Seal power handover gaps

The 2010 Constitution has been touted as one of the most progressive ever for its wide-ranging provisions to enhance governance. However, its implementation in the past decade has not been without challenges, highlighting some of the shortcomings that need to be tightened.

This partly explains the clamour for constitutional reforms to address some of the oversights that the framers of the supreme law of the land either ignored or believed would be dealt with later.

On the leadership of the counties, the constitution makers thought they had adequately dealt with the succession question in case of death in office, resignation or impeachment.

The governor comes in with a running mate, who becomes his deputy. On the governor’s exit, the deputy is sworn in as the new boss and appoints an assistant. The next person in the line of succession is the speaker of the county assembly.

Impeached Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko dilly-dallied for over two years and failed to appoint a successor after his deputy resigned. With Mr Sonko himself kicked out by MCAs who found him guilty of contravening the law and abuse of office, there was no deputy and, therefore, the county speaker will serve as an acting governor for 60 days.

The impending costly by-election would have been avoided had the former Governor Sonko followed the law.

The muddle at City Hall is not going away soon, as interested parties resort to litigation, causing even more confusion. A reported attempt to vet a Sonko appointee, whose choice had been challenged in court, just introduces another dimension to the saga. It is hard to see how this will be tenable, as the appointer has himself been shown the door.

Nairobi residents are being denied leadership they deserve as some people pursue their personal interests. Any meaningful reforms to the Constitution must plug the loopholes that crooked people can exploit to deny the people the right to determine who leads them. 

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