Bomet Deputy Governor Stephen Mutai addressing the press in his office over alleged sacking by Governor Ruto..Mutai said he will stay put.PHOTO BY GILBERT KIMUTAI/STANDARD
Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto has kicked out his deputy for allegedly absconding duty for two years.
Mr Ruto said to ensure that service delivery is not interrupted, he had nominated the county chief of staff, Geoffrey Langat, to replace Stephen Mutai as acting deputy governor.
But Mr Mutai dismissed the alleged sacking, saying he would not be intimidated to leave office without due process.
“The alleged sacking by Ruto is unconstitutional and for the record, I am in office to stay unless due process is followed to remove me,” Mutai said.
Ruto accused Mutai of failing to turn up for work despite drawing public funds and having access to a county government vehicle.
He said he had officially relieved the deputy governor of all his duties to allow him to concentrate on his campaigns ahead of the Jubilee primaries in the race for the Bomet governorship.
“I’m aware the deputy governor is busy with his campaigns and I cannot allow service delivery to be interrupted and its now official – I am appointing an acting deputy governor to take over,” Ruto said.
He made the announcement while attending the swearing-in ceremony for the newly-appointed Education Executive, Sally Towett.
The governor ordered Mutai to return all government property in his possession with immediate effect.
“The deputy governor should return all county property and ensure that he is cleared to go and campaign for the seat he is seeking,” said Ruto.
He accused the deputy governor of failing to surrender the county vehicle for servicing by the Transport department.
“The governor has hidden the vehicle and it has not been serviced for the past one year and it is time he surrendered it,” said Ruto.
He also asked county staff to stop taking orders from Mutai, saying he had ceased to be the official deputy governor and, therefore, could not represent the county in any forum.
In a memo circulated to staff Tuesday morning, Ruto said Mutai should no longer masquerade as the county’s deputy governor.
The governor said he would not allow his government to lag behind because of uncooperative officers.
Mutai said he was shocked to arrive in the morning only to find his office occupied by the alleged acting deputy governor.
“I had to ask the guy to leave my office peacefully. He should also respect the law and avoid being used to fight me. The chief of staff is fully aware of the procedure of removing me. I am happy he did not resist when I asked him to leave,” Mutai added.
Speaking in his office, Mutai fought back Ruto’s claims that he had absconded duty, saying the governor stopped facilitating his office, adding that for two years, he has had to work without fuel for his vehicle and allowances.
“It is in the public domain that for two years, I tried forcing myself to work with him but he withdrew every benefit that I was entitled to as deputy governor, leaving me with one vehicle that I fuel using my own money,” he said.