Will Frustrated Deputy Governors Have the Last Laugh?
A week ago the Isiolo Deputy Governor’s (DG) radio interview was abruptly ended after few minutes on air and the journalist, who was interviewing him, Ahmed Kheir, was subsequently fired. Ahmed Kheir was later appointed director of communications at the DG’s office. According to the owners of the Radio station, the orders were ”from above”. The DG went to the station to air his grievances of exclusion from the government affairs. He accused his boss Dr Mohamed Kuti of sidelining him from the County Government business saying his efforts to seek redress with the County Chief bore no fruits. The DG has in the past few months seen his role reduced to that of the proverbial ”flower girl” and is neither consulted nor informed of the decisions of the government. His office was demolished without his knowledge and budgetary allocations reduced to the ”bare basics”. He complained of been unable to fuel his official car. He was removed from his CEC role after few months, a move then said to have his blessings but appears not to be true.
His Garissa Counterpart fares no better. Few weeks ago he vented his frustrations on Social Media accusing his boss of unilateral decision-making and reneging on their political MOU allegedly drawn before the elections. The role of the Garissa DG is said to be reading the papers and officiating projects pre-approved by his juniors and representing the County Chief in public barazas. ”I am forced to pen down this statement after enduring 22 months with a government that I am part (sic) of but with less authority as agreed in the coalition” said part of his statement signifying his frustration with his boss who was said to be running his government from his younger brother’s kitchen.
His Wajir Counterpart is said to have expressed frustrations and faring worse than his colleagues. He is said to have been denied his official car and has been forced to ”beg for fuel from his juniors” according to sources who spoke to us and asked to remain anonymous. Few days after the County Chief won against the long drawn court petition, he organized for a get-together party at a Nairobi Restaurant but the DG bolted out because he was to ”take orders from the county’s First Lady”, an incident that led to his absence from the ceremony and left tongues wagging that few days after winning against the petitioners, they kicked their deputy in the teeth. His frustration was taken up by some politicians but to no avail it said. The Wajir DG joined forces with handshake team out of frustration. It is reported that his role is to officiate county events only if he is accompanied by the County’s First Lady, a move the DG termed as unpleasant but is too powerless to do anything about.
Nationally, DGs are not faring better as the recent proposed referendums has called for the removal of their positions from the constitution.
And then last week, the God of fortune appeared to smile at the Deputy Governors when Justice Mumbi Ngare of the High Court read a ruling that struck fear in the hearts of County Chiefs and those who were playing the DGs. Justice Mumbi has thrown out an appeal by the Narok Governor to be allowed to resume his office duties as his corruption case continues. Mumbi said its lame to claim that County Government business can not continue if a Governor is not in office. She said the role of the DGs is to represent their bosses in the event of their absence and ruling that if County Governors are charged with corruption they must step aside and the deputies asked to take over!
This ruling has left many looking in the mirror and are said to have been contemplating on how to restore relationships with their deputies. Many Governors, just as happened with Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu who had public break up with his Deputy, are said to be facing charges of theft. Today Waititu has bitten the first bullet and his deputy is set to take over. The noose is tightening against several others and as the EACC, DCI and ODPP appear to be biting harder than was anticipated, many Deputy Governors could be smiling on their way to the top seat without an election. It will be interesting to observe how they will turn tables on their tormentors when they take over the levers of power, who they will appoint as their stand-in DGs and how they will treat them. Very interesting times ahead.