in the balance - Daily Nation

Nyeri man sues Mutahi Kahiga over Caroline Karugu's nomination

Monday April 30 2018

 Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga SUED

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga addresses Nyeri High School students and their parents during a meeting on April 4, 2018. The nomination of Caroline Karugu as deputy governor has been contested. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOSEPH WANGUI
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A Nyeri resident has sued Governor Mutahi Kahiga over the nomination of Dr Caroline Karugu as his deputy.

Mr Benson Njuki argued that the law that would guide the nomination of a deputy governor in case of a vacancy has not yet been approved by the National Assembly

Thus, Mr Njuki said the appointment of Dr Karugu was irregular.

Through lawyer Muhoho Gichimu, Mr Njuki informed Justice Jairus Ngaah that the County Assembly’s Committee of Appointment already vetted Ms Karugu and is set to table its report on May 2.

SUPREME COURT
The court heard that Governor Kahiga filled the vacancy following an advisory opinion by the Supreme Court dated March 9, 2018 that paved way for governors to appoint deputies.

However, lawyer Gichimu said when the Office of Nyeri Deputy Governor fell vacant there was no law in place and therefore the Supreme Court’s decision cannot benefit Governor Kahiga.

The vacancy occurred after Mr Kahiga was sworn in as the regional boss following the death of Dr Wahome Gakuru in a car crash on November 7, 2017.

"At the time when the deputy’s office fell vacant, the Constitution of Kenya did not have any provision for the filling in of the said position, and neither was there any legislative provision," Mr Gichimu said.

NOMINATION

The lawyer explained that the County Government (Amendment) Bill 2017 is yet to be passed by the National Assembly, therefore there is no law allowing the governor to fill the vacancy.

Ms Karugu, 38, is awaiting the County Assembly to either approve or reject her nomination.

But the lawyer said even the whole vetting process was irregular for lack of constitutional threshold.

"The petitioner in view of the foregoing submits that the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in its advisory opinion remains silent.

"And having been issued three months after the vacancy arose in Nyeri, the said advisory cannot be applied retrogressively," Mr Muhoho argued.

Moreover, the lawyer said that Ms Karugu should be subjected to the nomination process that is undertaken by elected leaders such as seeking approval of the electoral agency, according to Elections Act.

COUNTY ASSEMBLY

The court heard that the nominee should be a member of a political party or an independent candidate, as envisaged in Article 193 (1) of the Constitution.

The hearing will be on May 9.

According to the March advisory opinion, a governor should fill the vacancy within 14 days.

But the nominee will only take oath of office after the respective county assembly has approved him/her within 60 days.

The bill, which was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, states that a vacancy may occur in death, resignation or imprisonment of the incumbent.