Kisumu and Siaya county governors are caught in a legal limbo that has not only delayed forming their administrations, but is threatening their development plans.
In Kisumu, Anyang’ Nyong’o’s move to appoint new officers was challenged in court, while Cornel Rasanga of Siaya had his entire executive member (Cabinet) nominees rejected by the County Assembly.
Facing a bigger threat in Kisumu are steps that the governor planned to make in the first 100 days of being sworn in. Five cases have been filed in Kisumu County.
He has been stopped from recruiting and is relying on caretaker officers, some inherited from the previous administration.
Kennedy Amondi, the lawyer representing the Kisumu government in a case where chief officers have sued for being sacked unlawfully, admits the cases are slowing down the county.
“They are literally the people running various government departments in counties. This court should consider the time frames being put because most activities are grounded,” said Mr Amondi.
Prof Nyong’o issued a 10-point plan, targeting moving the Kachok dumpsite, unclogging drainage, modernising markets and renovating tourism sites.
Twelve chief officers who served in Jack Ranguma’s government have gone to court to stop Prof Nyong’o from sending them home, arguing that their contracts are still on.
The county advertised for 10 positions for county executive members (ministers) and 18 chief officers.
But the Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Justice Maureen Onyango ruled that recruitment of new chief officers be halted until the case is determined.
While the County Assembly had launched investigations into the conduct of the Kisumu Public Service Board, a court stopped the probe.
Bernard Ochieng Musula has also gone to court to stop the acting county secretary Olang’o Onudi from performing the duties pending hearing and determination of the case.
He also wants the sacked acting secretary Ojwang’ Lusi reinstated.
In Siaya, Mr Rasanga vowed not to present a set of fresh names of Cabinet nominees.
While he says all the nominees passed the “most critical” integrity test, Speaker George Okode maintained they will reject a new list if it does not adhere to Section 35 (1) of the County Government Act.