Sonko takes on senators over 'one man show' tag

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko(R) present documents while accompanied by his Acting County Secretary and CECM Devolution and Public Management Pauline Kahiga during their meeting with Senate Devolution Committee on the composition of his County Government at Parliament on Wednesday 24/04/19[Boniface Okendo,Standard]
Governor Mike Sonko has not appointed a deputy governor (DG) due to lack of a law to guide the process.

Sonko, who appeared before Senate Devolution Committee on Wednesday, also sought to ward off pressure to appoint a DG and fill several vacant county executive positions, arguing his government is functioning just fine.

This came as it emerged the County Government (Amendment) Bill, seeking to provide the procedure of replacing a DG, is in the Senate.

The National Assembly made changes on the bill before sending it to the Senate.

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“I will appoint my DG within a second once this legislation is signed into law by the President. For now, I will not nominate a DG. I am also still consulting with the leadership of my party,” said Sonko.

He added: “There is no legislation compelling me to nominate a DG. I have a copy of the Hansard debate on this matter when it was raised on the floor of the House by senators Johnstone Sakaja (Nairobi), Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Irungu Khangata (Muranga), who said as much.”

Sonko has been under pressure to pick a deputy governor since Polycarp Igathe resigned last year.

The senators, led by Laikipia Senator John Kinyua, accused Sonko of contravening the law by failing to appoint county executive committee members so his government can run effectively.

The lawmakers also pushed Sonko to explain why he had not complied with the Supreme Court advisory on March 2018 to appoint a DG.

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The committee said Sonko was running his government in a ‘one man show’ manner. The said his cabinet was not well constituted, according to the law.

However, Sonko defended himself by stating the Supreme Court pronouncement on the matter is not binding.

“On filling vacant positions, the law stipulates that the cabinet is legal and can continue to transact as long as half of it is in place,” said Sonko.

He turned the heat on the senators, demanding an explanation why they had not enacted the law meant to put in place the procedure of replacing a deputy governor.

“It’s not been easy for me since Igathe resigned on January 31, 2018. I have showed goodwill in the past. I complied with the Supreme Court advisory and nominated lawyer Miguna Miguna but the county assembly rejected my choice. The advisory does not talk about what should happen after such a rejection,” he said.

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Sonko told senators he was about to name another candidate when he received calls from ODM leader Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) on the matter.

“I received letters from NASA chief executive Norman Magaya on different occasions. The NASA letter fronted one Rahab Ndambuki and the one from the Raila Odinga campaign secretariat in Upper Hill was fronting Jane Wangui,” said Sonko.

Secretary general

He added: “I also received an email from Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju. My party leader, President Uhuru Kenyatta also called and asked me to engage other leaders. I am therefore still consulting.”

“Is it not an abuse of oath operating without a deputy governor all this time? Why haven’t you adhered to the advisory of the court?” posed Kinyua. 

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Senators Sakaja, Rose Nyamunga (Nominated), Enock Wambua (Kitui), Samson Cherargei (Nandi) said Sonko was setting a dangerous precedent.

Nyamunga said they were not driven by malice or competition but were only interested in ensuring quality services were delivered to city residents.

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Governor Mike SonkoDeputy Governor