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BBI report seeks to cure challenge of Deputy Governor’s appointment

Governor Mike Sonko who has failed to appoint his deputy for two years. /CFM-FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report is out, with proposals to cure the challenge posed by governors who fail to appoint their deputies, like Nairobi County where Mike Sonko has not named his deputy for two years now.

Sonko’s deputy Polycarp Igathe resigned soon after their win, citing frustrations from Sonko and has since moved back to the corporate world.

The BBI report now proposes that “in case a vacancy occurs in the Deputy Governor’s office, and the Governor fails to appoint a replacement within 90 days, the Speaker of the County Assembly, with the approval of the Assembly, shall nominate a Deputy Governor.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta reading the BBI report given to him on Tuesday. /PSCU.

The 2010 constitution is not clear on how long a Governor should take to appoint a Deputy, after the office becomes vacant, either upon death, impeachment, resignation or Deputy Governor’s assumption into the Governor’s office.

The Supreme Court in March last year gave an advisory opinion, ruling that the office of the Deputy Governor ought not to remain vacant until the next General Election.

The court issued an advisory that a Governor has 14 days to nominate a person to the office after which the County Assembly, within 60 days, will vote to either reject or allow the individual to assume office.

In Nyeri, the office of the Deputy Governor fell vacant after Mutahi Kahiga assumed the office of the Governor following the death of Governor Wahome Gakuru through a road accident.

Kahiga later appointed Caroline Karugu to fill the vacant post.

The same case was in Bomet where the office of the Deputy Governor remained vacant after Hillary Barchok assumed office after the death of Joyce Laboso.

Barchok settled on Bomet County Assembly Speaker Shadrack Rotich as his deputy.

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Also contained in the BBI report under the county leadership proposals is that, the running mate of a Governor should be of the opposite gender, as part of measures of ensuring gender equity in leadership.

President Kenyatta, DP Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga with members of the task force that prepared the BBI report. /PSCU.

The report has, however, emphasized on the need to strengthen devolution by retaining all the 47 counties, but instead encourage counties to form voluntary regional economic blocks.

“Perhaps there is a way that the 47 Counties can be maintained as the focus of development implementation and the provision of services, while representation and legislation are undertaken in larger regional blocs,” reads part of the report.

Also emphasized in the report is the need to strengthen the oversight independence of county assemblies by ensuring that the transmission and management of County Assembly budgets are insulated from arbitrary or politically motivated interference by County Executives.

As part of oversight, the proposal wants Assemblies to require new governments to complete the projects initiated by former governors by Treasury withholding funds for new projects unless old projects are completed.

“A Governor who wants to abandon an old project must formerly communicate to the public credible reasons,” states the report.

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