New law dictates Governors to appoint deputies

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Governors will now be legally compelled to appoint their deputies should a vacancy arise in county governments.This follows the signing into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta of the County Government (Amendment) Bill 2017 on Thursday.

The inking of the bill now puts Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who has not had a deputy since January 2018 when Polycarp Igathe resigned in a huff, on the spot.

The bill was sponsored by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who has since been kicked out of the lofty perch of Senate majority leader.

The law now provides that a county boss nominate another deputy within 14 days of the occurrence of a vacancy and forward the name to the county assembly for either approval or rejection within 60 days.

In coming up with the bill, Senator Murkomen sought to cure the lacuna in the Constitution as well as in the County Government Act of 2012.

The drafters of the Constitution did not envisage a vacancy upon the death, impeachment or resignation of deputy governors.

At the time Mr Murkomen was coming up with the bill, Nairobi and Nyeri counties were facing constitutional and legal moments.

At the time, the senators were scratching their heads on how best to deal with the situation until the Supreme Court, in its advisory opinion of 2018, ruled that a governor can nominate another deputy within 14 days and forward the name to the county assembly for vetting.

Although Mr Mutahi and Mr Barchok went on to nominate their deputies in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling, Mr Sonko did not.

But whether the Nairobi governor, who was charged in court last year over corruption related scandals and consequently barred from accessing his official county office, will nominate his deputy is a matter for the courts to decide.

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