Governors deny snubbing Mutahi Kahiga swearing-in ceremony

Justice Jairus Ngaa administers oath of office to the 4th Governor of Nyeri, Mutahi Kahiga at the Nyeri county government offices.

None of the 46 governors attended the ceremony and there was no representative from the Council at the event dominated by prayers for the new Governor.

The Governors have denied claims that they snubbed the swearing in ceremony of the new Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga. 

The County heads through the Council of Governor said the invitation to the ceremony came in late and due to the short notice the Council registered its apologies.

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen represented the Senate while Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary represented the National Government.

“The Council of Governors was invited to the ceremony on Sunday evening through an email and the communication was immediately shared with the Governors. However, due to the short timing of the ceremony, the Council registered its apologies,” a statement by the Council Director of Communications Andrew Teyie stated.

The statement said Council of Governor’s Chairman Josphat Nanok is out of the country but had already through his official twitter handle congratulated the new Governor.

Kahiga was initially scheduled to be sworn in last Thursday to succeed the late Dr Wahome Gakuru who perished in a grisly road accident along the Nairobi- Nyeri Highway. The swearing event was however indefinitely put off at the last minute following consultations with the Council of Governors.

It has emerged the County Government and the Council of Governors had resolved the new Governor takes oath of office after the burial of the late Governor slated for Saturday.

Kahiga had indicated he wanted to bury his late boss first but was convinced otherwise due to legal and administrative considerations critical for the smooth running of the County Government.

 “I even spoke to the Controller of Budget who also pointed out there are certain processes that require me to take up office as soon as possible,” he said.

The decision to delay the swearing-in was also shelved following speculation that there were powerful forces are out to block Kahiga from assuming office. 

Governors Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) and Nderitu Mureithi (Laikipia) who attended prayers in honour of the late Gakuru in Nyeri on Sunday where they voiced their support for the new Governor.

In February, Nderitu Gachagua, the first Nyeri Governor  died in a London Hospital, after losing  his battle against pancreatic cancer and his  Deputy Samuel Wamathai was sworn into office after three  days.

Some Governors led by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko have suggested that the Constitution needs to be amended to extend the time in which a deputy governor is sworn into office should a governor die while in office.

Sonko said county residents and the nation should be given time to mourn the departed before their Deputies take over their mantle.

“I don’t want to politicize the death of our colleague, but again, this issue of once a governor dies his deputy has to take over immediately… In fact, I have just learnt that the Nyeri deputy governor, Mutahi Kahiga, has to be sworn in today or tomorrow,” Sonko said after Gakuru’s death.