Fact Check: Did Polycarp Igathe and Johnson Sakaja get their facts right?

Nairobi gubernatorial candidates Johnson Sakaja (right) and Polycarp Igathe at CUEA on July 11, 2022.
[Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Ahead of the August general elections, governor hopefuls in Nairobi City Polycarp Igathe and Johnston Sakaja squared off in a debate. But were there truths, lies or half-truths in their duel?


  1. Hii kazi ya budget bilioni arobaini, wafanyi kazi elefu kumi na tano…

MOSTLY CORRECT — Nairobi County’s budget for FY2021/2022 was Sh39.6 billion. The county had 15,000 workers in 2014 but this has been falling, panning in 2019 at 12,034.

  1. Nilichaguliwa na kura 869,000 wakati uliopita na sasa narudi tena kusimama

UNDERSTATED — Mike Sonko and his running mate, Mr Igathe, got 871,794 votes in 2017, IEBC records show.

  1. The people who were running against me (for Azimio’s gubernatorial ticket) did not have a degree

INCORRECT— One of the people seeking a gubernatorial ticket for Azimio was Westlands MP Timothy Wanyonyi, a Bachelor of Laws holder from the University of Delhi, India. Mr Wanyonyi has not faced any public dispute on his academic credentials

  1. Pesa ambazo walituma kwa serikali gatuzi kutoka kwa serikali ya kitaifa was Sh370 billion. Nairobi ilipata Sh19 billion. Five percent only ndio ilikuja Nairobi

CORRECT— Nairobi County allocation was Sh19.3 billion out of the total Sh370b allocated to counties, an equivalent of 5.2%.

  1. Wapigaji kura Nairobi ni 11 percent. Tuko 2.4 million (in Nairobi) out of 22 million voters in the country

CORRECT — Nairobi county has 2.41 million registered voters, translating to 10.9 per cent of 22.1 million total registered voters, according to IEBC data.

  1. 60 per cent ya hiyo Sh2.2 trillion (that KRA collected as tax in FY2021/2022) imetoka kwa viwanda na wafanyi biashara hapa Nairobi

UNPROVEN — KRA does not publish a breakdown of taxes per county. The only data on the size of Nairobi in the national economy is that it accounts for 27 per cent of total national wealth.

Nairobi gubernatorial candidate Polycarp Igathe. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]
  1. Nairobi 'hamna mashule. Kuna nasari, pengine 211'

CORRECT —The County has 211 public ECD centres with 21 being stand-alone and 190 in primary schools, according to the Nairobi County Integrated Development plan 2018-2022.

  1. Nairobi collects way above Sh200 million every day but what ends up in coffers is about Sh40 million a day. Over Sh160 million is lost every day. That is a fact.

INCORRECT/UNPROVEN - Nairobi’s own source revenue (OSR) for FY2020/2021 was Sh9.96bn translating to an average daily collection of Sh27.28 million. A Sh40 million a day collection as claimed by Mr Igathe would amount to Sh14.6bn.

Nairobi county has never even hit Sh12bn collections in a year and there is no official estimate on how much the county loses to corruption.

  1. For the time when I was a deputy governor, Nairobi city moved its revenue from Sh10-20 million we used to find to Sh100-120 million a day

INCORRECT — Nairobi had collected Sh10.93bn or Sh29.95 million a day in FY ending 2017 just before Igathe and Sonko took over. Igathe quit end of January 2018 with half-year own-source revenue for the county being Sh1.62 billion or Sh8.9 million daily.

  1. They (Nairobi Metropolitan Services) have sunk 193 boreholes in the metropolitan area. 144 have been in the informal settlement

CORRECT — NMS data shows 193 boreholes have been sunk

  1. Nairobi county gets its largest revenues from land rates, parking fees, outdoor advertising, single business permits and building permits.

CORRECT—The five were the dominant drivers of the local revenue, constituting between 76.1%, and 69.19% of County local revenue in FY 2013/14 to 2016/17.

  1. Today we are consuming 500,000 cubic metres of water every day in Nairobi

INCORRECT — The current water supply stands at 580 million litres per day against a demand of 720 million litres according to Nairobi county integrated development plan 2018/2022.

Office of the Governor, Nairobi City County. [Samson Wire, Standard]


  1. Ukiangalia utafiti ambao umefanywa, for the last three years running, I have been rated the best performing senator in Kenya

MOSTLY CORRECT— Mzalendo Watch Survey ranked the senator as best performing in 2020, 2021, and 2018. He was outside the top 4 in 2019.

In 2020, InfoTrak poll ranked Sakaja 14th with a score of 50.9%

  1. When I became a senator for Nairobi, Nairobi was receiving Sh15bn.  I am leaving it with Sh3.3bn higher at Sh19bn

MOSTLY CORRECT — Nairobi County's equitable share in 2017/2017 was Sh15.4bn. the current allocation is Sh19.3b.

  1. You have 85 MCAs (in Nairobi), possibly 40 nominated, that is 125 MCAs. You have 17 constituencies

MOSTLY CORRECT— According to the KNBS statistical Abstract 2021, Nairobi County has 17 constituencies, with 85 elected MCAs and 37 Nominated MCAs.

  1. What they were offering Nairobi (under the proposed income sharing formula based on census figures) was Sh134 million more. I refused.

INCORRECT — Nairobi City was top gains over Sh5 billion in the Commissioner of Revenue Allocation’s proposal that was dropped.

  1. Kenyans in the diaspora whose remittances are our biggest foreign income earner

CORRECT — Kenya diaspora remittances overtook tea in 2015, to become the biggest foreign income earner. In 2021, the remittances stood at Sh429B billion

  1. Nairobi has four water sources. The first water source is Kikuyu Springs that was set up in 1907. Kikuyu springs provide only one per cent which is 4,000 cubic meters of water.

MOSTLY CORRECT: Kikuyu springs was constructed in 1913 as the first water source and provides 4,000 cubic metres of water, according to Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company.

Nairobi gubernatorial candidate Johnson Sakaja. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]
  1. After that (Kikuyu springs), we developed Ruiru dam in 1936 which provides 4 per cent. The third one is Sasumua which provides 11 per cent.

MOSTLY CORRECT — Ruiru dam was completed in 1950 and provides 4% of water supply in Nairobi.

  1. The fourth (dam for Nairobi) is Ndakaini which provides 84 per cent. Ndakaini was last developed in 1997. There were three phases.

MOSTLY CORRECT — Ndakaini was completed in 1994 and contributes about 84% of Nairobi’s current water supply.

  1. Every single day, the people of Nairobi require 850 million litres of water but get 525.6 million litres per day

INCORRECT — The current water supply stands at 580 million litres per day against a demand of 720 million litres according to Nairobi county integrated development plan 2018/2022.

  1. 10There are areas we can do debt swaps. Nairobi government owes the national government and the national government owes the city-county.

CORRECT — Nairobi city and national government owe each other. For instance, Nairobi Debt Management Strategy Paper 2021/2022 recommends a swap of Sh856m wayleave with electricity bills of Sh692m​.