58 days to 2019 but Nairobi has no deputy governor
The city deputy governor position became vacant 12 days into the year and with only 58 days left in 2018 and 298 days after the Supreme Court gave guidelines on how a governor can pick an assistant, there is still no replacement.
Governor Mike Sonko’s press service director Elkana Jacob told the Sunday Nation on Friday that the appointment can happen “any time” but for observers, it is more like waiting for Godot.
“The appointment is in the pipeline and as you are aware, there are only two people left on the shortlist,” Mr Jacob said, referring to Ms Jane Weru and Ms Karen Nyamu.
Earlier in the year, Mr Sonko made public a list of four women he said he was considering to replace Polycarp Igathe — his running mate in 2017 who resigned after just four months in office.
Mr Igathe said he had failed to earn Mr Sonko’s trust. He is the managing director of Equity Bank.
Mr Sonko’s actions are a far cry from Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga’s.
Just a month after the Supreme Court’s advisory on how a deputy governor’s position can be refilled, Mr Kahiga nominated Ms Caroline Wanjiku his deputy.
She was vetted by the county assembly and sworn in on May 4.
For the Nairobi county boss, his announcement on October 26 meant he has dropped former Starehe MP and assistant minister Margaret Wanjiru and Ms Agnes Kagure.
“The selection of a deputy governor is complicated and delicate, with motivations at play from political and commercial interest to Jubilee party rank and file,” Dr Hezron Mogambi, a communication lecturer at the University of Nairobi, said.
He said Mr Sonko would be comfortable having a deputy who does not harbour ambitions for his job and who is not associated with any of the country’s political groupings “which might tip things in her favour any time”.
He said Mr Sonko also needs to build a united team around him to make his work easy.
“Although this is the case, the governor is buying time and dangling the position to as many interests as possible, knowing how his predecessor ended up with him at the ballot,” Dr Mogambi said.
But he added that Mr Sonko might not have a lot of leeway in the end because he has to consult his party.
“With all these interests, we may not have a deputy governor, which plays well into Mr Sonko’s game plan,” he said.
One clear indication of the pressure came to the fore in May when Mr Sonko nominated Dr Miguna Miguna, then in Canada after being controversially deported by the government, for the job.
Mr Sonko would later apologise over that, saying it was done out of anger.
“There was a lot of pressure, intimidation and blackmail and so I gave them Miguna,” he told a radio station in August.