The role and functions of a Deputy Governor in Kenya are important. A Deputy Governor is the second in command after the County Governor. Therefore, they play a vital role in the management of a county government.
By law, each candidate seeking election as County Governor should nominate a person who is qualified for nomination for election as County Governor as a candidate for Deputy Governor.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should not conduct a separate election for the Deputy Governor. Rather, it should declare the candidate the Governor nominates to have been elected as the Deputy Governor.
The requirements to be elected as a County Governor in Kenya also apply to the Deputy Governor. The same applies to the process to impeach a County Governor in Kenya.
Deputy Governors are also state officers.
The Constitution does not have clear stipulations about the role and functions of a Deputy Governor in Kenya. However, the County Governments Act in Section 32 tries to explain the functions of a Deputy Governor.
The role and functions of a Deputy Governor in Kenya
Section 32 of the County Governments Act states that the Deputy Governor should deputize for the Governor in the execution of the governor’s functions.
The Governor may assign the Deputy Governor any other responsibility or portfolio as a member of the county executive committee. (See the structure of the County Government in Kenya).
Article 179(5) of the Constitution says that when the County Governor is absent, the Deputy County Governor should act as the county governor.
When acting in office as contemplated in Article 179(5) of the Constitution, the Deputy Governor should not exercise any powers of the governor, to nominate, appoint or dismiss, that are assigned to the governor under the Constitution or other written law.
The governor should also not delegate to the Deputy Governor any of the functions that relate to hiring and firing (to nominate, appoint or dismiss).
Therefore, the role and functions of a County Governor in Kenya apply mutatis mutandis (with the necessary changes) to the Deputy Governor.
Nevertheless, the Deputy Governors continuously want parliament to define their roles strictly in law. It remains to be seen if this will happen and if Parliament will amend the law if necessary.