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Nyeri deputy Governor to be sworn in as CECs rendered jobless

Nyeri Deputy Governor Samuel Wamathai (centre) flanked by Executive Committee members during a press briefing at the county offices on Friday. He will be sworn in tomorrow following Governor Nderitu Gachagua’s death. [PHOTO: MOSE SAMMY/STANDARD]

The Nyeri County deputy Governor Samuel Wamathai will be sworn in tomorrow.

Wamathai will step in to fill the shoes of Governor Nderitu Gachagua who died in a London Hospital early Friday after a long battle with cancer.

Assembly Speaker David Mugo yesterday confirmed that the House was already seeking legal advice from the Attorney General Githu Muigai on the transition and swearing-in process. The Judiciary will provide a judge to oversee the swearing-in ceremony.

“There are comprehensive provisions on transition in the Constitution and as such, the county affairs will continue uninterrupted,” Mugo told a press briefing at the county headquarters in Nyeri yesterday. The Constitution stipulates that upon the death of a governor in the second half of the term, the deputy will serve the remaining term and may vie for the seat for two other terms.

Article 179 (7) of the Constitution also prescribes that upon the death of a governor, County Executive Committee members cease to hold their offices. The Deputy Governor takes over and is at liberty to pick a new Cabinet for the remainder of the term.

Yesterday, the CECs were holed up in a meeting until late. The county declared that formal handing over would take place tomorrow. Up until yesterday, CEC member for Health and Acting for Finance and  Economic Planning Dr Charles G Githinji, Stanley K Miano (Tourism and Culture), Lucy Wanyitu (Special Programmes), Robert Thuo (Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives), Erastus Karanja (Education) and Timothy Ngunyangi (Water and Environment) were still in possession of their official vehicles awaiting further direction. The CECs term ends immediately their appointing officer is declared dead, and they are not allowed to transact any business on behalf of the county.

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Lawyer Wahome Thuku explained that the law does not affect other appointees, who include Chief Officers and Chief of Staff.  The law is blind on the positions whose appointing officer is the governor,”   said Thuku.

The late governor’s brother, Mr Rigathi Gachagua, yesterday said the family was working with the national and county governments on burial arrangements as they await the arrival of the   body from London. 

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