The death of the Governor of Nyeri, Nderitu Gachagua, who will be buried on Monday, made many Kenyans and some politicians to discover that there were some clauses in the Kenyan constitution which they did not know existed.
When Governor Gachagua died, his deputy Samuel Wamathai was sworn in as the new Governor for Nyeri and many people all over a sudden started asking why no by-election was held in the county. As it happened that people of Kenya don’t understand their own constitution. This brings us to the issue:
What does the constitution say in the event that a governor dies in office?
Article 182 of the Kenyan constitution says:
- The office of the county governor shall become vacant if the holder of the office: –
- Resigns, in writing, addressed to the speaker of the county assembly
- Ceases to be eligible to be elected county governor under Article 180 (2)
- Is convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for at least twelve months or
- Is removed from office under this (the) constitution.
- If a vacancy occurs in the office of county governor, the deputy county governor shall assume office as county governor for the remainder of the term of the county governor.
- If a person assumes office as county governor under clause (2), the person shall be deemed for the purpose of Article 180 (7)-
- Served a full term as county governor if, at the date on which the person assumed office, more than two and half years remain before the date of the next regularly scheduled election under Article 180 (1); or
- Not to have served a term of office as county governor, in any other case.
For those who did not know, that is what the constitution says. The swearing in of Samwel Wamathai as the new governor for Nyeri was, therefore, within the jurisdictions of the law.