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 shall nominate a person as a candidate for Deputy Governor. The person shall be qualified for nomination for election as County Governor.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) shall not conduct a separate election for the Deputy Governor. Rather, it shall declare the candidate the Governor nominates to be the people’s choice as the Deputy Governor in an election.
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.
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Section 32 of the County Governments Act states that the Deputy Governor shall deputise for the Governor in executing the governor’s functions.
The Governor may assign the Deputy Governor any other responsibility or portfolio as a member of the county executive committee.
Article 179(5) of the Constitution says that when the County Governor is absent, the Deputy County Governor shall act as the county governor.
When acting in office, the Deputy Governor shall not exercise certain powers of the governor. He or she cannot nominate, appoint or dismiss anyone.
The governor shall 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 with the necessary changes to the Deputy Governor. These roles exclude those related to nominations, appointments and dismissal.
If the deputy governor-elect dies before assuming office or is unable to assume office for whatever reason, the office of the deputy governor shall be declared vacant on the assumption of office by the person declared elected as the governor.
A vacancy in the office of deputy governor in Kenya occurs if the holder of the office–
- resigns by a notice, in writing, addressed to the governor;
- ceases to be eligible for nomination as deputy governor under Article 180(5) of the Constitution;
- assumes the office of governor under Article 182(2) of the Constitution;
- is convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for at least six months; or
- is removed from office (e.g. through impeachment).
Where a vacancy arises in the office of a deputy governor, the governor shall–
- within fourteen days, nominate the deputy governor; and
- with the approval of the county assembly, appoint a deputy governor.
A person nominated for appointment as deputy governor under shall be a person eligible for election as governor.
The county assembly shall–
- consider a motion for approval for the appointment of the deputy governor, within fourteen days, and resolve whether to approve the motion; and
- be deemed to have approved the motion for the appointment of the deputy governor upon the lapse of fourteen days and having failed to make a resolution.
A motion for the approval for the appointment of a deputy governor shall be supported by a majority of the members of a county assembly.
A person appointed as deputy governor shall, for purposes of Article 180(7) of the Constitution, shall be deemed–
- to have served a full term as county deputy governor if, at the date on which the person is appointed, more than two and a half years remain before the date of the next regularly scheduled election for the governor’s seat; or
- not to have served a term of office as county deputy governor, in any other case.