Uncertainty has gripped counties whose governors lost in party nominations over whether they will still have the will to carry out their duties after voters handed them a vote of no confidence.
It is feared the three-month window between now and the General Election could give an opportunity to looters to plunder county resources like it happened in 2013 when county councils were dismantled. During that period, Nairobi County lost at least Sh500 million while references for 129 properties disappeared.
Governors Kinuthia Mbugua (Nakuru), Samuel Wamathai (Nyeri), Cleophas Lagat (Nandi), Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Joseph Ndathi (Kirinyaga), William Kabogo (Kiambu) and John Mrutu (Taita Taveta) were casualties in the hotly contested nominations which end tomorrow.
Yesterday, the ODM Elections Board announced that Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma lost to Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o.
The Constitution is silent on what happens if a governor loses during nominations, something that could give lawmakers an incentive to change the law. The Assumption of Powers Bill which would have entrenched in law the hand-over process of power from one governor to the next was passed in the Senate last year but is yet to be debated by the National Assembly. Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, who sponsored the Bill, says the country is in “one hell of a risky scenario.”
“Remember the law says that when a governor leaves office, he leaves with his entire cabinet. This includes the Chief of Staff who has all the county secrets,” he told Sunday Standard.
Kinyanjui triumphs, governor cries foul
Yesterday, the Council of Governors (COG) stayed clear of the matter, insisting it is a political process which does not concern them.
“Those are party issues which we cannot comment on because we are technocrats,” Lucy Omogeni, COG’s Chief Executive said.
“Until the governors meet, we are not at liberty to talk about anything since we have no role in that. But as much as I know, the governors are still there until after the elections are held,” she said.
County governments receive money from government on a quarterly basis, meaning the governors who have lost have just a fresh tranche of cash to spend.
Dr Adams Oloo, who teaches political science at the University of Nairobi (UON), says it would be suicidal for them to attempt anything outrageous because of their exposure and vulnerability as lame duck executives.