11 December 2018

Kenya: IEBC - Allow Us to Vet Deputy County Bosses

The electoral agency is seeking the right to vet deputy governors who take the position in the middle of an election term.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati made the proposal in a letter to the Council of Governors.

Mr Chebukati said such nominees must be subjected to the same scrutiny as governors' running mates before a General Election.

Unlike those who run with their bosses on a joint ticket in an election, deputy county bosses appointed during the term of a governor when the office holder resigns, dies or is impeached, are usually not taken through a rigorous nomination.

GAZETTE NOTICE

"Once the governor submits to the commission the name and details of the nominee, the IEBC shall appoint through a gazette notice the county returning officer and his/her deputy to vet the nominee," Mr Chebukati said.

"Subsequent to which the commission shall issue a nomination clearance, a copy of which is forwarded to the governor."

Twice in Nyeri, deputy governors have become governors: when Mr Nderitu Gachagua died in February 2017, and when Mr Wahome Gakuru was killed in a car crash in November of the same year.

The deputies who became county bosses are Samuel Wamathai and Mutahi Kahiga.

They had been vetted before the General Elections in March 2013 and August 2017 respectively.

QUALIFICATIONS

While Mr Wamathai chose not to appoint an assistant, Mr Kahiga named Dr Caroline Karugu the Nyeri deputy county boss.

Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko is yet to name a deputy following the resignation of Mr Polycarp Igathe in January.

"The Constitution vests the exclusive mandate for the registration of candidates and receipt of nomination papers through gazetted returning officers appointed by the IEBC who provide the requisite clearance to candidates after ascertaining their qualifications," Mr Chebukati told council chairman Josphat Nanok.

He added that once the governor receives the letter confirming the qualifications of his or her nominee, it will be forwarded to the county assembly for vetting, after which the Speaker will write to the commission confirming an approval, leading to the gazettement of the nominee.

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