Nairobi County's strange tale of two Executives claiming top Finance seat

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (L) with CEC Finance Allan Igambi when they appeared before the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee on audit queries at Parliament on December 3, 2018. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Confusion reigns at City Hall over who is the substantive Finance Executive as supremacy battles rock the county government.

In January this year, Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko reshuffled his cabinet and fired Pauline Kahiga as the Finance Executive.

In her place, he installed Allan Igambi who was in charge of the Trade docket.

The change of guard at the finance office was, however, rejected by Government Printer Chief Executive Mwenda Njoka.

Mr Njoka argued that the changes were not made according to the law.

On Friday last week, the office of the Solicitor General, however, approved the changes made by Sonko.

Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto indicated that Igambi should legally be in office following the reshuffle.

Nairobi Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi widened the confusion when she said the House recognises Ms Kahiga as the substantive Finance Executive.

Ms Elachi said that stand will only change when Sonko tables documents showing Igambi is in charge.

Sonko is yet to gazette Igambi as the Finance head. Woodley MCA Mwangi Njahia on Tuesday expressed concern that the department risked being paralysed due to the constant wrangles. 

Pending bills

Mr Njihia was also adamant that the department risked not being able to pay pending bill

Reacting to Njihia's worries, Elachi said the Assembly will only notify Central Bank, Treasury and the Controller of Budget of Sonko's changes when they are tabled in a legally.

 “We are not going to allow Sonko to interdict Kahiga (pictured) in this manner. Until this House resolves otherwise, the Finance Executive remains Pauline Kahiga,” stated Elachi.

“Until he unveils the new Executive by following the laid down procedures and assuring  us things will continue working properly, Ms Kahiga is still in office.”

Elachi’s pronouncements on the issue however contradicted the advisory issued by the Solicitor General.

Ogeto has insisted that Sonko was right to reshuffle his cabinet, and deemed his selection of Igambi in tandem with the law.

He ruled that even though Sonko is currently barred from office following the Sh357 million graft charges, this did not bar him from performing his gubernatorial duties.

 “In the prevailing circumstances, it is our considered opinion that as the law currently stands, there is no legal basis for the Government Printer’s decision not to affect the gazettements as requested by the County Government,” said Ogeto in an advisory.

The Solicitor General had written the advisory after Njoka sought the Attorney General's opinion, seeking guidance on how to proceed in gazetting the substantive Finance Executive.

Speaking to The Standard, Ms Kahiga confirmed that she was still in office, and that until a pending court case is determined, she will continue serving as Nairobi County's Finance Executive.

“I can assure you that I am still in office. I am currently processing payments for the pending bill owed to Kenya Medical Supplies Authority," said Kahiga.

"There has however been a lot of supremacy wrangles caused by the governor’s efforts to kick me out of office.”

All eyes are now on Sonko who is expected to formalise the changes he has made and declare a new Executive.

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