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Uhuru names air force General Mohammed Abdalla in charge of Nairobi

By Josphat Thiong'o | March 19th 2020

Major General Mohamed Abdalla Badi (right) and Standard Group PLC Managing Director- Broadcasting Joe Munene at a past event.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has established the office of the Nairobi Metropolitan Service, completing the national government takeover of key functions from a rudderless county government.

Major General Mohamed Abdalla Badi was appointed director-general of the service, which will oversee the crucial health, transport, public works and planning dockets that Governor Mike Sonko ceded on February 25.

The transfer took effect yesterday when Sonko and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, at a ceremony witnessed by the president and Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka at State House, signed the final deed of transfer following public participation. 

Maj Gen Badi has been the Senior Directing Staff – Air at the National Defence College.

Before the posting in May last year, he had been the base commander at the Moi Air Base. Officials said he is a helicopter pilot who has risen through the ranks. 

Badi will be deputised by Enosh Onyango Momanyi. Other officers will also be seconded to the office from both the national and county governments.

The Kenya Revenue Authority will collect revenue on behalf of the county government after KRA Commissioner General James Mburu and Nairobi Finance Executive Allan Igambi signed an agreement.  

The Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) will be tasked with dismantling cartels at City Hall, streamlining renewal projects such as urban housing in Pangani and Jevanjee, as well as the implementation of the Nairobi railway masterplan.

NMS will also be tasked with streamlining of building approvals and licences, decongestion of the city, tackling the garbage menace and operationalisation of non-motorised transport goals such as the installation of walkways.

The newly formed office is expected to reform the water and sanitation sectors, sewerage, health, roads and housing.

“The Nairobi Metropolitan Service will be in charge of the functions that are transferred to the national government on behalf of the county government. The primary responsibility would be to ensure delivery of services to the citizens of Nairobi,” said President Kenyatta.

Herculean task

A herculean task awaiting the NMS team in the first 100 days will be to dismantle cartels that have choked the capital city and made it nearly impossible to deliver services.

“The biggest problem that the city faces is corruption and cartels that have a vice-like grip on City Hall. From the collection of garbage to parking of vehicles, from water supply to issue of permits, be it for business or construction, the cartels and corrupt practices have made service delivery impossible,” said Uhuru.

On the issue of rail transport, NMS will work to establish a railway development authority that will ensure the actualisation of the Nairobi Railway City master plan that seeks to create and redevelop about 425 acres of the area around the Nairobi Railway Station.

The authority will identify the anchor projects and investors for this re-development project.

Issuance of building and construction approvals, which had stalled for the past seven months, will also be handled by NMS. The team is expected to implement a plan to clear the backlog of construction approvals.

NMS will have the mandate to take steps to rid the construction sector of corruption and reduce the cost of doing business.

"The construction business relies heavily on approvals on various investments, and the erosion of economic value owing to dysfunctional approval processes is well documented. Complaints of corruption and having to pay out bribes to receive permits and approvals have to be a thing of the past,” said Uhuru.

Street furniture

On transport, NMS will work with the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority to implement non-motorised transport goals that include providing paved walkways, street furniture, and improved conditions for pedestrians on foot and/or cycling.

The team will also oversee construction of walkways on Muindi Mbingu Street, Wabera Street, and Kenyatta Avenue.

To stem the disruptive use of city streets as parking for matatus, the NMS will operationalise two matatu termini at Desai Road and Park Road. It will also reintroduce the use of traffic signals to improve traffic management and help decongest the central business district.

President Kenyatta, in a move seen as aimed to increase parking revenue, ordered the NMS to introduce automated, hourly car parking facilities at the central bus station (along Landhies Road), sunken car park (along Aga Khan Walk), and the Nairobi law courts parking (along City Hall Way).

"Our plans for enhanced service through commuter rail are also going to yield great results on decongesting Nairobi. We will take first delivery of four out of the 11 diesel multiple unit trains from Spain by July 2020. The availability of these units will increase our capacity to provide commuter rail services."

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