By Judith Gicobi
A few departing county executives opted not to attend the swearing-in ceremonies of their successors’ which was held on Thursday as the 45 newly elected Governors took the oath of office.
Lee Kinyanjui (from Nakuru), Martin Wambora (from Embu), Francis Kimemia (from Nyandarua), and Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) are among of them.
The four notably skipped the celebrations due to rumored animosity between them and their rivals who won, in contrast to other departing county chiefs who attended the inauguration ceremonies of their successors around the nation.
For instance, Kimemia and Kinyanjui, who were defending their respective seats, recently announced their intention to sue to overturn their opponents’ victories due to alleged electoral irregularities.
Both of them have refused to accept Susan Kihika (Nakuru) and Moses Kiarie ‘Badilisha’ Ndirangu (Nyandarua) as their successors, claiming that the electoral process was tainted by malpractice, voter bribery, violence, and other anomalies.
As a result, Kinyanjui chose not to attend Governor Kihika’s swearing-in ceremony at the Nakuru ASK showground, while Kimemia chose not to attend Badilisha’s ceremony.
Despite not running for governor’s seat, Wambora did not attend Cecily Mbarire’s UDA party ceremony at the Embu University grounds.
When Wambora’s two terms in service came to a close, he decided to run for the Senate seat but lost to Democratic Party candidate Alexander Mundigi.
Murungi, for his part, boycotted Kawira Mwangaza’s inauguration and has yet to formally congratulate her as his successor in Meru.
The departing governor and his loyalists, including his deputy Titus Ntuchiu, all avoided the event.
Only County Secretary Rufus Miriti, who is also the Chair of the Assumption of Office Committee, was present.
However, for the handover ceremony to be valid, an outgoing Governor is not required to be present according to the Constitution.
Section 13(4) of the Assumption of Office of Governor Act notes: “Failure by the outgoing County Governor to handover the instruments of power to the County Governor-elect shall not invalidate the assumption to the office of County Governor by the County Governor-elect.”