Governors take on gov’t for barring Joho from SGR launch

Governors take on gov’t for barring Joho from SGR launch

The Council of Governors has condemned the barring of Mombasa Governor, Ali Hassan Joho, from Wednesday’s (May 31) launch of Standard Gauge Railway in Mitini, Mombasa County.

In a statement to newsrooms, Council chairman, Josephat Nanok, took an issue with the move by police to bar Joho from the Miritini event saying that the Office of the Governor is a constitutional office that must be treated with the respect and be afforded constitutional protections.

While noting that it is the second time in less than six months since governor Joho was barred from a similar event, the commissioning of the new Mtongwe ferry by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the CoG chair lashed out at the State saying that while the National Government can exclude a Governor from its lineup of speakers at its functions, it cannot bar the Governor from attending a public event being held in his County and attended by his voters.

“The Council of Governors affirms that department of Interior and National Coordination is bound by the Constitution of Kenya and cannot operate like a rogue government agency,” read the statement in part.

Nanok further argued that the constitution calls for mutual cooperation and respect between national and county governments further urging Interior Ministry led by CS Joseph Nkaissery to respect Office of the Governor adding that Joho still holds Constitutional office until the next Governor of Mombasa County is sworn in.

Speaking to Citizen Digital on phone on Wednesday ,Mombasa County Director of Communications Richard Chacha, said that security agents allegedly told Joho that “orders from above stated he should not be allowed to attend the event”.

“It is true the governor has been blocked from accessing Miritini Station. The security officers at the station said orders from above demanded the governor be barred from gaining entry into the station, where President Uhuru Kenyatta was presiding over the launch of SGR. Following the information, the governor left the station for his office,” said Chacha on phone.

Government spokesperson Eric Kiraithe had however on Tuesday said Governor Joho was free to attend the launch of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) on Wednesday, May 31, but “Joho should not demand, through media, to be incorporated in the President’s programme”.

Speaking at a Mombasa hotel during a media briefing on Tuesday, May 30, Kiraithe said: “President Uhuru Kenyatta will be expecting the governor’s presence”.

Governor Joho had on Sunday, May 28, said he will attend the SGR launch as the host governor.

Joho also took a swipe at the government over what he termed an additional cost of Ksh100 billion for the railway.

“I would like an opportunity to speak from the podium and ask where the money they stole went to. I want to tell them they must give all the profits back to Kenyans,” said Joho.

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