Remarks by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on December 16, 2022 to the effect that he would not allow Nairobi City County Governor Johnson Sakaja and his county government to move on with plans to decongest the City Centre by relocating public service vehicle termini affecting vehicles from the Mount Kenya region were unconstitutional, and amounted to undue and crude attempts to interfere in the running
of the Nairobi City County government. KNCSC wishes to remind the Deputy President that the Oath or Solemn Affirmation of due Execution of Office of Deputy President in the Third Schedule to the Constitution of Kenya and that the Deputy President took more than once on September 13, 2022 at the Moi International Sports Complex binds him to “always truly and diligently serve the people and the Republic of Kenya, and to diligently discharge his duties and perform his functions in the said office, to the best of his judgment, and at all times, when so required, faithfully and truly give counsel and advice to the President of the Republic of Kenya, and do justice to all without fear, favour, affection or ill-will”.
It is instructive that at no point in the Oath or Solemn Affirmation of due Execution of the Office of the Deputy President does the Constitution make reference to “Mount Kenya region” that the Deputy President seems to have been gravitating towards in his recent comments, nor does it make reference to any of the more than 40 diverse ethnic communities that constitute the Republic of Kenya.
By dint of being the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Rigathi Gachagua stands reminded that at no point should he allow himself to degenerate into a tribal chief, or use his position to unconstitutionally propel himself to another position including that of tribal chieftaincy not contemplated in the Constitution.
Besides, Article 6(2) of the Constitution that addresses access to services within the context of the relationship between the two levels of government is clear that “the governments at the national and county levels are distinct and inter-dependent and shall conduct their relations on the basis of mutual respect, consultation and cooperation”.
At no point does the Constitution contemplate the condescending, haughty and patronizing attitude and comments of the kind that were recently attributed to the Deputy President. As a matter of fact, it is partly as a result of meddling and unwarranted patronage by the national government that most of the devolved units of government have not been able to deliver on the objects of devolution as set out in Article 174 of the Constitution.
While the objects of devolution expect the devolved units to foster national unity by recognizing diversity, give powers of self-governance to the people and enhance participation of the people in the exercise of powers of the State in making decisions affecting them, and to recognize the right of communities to manage their own affair in furtherance of their development, such brazen interference and influence as the Deputy President sought to assert on the affairs of the Nairobi City County have made it difficult for county governments to operate and delivery on their mandate and core functions.
When President William Ruto formed his government, he assigned his deputy an additional role related to devolution of DP coordinating intergovernmental relations between the national government and county governments. This however must be done in a structured and respectful manner, taking into account that there is the Council of Governors that brings all county governors together and the intergovernmental
What the public expects of the Deputy President, therefore, is to use this position in the performance of this role by revamping the devolved units through sufficient allocation of funds commensurate with the functions they are constitutionally mandated to perform, and ensure that such funds reach county coffers in good time for effective service delivery, not incitement and sabotage designed to make their work difficult as the DP seems to be doing.
The Kenya National Civil Society Centre (KNCSC), therefore, calls on the Nairobi City County Governor Johnson Sakaja to ignore detractors who, to this day and age, are still unable to think beyond where they were born and march on with plans by the City County government to decongest Nairobi by relocating all public service vehicle (PSV) termini outside the City Centre.
Suba Churchill is a Human Rights Defender & Trainer and Social Justice Activist