, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 7 – Nyeri Deputy Governor Mutahi Kahiga is set to become the new Governor of Nyeri County following the untimely death of Wahome Gakuru on Tuesday morning.
According to the Constitution and the County Governments Act, if a governor dies, the deputy automatically assumes the governor’s office for the remainder of the term.
The Deputy Governor’s assumption to office scenario was first witnessed in the same County early this year when the then Governor Nderitu Gachua passed on paving way for his deputy Samuel Wamathai to fill in.
The death of Gakuru now puts the jobs of the County Executive Committee Members at stake with Article 179 (7) of the constitution stating that upon the death of a governor, County Executive Committee members cease to hold their office.
That same provision goes on to state that the Deputy Governor is at liberty to pick a new cabinet for the remainder of the term.
The County of Nyeri will however remain without a Deputy Governor as it was the case during Wamathai’s transition to the Governor’s Office.
The Attorney General Githu Muigai is on record in the past where he ruled out Wamathai appointing a deputy, saying he has no powers for only the electoral body can designate one after elections.
This means that if sworn in, Kahiga will stay without a deputy and in case he is unable to execute his duties, the Speaker of the County Assembly will assume office and elections will be held within 60 days as stipulated under Article 182 of the Constitution.
Kahiga while speaking at the Lee Funeral Home where the body of the late Governor lies, mourned the death of his boss describing his death as a big blow to the nation and to the people of Nyeri County.
“It is very unfortunate that we have lost our Governor, he is the second governor we have lost in one year. It is really very sad but we will take it with grace,” said Kahiga.
In his message of condolence, Kahiga called for calm even as preparations of the late governor’s burial get underway.
“The people of Nyeri should be calm, let us walk this through this journey together, we have gone through tragedy before and we have come out stronger and for sure this time again we will come out stronger because Nyeri people are resilient,” he said.
Gakuru who was involved in a grisly road accident on Tuesday morning along the Thika-Murang’a highway, while headed to a local television station for a talk show, was pronounced dead at the Thika Level Four Hospital where he had been rushed for emergency treatment alongside his driver and Personal Assistant who are in critical condition.