The differences between Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga and his deputy Caroline Karugu have spilled over into the courts.
In a petition certified urgent by Justice Nderi Nduma of the Employment and Labour Relations court, Ms Karugu accuses the Governor of withholding her salary, allowances and other dues.
In the suit, Nyeri County Secretary Gachichio and Governor Kahiga are listed as the respondents.
Ms Karugu alleges the county secretary has, under the instructions of the governor, failed to pay her despite being a county employee.
In a sworn affidavit dated September 2, she says she last received her monthly salary of Sh685,250 on November 2019.
Since June 2019, she further claims, the county has not been allocating fuel allowances to her office, despite the fact that she has an official car.
The fuel expenses, which she says she has had to cater for using her own resources, have accumulated to Sh442,107.
As the deputy governor, Ms Karugu says, her office requires security, which she accuses the county administration of failing to provide.
“I have been hiring guards whom I pay Sh15,000 monthly,” she says.
She further contends that as from November 2018, she has not received her entertainment and periodical phone allowances as required by the law.
She accuses the governor of failing to renew her personal assistant’s contract since December 2019.
Ms Karugu says her office secretary was transferred to a different department following the closure of the Deputy Governor’s office in November 2019.
“In the entire span of the year 2020, my office was closed and inaccessible to Nyeri residents. How am I supposed to fulfill my mandate as required?” she asks in court papers.
She says whereas she is mandated to run the county when her boss is away, she has instead been sidelined with regard to official activities and has not been invited to any executive committee meetings since April 2019.
Through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, Ms Karugu says she has tried to hold meetings to iron out issues with her boss but to no avail.
“Our first scheduled meeting was disrupted by the closure of Nyeri government offices at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic,” she says.
She says she tried video conferencing and phone calls after writing to the governor to set up appointments, but with no success.
Lawyer Kinyanjui told Justice Nderi that Ms Karugu was relieved of her duties in a manner that was inhuman and in violation of her constitutional rights.
The deputy governor further terms the respondents’ actions discriminatory and targeted at her because she is female.
Ms Karugu wants the court to declare all decisions made by the county executive committee as from April 2019 null and void.
She also wants the respondents compelled to grant her access to her office and pay the allegedly withheld dues within 24 hours.
The case will be heard on September 16.
Ms Karugu took office on May 4, 2018 following the death of the then-elected governor Wahome Gakuru.
Mr Kahiga, who had been Gakuru’s running mate, was then nominated as governor, leaving the deputy governor’s position vacant.
Ms Karugu had been one of Gakuru’s campaign advisers and hailed from Nyaribo in Nyeri Central, where the late governor also came from.