NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – Deputy Governors from across the country have kicked up a fresh storm, arguing that the Constitution does not stipulate how they can be impeached or removed from office.
Through the Deputy Governors’ Forum, the leaders – who are elected on a joint ticket with Governors – say the Constitution should be amended to spell out their removal from office and also clearly set out their roles and responsibilities.
The debate has been sparked by a vote at the Embu County Assembly which last week kicked off the impeachment of Deputy Governor Dorothy Nditi and Governor Martin Wambora. The matter has since been escalated to the Senate for debate.
But the Forum’s Chairperson Evelyn Aruwasa indicated that there are no guidelines within the law on the work of Deputy Governors.
She pointed out that the Senate should not impeach Nditi as this will be unlawful.
“When it comes to the President, it provides clear provisions on how a President can be impeached. It is the same for a Deputy President – there are clear provisions on how a Deputy President can be impeached,” she said.
“But now we are saying there is ambiguity when it comes to the Governor and Deputy Governor. Whereas the Governor has got provisions for his or her impeachment, the Deputy Governor does not have the same so we are tying the impeachment issues of the Deputy Governors together with their roles.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Isiolo Deputy Governor Mohamed Gulleid who stated that there is no provision that stipulates that if the Governor is impeached, his deputy should also be removed.
“The law does not say that if the Governor is impeached, the Deputy Governor also leaves office. That is not true. The law does not say that. The law created two separate offices,” he stated.
“We indeed have a problem because when the drafters of the constitution had put Chapter 11 that deals with matters of devolution, I think, the intention was that there would be cooperation and a working relationship between the two senior executives within the county.”
Through her lawyer Kibe Mungai, Nditi argued that if removed, the clause that provides for the replacement of the Governor by the Deputy Governor shall be subverted.
She further pointed out that the simultaneous removal of the governor and the deputy governor will undermine devolution and has urged the Senate not to debate the resolution by the County Assembly.
In an affidavit, she indicated that she cannot be jointly responsible for actions and omissions of the Governor in the course of performance of his duties.
She further stated that the doctrine of separation of powers requires that where there are serious issues of interpretation of law, the courts should first interpret the law before any action can be taken.