By Donald Kipkorir
Let Nyeri Swear In Mwalimu Mutahi Kahiga As Her Governor, And Let Him Handpick Deputy Governor
The death of Nyeri Governor in a tragic road accident, has exposed the frailty of life and the hypocrisy of man. The public is in shock that the Deputy Governor is assuming office even before the Governor is buried. And some leaders are in shock that a Primary School teacher will be their Governor. But as the French say, c’est la vie!
Most gubernatorial candidates, choose running mates, who will not cause any threat to them. Dr. Wahome Gakuru, a renowned Economist and Scholar, chose Mutahi Kahiga, a humble Primary School teacher. But the heavens have their own plans.
Our Constitution is very clear in Article 182 (2) that the Deputy Governor assumes office immediately there is vacancy in the Governor’s office. Power abhors vacuum.
In drafting and passing our Constitution, we went into amnesia and forgot to provide what happens next. I want to offer a temporary respite.
Article 180 (6) Of the Constitution says that IEBC shall not conduct Elections for the office of the Deputy Governor. This office is left to the whims of the Governor. The law enjoins the Governor to nominate his Deputy, one who qualifies to be a Governor. Therefore, when a County votes for Governor, they should trust their Governor to have nominated a qualified Deputy.
Once the Deputy assumes office as Mutahi Kahiga will do, he has the freedom to handpick anyone to be his Deputy. In legislative interpretation, any interpretation must not lead to ambiguity, absurdity and unjust conclusion. Surely, even in our amnesic moments, we didn’t envisage that a Governor will govern without a Deputy.
The Constitution was enacted in the present time when we were and are alive. We are the Constitutional Generation … We are the Originalists. The Constitution is therefore alive in our time. We must give it a meaning that we want.
Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th Century French giant of History, Diplomacy and Political Science said that a present generation of great events understand it as it has experienced its “vibrations of which they can still sense in their minds and senses.”
Let the humble Mwalimu of Nyeri be sworn in as the Governor, and due to the lacunae in the Constitution, let him handpick his Deputy, maybe an Economist. There is no law that stops him, and one must not be enacted to control him. We must respect our Constitution with its imperfections till we amend it. The people of Nyeri made their bed, and must sleep on it.