• Mandago says courts should not issue unconstitutional rulings that stop governors from performing their duties.
• He said Kenyans suffer when governors are blocked from office as most programmes stall.
Governor Jackson Mandago has cautioned the courts against allowing themselves to be used to remove governors from office over graft allegations.
The Uasin Gishu county chief said blocking governors from accessing their offices after being charged is unacceptable, adding it causes irreparable damage to their reputation even if they are finally acquitted. Every suspect is innocent until proved guilty, he said.
He said Kenyans suffer when governors are blocked from office as most programmes stall.
"We're not refusing to adhere to the law or be accountable but want the law to be applied fairly as per the Constitution," Mandago said.
He spoke in Cheptiret, Uasin Gishu, and urged the courts to give rulings that are in tandem with the Constitution, instead of accepting to be used to hound governors and other officers out of office.
"There is no way we should be told not to go to the office. It’s not proper that if you are charged you step aside from office, yet you have not been found guilty."
The second-term governor faulted the recent court rulings that barred Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) and Moses Lonolkulol (Samburu) from stepping into their county offices after they were charged with corruption.
"What will happen if the governor is later found to be innocent and who will pay for damaging the names and reputation of those who will be found innocent?" Mandago asked.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission are investigating several governors over corruption claims.
The orders against Waititu and Lenolkulol have caused panic among the county bosses and the Council of Governors is said to be planning to challenge the rulings.
Meanwhile, Mandago criticised the Building Bridges Initiative team for not collecting views from all Kenyans. The BBI taskforce was in Eldoret two months ago, but Mandago claimed it did not collect residents' views.
He also said counties should not be denied increased funding over graft claims, arguing that the vice is rampant everywhere. He said even Opposition leaders, including Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi who have been speaking loudly against corruption, had been linked to suspect deals.
"Odinga was named in the Molasses plant scandal and Mudavadi in the Anglo Leasing scam," he said.
(Edited by F'Orieny)