Kiambu Deputy Governor James Nyoro has encountered his first hurdle as acting governor when a county executive rejected his attempts to transfer him to another department.
In a letter dated August 19, Finance Executive Kigo Njenga told Nyoro that he could not honour his transfer to the Trade and Tourism docket, since by doing so he would be breaking the law.
Njenga told the deputy governor that he had no powers to transfer him.
“This is a kind submission and not a refusal to obey your directive but since I am under oath to protect the Constitution and the laws of Kenya, I have reservations on your application of the reference section of the County Government Act 2012 as referenced and the attestation in your letter as signed,” reads Njenga’s letter.
Nyoro had transferred the executive in a letter dated August 15, which was copied to County Secretary Martin Njogu.
“Pursuant to Article 179(5) of the County Government Act, 2012 you are hereby re-assigned from the department of Finance and Economic Planning to the department of Trade and Tourism. You will hand over your current office and assume your new office immediately,” reads the letter.
The CEC told Nyoro that being a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya, he needed to seek clarification on the matter since by not doing so he would jeopardise his career and face disciplinary action.
“Further, the directive interferes with urgent county business... in that several commitments have been done especially the statutory audit, pending bills, staff remuneration due in the next 12 days, audit queries before the assembly and Senate, the fiance bill and presentation of budget policy statement,” said Kigo in the letter.
Kigo also wrote to county attorney Waithaka Wanjohi, seeking an advisory opinion on the transfer.
On August 20, Wanjohi responded, agreeing with Njenga’s stand.
The county attorney said even though the court issued orders barring Governor Ferdinand Waititu from office, the court did not remove him as governor.
“It is instructive to note that you were appointed by the governor and he alone is mandated by Section 31 and 40 of the County Governments Act to dismiss a CEC and that power has not been delegated to the deputy governor,” reads the opinion.
Wanjohi said the deputy governor cannot reassign or remove a CEC from a post they were appointed to by the governor with the approval of the county assembly.
“In my opinion, the law is clear that the deputy governor cannot nominate, appoint or dismiss any serving CEC, chief officer or county staff that has been appointed or nominated by the governor and neither can he appoint or nominate any new CEC or chief officer nor can he re-assign a CEC to another new department,” he said.
Governor Waititu was last month charged alongside his wife Susan Ndung’u, six other Kiambu County officials and a businessman for conspiracy to defraud the county of Sh588 million through an irregular road tender.
Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi released the governor and his wife on Sh15 million and Sh4 million cash bail, respectively.