State forestalls Nairobi takeover legal challenges

President Uhuru Kenyatta witnesses the signing of the agreement that hands-over the functions of the Nairobi County Government to the National Government pursuant to Article 187 of the Constitution. [PSCU]

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa last night gazetted the transfer of key functions of the Nairobi County to the National Government.

This means Uhuru Kenyatta’s government will in 21 days officially take over control of the capital amidst debate that the deal was not procedurally signed.

“This deed of transfer shall become effective 21 days from the date of execution and shall remain in force for an initial renewable period of two years from the date of execution,” CS Wamalwa said in the gazette notice dated February 25.

A section of lawmakers and lawyers argue that while the Constitution and Inter-governmental Relations Act provide for the transfer of functions between levels of government, the county assembly was not duly notified.

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They foresee the move being challenged in court.

The gazette notice, however, says that the deal: “Shall be notified to the Nairobi County Assembly pursuant to Section 26(6) of the Inter-governmental Relations Act and shall in the meantime be subjected to public participation”.

It added that any amendments to the deal from the public participation will be included in the Agreement.

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Besieged Governor Mike Sonko, whose powers have now been clipped, yesterday handed over the crucial functions of health, transport, public works and planning. State House described the decision as a breakthrough that will ensure Nairobi residents receive services efficiently.

The State noted that it will now prescribe and establish the institutional framework for the execution of the transferred functions, effectively reducing the governor to a mere figurehead.

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On financing of the transferred functions; CS Wamalwa noted that money will be drawn from either or both the Consolidated Fund and the County Revenue Fund.

 “The National Government shall have the responsibility of collecting and remitting all revenue accruing from the transferred functions,” he said.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) will oversee the collection of billions in revenue generated by the key dockets.

This is as the human resource for the implementation of the agreement will be seconded from the county government to the national government and the county public service board, in consultation with the Public Service Commission will formulate the necessary instruments to facilitate the secondment and deployment of those officers.

CS Wamalwa further notes that both Parliament and the Nairobi County Assembly will be updated on the implementation of the agreement through an annual report tabled in both the Houses.

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“The parties will harmonise the relevant sector performance contracts and service delivery indicators, as adopted by the respective governments and relevant departments,” CS Wamalwa said.

The shock power deal, hailed as one of kind landmark agreement by State House, follows a crisis at City Hall after Governor Sonko was barred from office by a court last year.

He was charged over the alleged loss of Sh357 million.

Acting Nairobi County Secretary Leboo Morintat in January took over the operations at City Hall since Sonko was operating without a deputy for about two years.

The governor recently nominated Ann Mwenda, the County Executive Committee Member for Disaster Management, as the nominee deputy.

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Mwenda is yet to be vetted by the county assembly as a high court suspended the process until a case by a petitioner, Peter Agoro, is determined.

Agoro moved to court arguing that the nomination amounts to “a direct affront to the orders issued against the governor in December last year”.

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Uhuru KenyattaMike SonkoNairobi CountyCity HallHillary Orinde