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Kericho Governor Eric Mutai sued for appointing unelected person as acting governor

Kericho Governor Dr Eric Kipkoech Mutai has been sued for irregularly appointing a non-elected person to discharge gubernatorial roles and or duties for 10 days while he was away.

In a petition filed at the High court Dr Mutai has been accused of stripping his deputy Engineer Fredrick Kipng’etich Kirui his duties by appointing Ms Rosemary C Rop to render county executive duties between April 23 to May 3,2023.

A Kericho resident Kipkemoi Richard Mutai is now urging the high court to fault the governor and declare his actions to appoint a new governor as unconstitutional and a blatant violation of the law.

“Just like when the President is out of office his deputy takes over, similarly a deputy governor ascends to the office of the governor when he is out of office due to some reasons,” lawyer Geoffrey Lang’at states in the case he filed on May 15,2023.

Mr Lang’at says Dr Mutai who was duly elected alongside his Deputy Engineer Fredrick K Kirui during the August 9,2022 Kericho violated Articles 2,10,47,73 179 (4) and 179 (5) of the Constitution which expressly outlines the roles of state officers.

The lawyer says on April 19,2023 , Dr Mutai appointed Ms Rop , the CEC Water, Energy, Enviroment,Forestry and Natural Resources to discharge his (governors) duties while he was away.

In the correspondence, Mr Lang’at outlines that Dr Mutai appointed Ms Rop to oversee all the functions and activities of the county as the governor.

In the communique of Dr Mutai to Ms Rop it was stated: “You are hereby appointed to be in-charge of all matters to at the Executive Office of Governor while I am away from office on April 24,2023 to May 3,2023.”

Dr Mutai copied the letter to his deputy H.E. Eng. Fredrick K Kirui and three other CEC members Ng’etich K Leonard (finance), Bernard Bii (agriculture) and Bernard Bii Bii (health).

In the petition it is said the actions of Dr Mutai stripped his constitutionally elected deputy his roles and therefore invites the court to fault the governor and declare the omissions illegal.

In the suit the petitioner who is also a rights activist has named Dr Mutai(governor), Ms Rop and the County Government of Kericho as the respondents.

He has named Eng Kirui (deputy governor) as an interested party in the suit.

“The decision by the governor to arbitrarily strip his constitutional mandate and delegate it to a junior officer contravene the principles that guide the exercise of authority by a state officer under Article 7 of the Constitution,” Lang’at states in the petition.

He adds that the decision by Dr Mutai to communicate to Ms Rop “runs a foul the trust bestowed on a state officer under Article 73 (1) of the Constitution.”

The court has also been informed that Dr Mutai has declassified the constitutional roles of bestowed upon his deputy through bypassing him and delegating a CEC to serve his duties.

The petitioner says in delegating the roles of Eng Kirui to a CEC member, the governor violated the legitimate expectation of the people of Kericho under Article 47 of the Constitution.

Further the high court has been informed Governor Mutai illegally and unjustifiably decided to strip his deputy his mandate, disregarded and contravened the objects of devolution of government which include promotion of democratic and accountable exercise of power under Article 174 of the Constitution.

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