The office of a governor in Kenya is established under Article 180 of the constitution. The governor is elected through the universal suffrage.
Currently there are three governors who have been barred from accessing their offices because of various charges they are facing in courts. The reason for this is that by accessing their offices, the governors will interfere with evidence as their offices are scenes of crime. This has put the governors in awkward position and giving other governors who are not sitting well with law, nightmares.
The governor is the Chief Executive Officer of the County Government. Once he or she is barred from accessing his or her office, the operations of the county government will technically come to a halt. Those functions he or she is supposed to attend to personally, as governor, will not run. The governors are supposed to implement county legislation, appoint County Executive Members and assent to County Bills among other crucial functions. If a governor is barred from accessing his or her office, these functions will not be carried out.
As much as the governor’s office is a scene of crime, he or she should not be barred indefinitely from accessing the said office. Our judicial wheel is slow and a case may take almost five years to be heard and determined with finality. That is the duration a governor is supposed to be in office. In such a case, the governor will not be able to deliver promises and mandate to the electorate as he or she was technically barred from doing so.
The judicial officers should bar the accused from accessing their offices in a specific time. They should for example, bar them from accessing the offices within a time of around five months in which the investigating agency should collect all the evidence it needs to support its case. The governor’s office cannot remain a scene of crime forever. The evidence may decay and disappear by itself.
This barring of governor’s from accessing their offices indefinitely is not good for county leadership. These orders will cripple some counties as the governor cannot deliver as expected. In my opinion the barring of access to office by governors should be for a specific time to allow the investigating officers to finalise their investigations and gather their evidence.
Advocate of the High Court of Kenya
Phone No.: 0706751606