The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has cleared the air over the status of the Nairobi County government deputy governor’s position.
This comes after reports in the media indicated that the former holder of the position, Mr Polycarp Igathe, is still the deputy governor of Nairobi as the commission was unaware of his resignation.
But according to IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati, the position is vacant following Igathe’s resignation.
Mr Chebukati says Governor Mike Sonko’s nomination of Disaster Management and Coordination Chief Officer Anne Mwenda for the position in effect means that the office is vacant.
“On January 22, 2020, the Commission received a letter from Governor Sonko nominating a Deputy Governor, thus indicating there was a vacancy, in compliance with Article 180(5) of the Constitution,” Chebukati said on Friday.
The IEBC boss pointed out that they have no legal obligation to gazette the resignation of an outgoing holder of elective office but rather to gazette a new holder of elective office.
“Therefore, the insinuations in the media to the effect that IEBC stated that Mr. Igathe is still a deputy governor and that there are two deputy governors is not only mischievous and malicious but is meant to discredit the Commission,” he said.
He said that on December 18, 2019, IEBC received a request from Nairobi County Assembly, through lawyer John Diro, for an advisory opinion on the status of Nairobi County government as a going concern based on the court ruling barring Governor Sonko from accessing his office and the existence of a vacancy in the office of the deputy governor.
In their response dated January 9, 2020, the Commission said it was not in its mandate to provide direction on whether or not the county government is a going concern.
Mr Chebukati said that as part of the response, the electoral agency stated it had not received formal communication on the resignation of the deputy governor on that date.
It is in light of this response that it was reported on Thursday that the electoral commission said it is not aware of the resignation of Mr. Igathe from the office of Deputy Governor.
Mr. Igathe resigned from City Hall in January 12, 2018, citing his failure to earn Sonko’s trust to enable him to work at the county.
He then joined Equity Bank as Chief Commercial Officer before re-joining Vivo Energy, where he now serves as Executive Vice-President of Sales and Marketing.