, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has confirmed receipt of his deputy’s resignation letter and is set to issue a comprehensive statement at a later date.
Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi who was copied by Polycarp Igathe in the letter also confirmed having received the resignation notice.
An aide to Elachi, however, told Capital FM News by phone that the Speaker’s office was yet to take any action on the Igathe’s resignation notice which is expected to take effect on January 31.
Igathe, formally Vivo Energy Chief Executive Officer, took most residents of the capital by surprise when he announced his decision to quit barely hours after a television interview during which he fiercely defended City Hall’s performance record since the new administration took office on August 21, 2017.
“Dear Nairobians, it is with a heavy heart that I resign my seat as elected Deputy Governor of Nairobi City County effective 1 pm on January 31, 2018,” Igathe tweeted at 6:12pm Friday.
“I regret I have failed to earn the trust of the Governor (Sonko) to enable me to drive the administration and management of the county,” he added in the tweet.
His formal resignation letter read in part: “Serving Kenyans, in Nairobi, has been a high honour and distinct privilege. I am grateful to Nairobians and yourself (Governor Sonko) for giving me the opportunity to serve.”
Igathe also said in a thread of tweets on Friday evening that his resignation was an action taken in good faith “to avoid abusing or betraying my oath of office to Kenyans, Nairobians and my family.”
The ex-Vivo Energy chief was picked to deputize Sonko on May 17 out of a pool of candidates that included former Starehe lawmaker Bishop Margaret Wanjiru.
“In order to ensure, policy, development and political affairs of the county are run effectively and efficiently, I have brought on board a technocrat who will work alongside other county professionals to deliver on our mandate,” Sonko said at a press briefing held at the Jubilee Party headquarters on May 17.
“After weeks of consultations, the man who will deputize me at City Hall is Polycarp Igathe,” he declared.
In his acceptance speech at the time, Igathe pledged to work closely with Sonko to deliver on their manifesto.
“Our mission is simple: to make Nairobi clean and bright, safe and secure, liable and hospitable and make Nairobi the true gateway and door to our great motherland,” Igathe said.
“I represent all small, medium and big business interests who know this city accounts for 60 per cent of the country’s the Gross Domestic Product. It cannot be left to people who have no clue,” Igathe told reporters gathered at the party’s media centre.
Speaking at the event, Deputy President William Ruto described the Sonko-Igathe alliance as a dynamic duo amid cheers by party stalwarts among them National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Senator Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi).
“I can say without fear of any contradiction that under the leadership of these great gentlemen we have a winning ticket for this great city of Nairobi. This city will have the most sensitive people-centred leadership that we have been looking for,” Ruto said.
During an exclusive interview with Capital FM News on May 20, Igathe promised to restructure the public service at City Hall with a view to improving efficiency.
He promised to steer clear of politics and focus on the city’s economy while Sonko handles politics.
“What we’re a looking for in Nairobi is geometric progression, not an arithmetic progression. We’re looking for a real deep change not only of the hardware but also the software,” Igathe said.
“We’re going to create a New City Hall and leave the old one in the past. A City Hall that is aligned to the National Government; that has coherence in strategy with what the Central Government wants to achieve.”
Igathe’s exit has raised questions on the fate of the position of a Deputy Governor upon vacation by the occupant.
Article 182 of the Constitution provides no remedy for such an occurrence.
Article 182 (2) only provides for the succession of the Governor, by the deputy, if his/her office falls vacant.
Nyeri County has been the only devolved unit that has seen Governors serve without substantive deputies.
Following the death of Nderitu Gachagua in February 2017, his deputy Samuel Wamathai served the remainder of the term without a deputy.
In November 2017, Nyeri lost its second governor, Wahome Gakuru, his deputy Mutahi Kahiga has since taken over albeit without a substantive assistant.