Reprieve as City County Finance Officer returns

Nairobi County Acting County Secretary and CECM Devolution and Public Management Pauline Kahiga at Parliament Buildings on 24/04/19. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Operations have resumed at City Hall’s finance department, following the return of Nairobi County CEC Pauline Kahiga who had been ousted by MCAs last week.

Kahiga has now taken control of the office and averted a crisis, which had been occasioned by the lack of a substantive CEC in charge of the docket, threatening a cash crunch in the county.

The finance docket in all the 47 County Governments is critical because it is responsible for the signing and approval of county expenditure and a hitch in the department spells doom for the local government.

Ms Kahiga yesterday intimated that she had resumed her duties and was back to serving the city constituents as from Friday last week.

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 “All is well and the office is wide open and I will continue discharging my duties in the department,” said Kahiga.

She explained that a statement from the Government printer had exonerated her from the illegal ouster by MCAs.

“The Government Printer issued a statement and it was very clear that an acting county secretary cannot perform duties meant to be carried by the Governor,” she said.  

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Last week, a MCAs allied to Governor Mike Sonko stormed Kahiga’s office, demanding for her immediate vacation of the office saying she had failed in her mandate and was occupying the office illegally.

They proceeded to ‘install’ trade executive Allan Igambi as the finance CEC. The ward reps were acting in response to a Gazette Notice dated December 13, 2019, signed by acting county secretary Leboo Morintat, indicating that Kahiga had been degazetted and Igambi appointed her place, albeit in acting capacity.

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Kahiga proceeded to contest the validity of the Gazette notice, pointing out that only Governor Mike Sonko was mandated to make changes in his cabinet as opposed to Morintat.

Government Press Chief Executive Officer Mwenda Njoka consequently rejected saying it was illegal and adrift with the law.

Through a letter dated January 13, 2020, Njoka explained that Igambi’s appointment was done irregularly in contravention of section 35 of County Government Act number 17 and article 179 of the Constitution that bestows such powers on the Governor.

Moreover, the Constitution does not envisage an appointment of a substantive officer by a person in an acting capacity with section 44 of the County Government Act, laying down roles and duties of the County Secretary, which is to communicate rather than appoint.

“The purpose of this letter therefore is to inform you and all relevant Authorities that we have done an appropriate corrigenda in Kenya Gazette, reverting to the status quo prior to the Kenya Gazette notice number 172 of December 13, 2019,” he stated. 

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He went on to claim: “We note that the County Secretary is on an acting capacity and cannot therefore make substantive appointments for a CEC.”The letter was copied to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, Interior  CS Fred Matiangi, Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge, Controller of Budget and Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

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Nairobi CountyPauline KahigaSenate