Governor Mutai, his deputy battle petitions over performance

Kericho Governor Erick Mutai and his deputy Fredrick Kirui. [File, Standard]

Kericho Governor Erick Mutai and his deputy Fredrick Kirui are battling petitions at the High Court and County Assembly respectively over concerns on their work performance.

While a resident has moved to the court challenging Mutai for overlooking his deputy and delegating executive duties to junior staffs, another resident has petitioned the assembly to summon the deputy governor for being absent from work since February.

Richard Kipkemoi has sued Mutai for appointing Rosemary Rop, the Water CEC to run the county affairs between April 24 and May 3, 2023.

According to a letter dated April 19, Mutai appointed Rop to be in charge of all matters in the executive office of the governor.

"You are hereby appointed to be in charge of all matters at the Executive Office of the Governor while I am away from April 24, 2023, to May 3, 2023,” read part of the appointment letter copied to deputy Governor Fredrick Kirui.  

In his petition, Kipkemoi claims that the declaration by Mutai to delegate his executive power to a member of the county executive violates the Constitution and the County Governments Act.

The decision communicated by the Governor in the letter he said amounts to a reclassification of the executive structure of the County and an attempt to redefine the role of the Deputy Governor.

The petitioner said in so doing, the governor stripped the deputy governor his roles and delegated the same to a junior officer.

The petitioner said the court should thus issue a declaration that empowers the deputy governor to act as governor in the absence of the latter.

The court, he said should further issue a declaration that by dint of Article 259(3) of the Constitution, the exercise of the functions of the executive office of the governor ought to devolve to the deputy governor whenever the governor is absent from office.

"An order of permanent injunction be and is hereby issued restraining the 1" Respondent from delegating the roles of Interested Party or reclassifying the Constitutional office of the deputy governor otherwise than in compliance with the Constitution and the law," read the petition.

On the other hand, Robinson Kemboi, a resident of Kapkugerwet ward in Ainamoi consistency claims Kirui has been absent from the office from February 1 to May 2.

The prolonged absence from office by the DG according to Kemboi caused significant disruption in the function of the county and has led to a lack of progress in important projects and initiatives.

Kemboi wants the County Assembly to consider his motion and to surcharge Kirui’s salary and allowances for the days he has been absent.

“The Deputy Governor has been wasting taxpayers' money and must be addressed, his absence has resulted in unnecessary expenditure on his salary and allowances which have been paid without any work being performed,” he said.