A voter in Kiambu County has moved to court to stop Deputy Governor James Nyoro from assuming executive powers in the absence of suspended Governor Ferdinand Waititu.
Bernard Mburu, in his application filed at the High Court, accused Mr Nyoro of being power-hungry and capitalising on Waititu’s misfortune to exercise executive powers he does not have.
Nyoro's actions, he added, could plunge the county into chaos and paralyse operations in several institutions.
“There is no law that allows him to be the acting governor and start issuing directives through executive powers he does not have. His decisions are a recipe for chaos since they do not have the blessings of the elected governor,” swore Mburu.
Waititu was suspended from office last month after being charged with conspiracy to steal from his own government through the irregular award of Sh588 million tender for road construction.
A day after Waititu was blocked from accessing his office, Nyoro took over and announced that he would be the acting governor until his boss was cleared.
Nyoro then moved fast to consolidate his position as acting county chief by reorganising the county cabinet through a gazette notice published on September 4 where he appointed Wilson Kangethe as county executive for finance and Francis Kago as county executive for trade.
But Mburu argues that the deputy governor has set a dangerous precedent that could turn chaotic once Waititu resumes office and decides to sack his deputy’s appointees.
“His decision to assume power is very dangerous to devolution as it is likely to happen every time a governor is either sick or temporarily away from office. It will also create a power struggle between governors and their deputies who will do anything to have them suspended,” said Mburu.
He added that all county chief executives were vetted by the county assembly and found to be fit to hold the positions, and that Nyoro "cannot just wake up and re-assign them duties in areas they were not vetted on".
His lawyer Samuel Gichigi submitted that the deputy governor, not being the legally mandated appointing authority of executive members, has no powers to dismiss or re-assign any officer appointed by the suspended governor.
Mr Gichigi stated that Nyoro’s "thirst for power" will create a stalemate likely to interfere with service delivery in the county by creating two centres of power.
The petitioner is seeking an order to suspend executive decisions made by the deputy governor pending determination of the suit.
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