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Some counties yet to fill positions in executive committees

POLITICS
By Standard Team | April 18th 2018
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui

Incomplete county executive committees are affecting the rolling out of development projects in several counties.

In Nakuru, Baringo, and Kericho counties, the administrations are in limbo because of delays in completing the appointment of executive committee members and chief officers, who are critical in the running of county affairs.

In Nakuru, nine months in office, Governor Lee Kinyanjui has yet to fully constitute his team.

One of his appointees to the position of county executive for infrastructure, Joseph Mburu, declined to take up the position after being vetted by the county assembly’s committee on appointments last year.

It was not clear why he turned down the appointment but the governor has asked another member of his cabinet to act in the department.

Last year

Five chief officers appointed late last year have not been cleared by the assembly.

The governor said there was no cause for alarm and that his government was up and running.

“Yes, it is true that my cabinet is still incomplete, but Engineer Elizabeth Wanjiku, the county executive for lands, housing and physical planning, is also acting in the department of infrastructure," he told The Standard.

However, a senior official at the county intimated that the governor was unhappy with the assembly for failing to approve all his nine appointees to the position of chief officer.

“He is angry with members of the county assembly. The appointment of chief officers was done last November. The assembly vetted some in December but up to now only four have been approved. We suspect sabotage,” said the official who did not want to be named because he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the governor.

Two weeks ago, the House approved four chief officers - John Muchina (finance) Rose Tume Abduba (gender, culture and social services), Enos Amuzunzu (agriculture, livestock and fisheries), and economic planning’s Kennedy Momanyi.

The approval of the other five is pending before various sectoral committees that have yet to submit their reports for debate and approval.

The delay to fully constitute the cabinet has impacted negatively on the process of preparing the 2018/19 budget.

Last week, the assembly raised the red flag over the unprecedented delay by the executive in submitting five crucial documents in the budget-making process.

Members of the county assembly claimed they were unable to properly execute their mandate of legislation, oversight, and representation due to delays from the office of the county executive member for finance, Joseph Kiuna, in submitting various budget documents.

Protracted battle

In Kericho, Governor Paul Chepkwony's protracted battle with the county assembly has prevented him from fully constituting his cabinet.

It all began with the rejection of Alice Mutai, who had been nominated to take over from Paul Chepkwony (no relation with the governor) as agriculture, livestock, and fisheries executive.

This has left Mr Chepkwony, who was moved to the agriculture docket in June 2014, holding the docket on an acting capacity.

During the vetting, the committee, which was headed by the speaker, Dominic Rono, observed that Dr Mutai, who holds a PhD in counselling psychology from Egerton University, did not have the qualification and experience to head the agriculture docket.

But the governor has taken the rejection of Mutai in his stride and lined up several tasks for Chepkwony.

The county assembly has locked horns with Governor Chepkwony's administration over the creation of 'non-existent offices'.

“Whereas the governor nominated and the county assembly approved Eng Dan Kuley as the agriculture department chief officer, the county public service board issued him a letter appointing him to the livestock and fisheries docket. However, the office doesn’t exist in law, leading Eng Kuley to reject the position,” said Kapsoit ward representative Paul Chirchir.

The MCA added that a determined governor last week nominated Lilian Kerio to take up the livestock and fisheries chief officer’s position, but the assembly rejected the nominee.

In Baringo, Governor Stanley Kiptis was faulted for his appointment of executives and chief officers, leading to several court cases.

Since he assumed office seven months ago, the governor has no chief officer to assist him implement his agenda.

The appointment of his 10 executives was contested in court.

Rumenya Konyi, a resident, filed a petition against the governor, the county assembly and the speaker, saying the nominees were unqualified, incompetent, and unfit to hold office.

Unqualified, incompetent

Mr Konyi said the governor was in total disregard and violation of the law.

He also cited failure to include the marginalised, minority groups, youths, and persons with disabilities in the list of nominees.

Efforts by Konyi to bar the swearing in of the nominees failed as the ceremony was conducted in the early morning of November 13.

The case is pending in court.

The position of chief officer was advertised thereafter and 40 people candidates were shortlisted.

The 40 were among 100 who had applied for the position.

Twelve were nominated and their names presented to the county assembly for vetting.

Chief officers

The governor sacked nine former chief officers on February 28, leaving their offices un-operational.

Five residents went to court to seek orders to have the nomination, vetting, and appointment of new officers stopped.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa of the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi allowed the application and the governor's decision to nominate chief officers contained in a list dated March 1, 2018, was stayed.

In Uasin Gishu, there has been a delay in forwarding the names of successful candidates for the chief officer post to the assembly.

Public service board

Last year, the county's public service board advertised for the positions in 16 departments and later shortlisted the applicants in January. More than 1,200 people applied for various positions.

The board, under the stewardship of Joseph Tanui, was required by law to select three names and forward them to Governor Jackson Mandago for approval before sending the list to the assembly for more vetting.

A similar situation is facing Elgeyo Marakwet. The county leadership advertised for the positions but has not shortlisted any names.

The officers who were selected in 2013 are still in office.

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