Sonko on the spot over absence of DG and CECs

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. [Photo, Standard]

Senators have accused Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko of undermining devolution by running a government not properly constituted as stipulated in law.

The lawmakers took issue with absence of a deputy governor and less County Executive Committee (CEC) members and faulted Sonko for turning the City County government in to a ‘one man show’ affair.

Contributing to a personal statement by Senator Johnstone Sakaja (Nairobi), the lawmakers stressed that the governor should be called to order for running his administration without deputy for the last 15 months since the resignation of Mr Polycarp Igathe.

Igathe resigned in January last year after he differed with Sonko.

Also, they criticized Sonko for only working with five CECs as opposed to the ten envisaged in the law.

At the same time, the county has no substantive speaker after last year’s impeachment of Ms Beatrice Elachi.

“It was inconceivable that Nairobi City County has a vacuum in the office of the deputy governor until the next elections are held,” Sakaja flagged out.

Sakaja want the governor compelled to comply with the law and have his administration properly constituted.

“The governor has blatantly ignored and undermined the role of the deputy governor which has undermined the delivery of service to the residents of Nairobi,” said Sakaja.

He said the situation sets a dangerous precedent to county governments and is a threat to devolution.

Mr Sonko has on several occasions sacked members of his executive committee, some have resigned, leaving him to run the county with half of the committee required by law.

The matter ignited a storm in the House as the senators stressed the county had unconstitutionally operated for a while and the senate should intervene.

He stated Sonko had contravened Article179 (1) (2) of the constitution and therefore should be summoned to shed more light on why the county government has operated with a county governor for 15 months.

“Sonko should appear before the Senate Devolution and Inter-governmental to explain why he had ignored the Supreme Court ruling that provided governors to nominate candidates within 14 days once a vacancy occurs and County Assembly approves within 60 days,” he told the House.

It is on the basis of this ruling that Nyeri governor Mutahi Kahiga picked Ms Caroline Karugu as his deputy last year.

Sakaja wants Sonko summoned to explain why he has refused to comply with the Supreme Court order.

He also wants the governor to explain why the county assembly has remained without a substantive Speaker after the exit of Elachi.

Senators led by Majority Leader Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo/Marakwet) backed Sakaja’s statement, insisting Sonko be summoned by the House to shed light why he has continuously breached the law.

“It will be disastrous to have other 46 county governments to cope the bad manners exhibited by Governor Mike Sonko. We don’t want this precedence to be replicated in the other 46 counties,” said Murkomen said, even as he suggested that he may draft a bill to that will create a threshold of executive committee members without which a county will not operate.

Senators supported the statement with a majority of those who contributed arguing that, as the capital, Nairobi bears greater interest to the country than all other counties.

Senators Cleophas Malala (Kakamega), Samson Cherargei (Nandi) and Nominated Senators Mary Senata, Agnes Zani and Judith Pareno added that Nairobi was in a deplorable condition.

 “Am resident of Nairobi Monday to Friday, I have serious issues to settle with Governor Sonko. This County is the Capital City of the Republic of Kenya, it is unacceptable to continue this way,” Malala decried.

Pareno demanded that Sonko be summoned, Nandi senator Samson Cherargei challenged Jubilee Party to intervene and ensure that the capital gets a deputy governor.

“This is a matter of law and not choice. If Sonko is incapable of appointing his deputy, then as Jubilee Party we should sit down and help comply with the law.”

Senator Senata said it will be disastrous to have a county such as Nairobi City not having a substantive deputy governor, a substantive speaker and CECs.

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Senator Johnstone SakajaNairobi Governor Mike SonkoPolycarp IgatheMajority Leader Senator Kipchumba Murkomen