5 Little Known Deputy Governors Set to Inherit Top Seats

  • From left, Deputy Governors Moses Mulomi (Busia) Anne Kananu (Nairobi Appointee) and Nyamu Kagwima (Tharaka Nithi)
    From left, Deputy Governors Moses Mulomi (Busia) Anne Kananu (Nairobi Appointee) and Nyamu Kagwima (Tharaka Nithi)
    File
  • The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) boss Twalib Mbarak recently announced that Deputy Governors (DGs) needed to be ready to take over management of devolved units since the job could not be handled by governors under probe over graft allegations.

    This has consequently resulted in DGs getting fast-tracked to take over the respective top seats.

    When former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu was impeached on January 29, 2020, his deputy James Nyoro inherited his office.

    Deputy Governors have always flown under the radar with most Kenyans finding a hard time identifying their very own.

    EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak after presenting a cheque to the Kenya Covid-19 Fund on April 28, 2020.
    EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak after presenting a cheque to the Kenya Covid-19 Fund on April 28, 2020.
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    The latest saga surrounding Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has brought to light the possibility of at least 5 relatively unknown leaders set to inherit the biggest jobs in their respective counties.
     
    Tharaka Nithi County - Nyamu Kagwima

    Kagwima's name came up after his boss was summoned to appear before the EACC to shed some light on the award of a tender for a Ksh34.9 million solid waste project, which investigators said was irregularly awarded.

    According to Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, there is sufficient evidence to charge the governor and 16 other suspects.

    Tharaka Nithi Deputy Governor Nyamu Kagwima.
    Tharaka Nithi Deputy Governor Nyamu Kagwima.
    File

    This places Kagwima on the path to becoming the new county boss. Unlike his fellow DGs, the Tharaka Nithi leader actually made the news in February 2018, when his ward representatives threatened to impeach him over what they termed as 'failure to carry out his job'.

    Before being elected the Deputy Governor, he served as a Member of Parliament of Tharaka Constituency for the terms in 1988–1997 and re-elected again in 2002–2007. He was also an Assistant Minister in Research, Technical Training & Technology from 1993–1997.
     
    Migori County- Nelson Mahanga

    Embattled Migori Governor Okoth Obado's woes are well documented, with his sons and daughters roped into the latest Ksh73.4 million corruption scandal.

    This has inadvertently brought his deputy into the limelight, as he is legally mandated to take over office, should Obado's charges warrant a vacation of office.

    Mahanga was picked to be Obado’s deputy in 2013 by elders of his minority Kuria community under the little known People Democratic Party ticket.

    Migori Governor Okoth Obado and his deputy Mwita Mahanga
    Migori Governor Okoth Obado and his deputy Mwita Mahanga
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    An ardent member of the Seventh Day Adventist church, Mahanga has been serving under Obado during both terms, all without making any notable of waves in the media.

    Busia County - Moses Mulomi

    In May this year trial magistrate Douglas Ogoti ruled that Busia Governor Sospeter Ojamoong and eight others have a case to answer in a Ksh8 million shillings graft case.

    The governor was also accused of conspiracy to commit an economic crime and engaging in a project without proper planning.

    His deputy is one of the very few vocal ones, having declared his intentions to run for Governor during an event in January 2019.

    Busia Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi speaking during the launch of projects in Budalangi, Busia County.
    Busia Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi speaking during the launch of projects in Budalangi, Busia County.
    File

    A native of Butula Sub-County, the active DG appealed to his residents to give him the chance to steer the county in 2022.

    However, if Ojamoong's woes lead to an order to vacate the office, the law might just hand Mulomi his wish.

    Samburu County - Julius Leseeto

    Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal's case at the EACC court is well documented. Among other charges, court records alleged that the governor used his own company to supply petrol and diesel to the county government from 2013 to 2019.

    It was during this turbulent period that his deputy arguably became the new face of Samburu County.

    Soon after his boss was barred from accessing his office, Leseeto was named as Acting Samburu County Governor.

    He immediately kicked things off by reshuffling the cabinet and made it clear that he did not need the blessings of his underfire boss to issue directives meant for the greater good of county.

    Samburu Deputy Governor Julius Leseeto (centre), who is the acting governor, speaks at a past function.
    Samburu Deputy Governor Julius Leseeto (centre), who is the acting governor, speaks at a past function.
    File

    “The law is very clear that in the absence of the governor, the deputy takes charge of running the affairs of the county and that is simply what I am doing,” he stated at the time.

    He has become an increasingly popular figure in Samburu. The death of his wife, Linah Leseeto, on January 11, was a sad day and the entire county stood behind him in mourning.

    Nairobi County - Who?

    Following the resignation of Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe on January 12, 2018, after what he described as his failure to earn Governor Sonko’s trust to enable him to work, the capital city's DG situation has been the subject of debate.

    Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has been in and out of EACC hearings, with the latest development coming as soon as Monday, September 7.

    On January 6, Sonko nominated Anne Kananu Mwenda, the county’s current Disaster Management and Coordination Sector Chief Officer, to the position of Deputy Governor.

    In his letter to the then Speaker of the County Assembly Beatrice Elachi, Sonko stated that his decision was in the interest of ensuring stability in the country’s capital after he was barred from accessing his office.

    However, on February 11,  the High Court issued orders barring the County Assembly from vetting the appointee. 

    The formation of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) led by Major General Mohammed Badi Ali complicates the Nairobi situation even further.

    All in all, the barrage of graft cases cropping up against incumbent Governors has led to the rise of their deputies as the new bosses.

    IEBC Nairobi County returning officer Joseph Eroo hands clearance certificate to Nairobi County Deputy Governor nominee Anne Kananu Mwenda for appointment.
    IEBC Nairobi County returning officer Joseph Eroo hands clearance certificate to Nairobi County Deputy Governor nominee Anne Kananu Mwenda for appointment.
    File