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Why Sonko should move with haste and get himself a deputy

By The Standard | Published Thu, November 8th 2018 at 10:01, Updated November 8th 2018 at 10:10 GMT +3

Nairobi County has been without a deputy governor since January this year. This followed the abrupt resignation of Polycarp Igathe who cited irreconcilable differences between him and Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko. While the expectation was that the position would be filled up in the shortest time possible, it has not been the case.

Governor Sonko has been procrastinating over the matter, especially after his choice of Mr Miguna Miguna was rejected not only by Members of the County Assembly, but by the Jubilee party. It is clear that Mr Sonko has taken advantage of a loophole in the law to keep Nairobians guessing. But, God forbid, what would happen to East and Central Africa's biggest metropolis were he to be incapacitated and unable to work? Especially now that the position of the Speaker of the County Assembly is technically vacant. Ordinarily, a Speaker takes over the leadership in case the the governor and the deputy are unable to discharge the duties of the office.

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By any measure, Sonko's reign has been but, given his eccentric nature.

At some point, not having worked well with MCAs, the governor was said to have relocated to Machakos from where he ran the affairs of Nairobi County. Indeed, the governor vindicated those claims by stating his life was in danger and did not see anything wrong working from anywhere as long as work was done.

That reasoning was unconventional, but then, Sonko is not known for being conventional. The governor is given to impulsiveness and more often than not acts, not by the rule book, but on impulse. Visits to local hospitals where he fired staff members without giving them a chance to defend themselves attest to this. Sonko seems oblivious to the fact  power abhors a vacuum and that should he, for whatever reason, be unable to discharge his duties as the governor, the Nairobi County would be thrown into a leadership crisis in the absence of a deputy governor.

The role of the deputy governor is not clearly defined, but as the principal assistant to the governor, their advisory and supervisory roles are crucial to the running of county affairs. The Deputy would play a stabilising role in this case.

Leadership wrangles and lack of cohesiveness means the city has had to make do with a dysfunctional government; completely unable to deliver basic services for which Nairobians pay taxes.

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Garbage heaps across city estates and Nairobi’s central business district are becoming an eyesore. Poor drainage, perennial water shortages, growing street families and bad roads define Nairobi.

Without a deputy governor and a substantive Speaker, Governor Sonko must get his act together sooner rather than later. The World Bank rates Nairobi as the highest contributor to the national GDP (12.5 per cent). If nothing else, that is enough reason to fix the leadership conundrum at City Hall.

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