BOSSES CHARGED WITH GRAFT

Case on deputy governors acting roles set for hearing

Justice Weldon Korir directed parties to file their responses and appear in court on March 16 to confirm compliance

In Summary

• Three petitions were filed before the High Court. 

• They sought to determine whether deputy governors can act, pending the determination of the cases facing their bosses.

Kiambu Governor James Nyoro
Kiambu Governor James Nyoro
Image: JOHN KAMAU

The High Court has directed parties to file and serve their responses in a case seeking to determine whether deputy governors can take over the running of county governments when their bosses face graft charges.

Three governors were barred from accessing their offices after they were charged with graft. They were Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu), Mike Sonko (Nairobi) and Ferdinand Waititu of Kiambu who has since been ousted and succeeded by his deputy James Nyoro.

In view of the situation, three petitions were filed before the High Court. They sought to determine whether deputy governors can act, pending the determination of the cases facing their bosses. The petitioned were merged and will be heard jointly. 

Justice Weldon Korir directed the parties to file their responses and appear in court on March 16 to confirm compliance. This is after the parties said they were not ready to proceed with the hearing as they needed time to file the responses. 

In one of the petitions, Nyoro had sought court orders declaring Sections 32(4) and (5) of the County Governments Act, 2012, unconstitutional, arguing that it denied him the chance to execute his duties effectively. The section bars deputy governors from executing the duties of the governor in the absence of the county bosses.

Nyoro, through lawyer Kibe Mungai, had wanted to be allowed to exercise such powers as may be necessary, for the execution of the office of governor during the entire period he would be acting as governor.

In the second petition, Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina wants the court to determine whether the deputy governors can take over the running of the counties. Kina said in the petition that there are constitutional obligations in the counties, which require immediate attention.

Through lawyer Omwanza Ombati, Kina argues that the matter is of great public interest because of the constitutional effect of service delivery to the people of Kiambu and Samburu. He claims the absence of the governors has made it impossible for the county finance bills to be signed into laws, a role that is for governors only, so the people have been subjected to an indefinite wait.

Narok Senator also noted that powers belonging to governors, under the County Governments Act, cannot be exercised in ‘absence’, so attempts to do so should be considered illegal.

The third petition was filed by a Kiambu resident who challenged the power of the deputy governor to effect changes in the executive.