Five months ago in a televised function, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was in State House for a special duty, never witnessed since the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.
In front of the media, Governor Sonko flanked by Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and Attorney General Paul Kihara signed the Deed of Transfer of some functions of the county to the national government. To witness this great occasion was President Uhuru Kenyatta and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.
This transfer of county functions was envisaged by the crafters of our Constitution to assist any county government whenever they felt overwhelmed to deliver services to residents.
It is not my intention to be speculative of the thinking and reasoning as to how Governor Sonko arrived at this decision which is now a landmark in our history and a precedent.
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However, Sonko has been making pronouncements to the effect that he will disown this Deed of Transfer and reclaim the four functions. But, unlike the State House function in which Sonko singularly signed the Deed of Transfer, without involving any of the many Jubilee MPs, MCAs and even Senators who are practising lawyers, this time, Sonko has contracted Counsel Harrison Kinyanjui as his attorney.
The legality or otherwise of the signing or revocation of the Deed of Transfer, is beyond my scope. However, I only disagree with his reasoning that it is the Director General of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Maj. Gen. Mohammed Badi and his style of leadership and management, which made him arrive at the decision to review his position.
In the 2017 elections, the Nairobi electorate voted for all the elective seats contested. Governor Sonko won handsomely with over 800,000 votes making him number 3 after Uhuru and Raila as candidates who garnered most votes. Consequently, he managed the functions of the county from 2017 until early 2020 when he made the unprecedented decision (of transferring functions), which was in itself shrouded in secrecy between him and the head of the national government.
Neither the elected Jubilee leaders of Nairobi nor even the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs), had prior knowledge of this supposedly Solomonic move by their governor. In fact just like us, the “Walala hoi” of Nairobi, our elected leaders only learnt of this agreement from the media.
The sovereignty of Nairobi lies with the people of the county who delegated the same to the Governor, and Sonko was obligated to seek our views in a form of public participation which is explicitly provided for in our Constitution.
He never did so, then.
Sonko derived his powers and authority from the consent and general consensus of Nairobians and thus was bound by morality and decency to explain why he was abdicating his responsibilities by handing over almost 70% of the county functions to the national government.
It is ironical for Sonko to belatedly attempt to tell us today the reasoning behind his revocation of the Deed of Transfer, when previously he neither consulted nor sought our justified opinions as to why he wanted to transfer the functions. He should spare us his usual unwarranted tantrums and allow Director General Badi who evidently is doing a good job, as directed by his appointing authority, the Commander-in-Chief.
For the five months that Director General Badi and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services have been running the county with military precision, all has been quiet.
However, when Badi promised to repossess all public plots grabbed in the county, and recently made good his threat, by repossessing the grabbed Gigiri Fire Station land, from the cartels, Sonko woke up from his deep slumber and started questioning the Deed of Transfer.
Something definitely does not add up here!
The Director General promptly reminded the public that he is there to deliver quality services and obey the cardinal rule of all soldiers - obeying the orders of the Commander-in-Chief.
Of course Sonko as a populist politician routinely doles out goodies (boda bodas, water tanks, school fees, coffins etc), and which we appreciate.
But ultimately it is the services specified in the Constitution and the statutes regarding the devolved system of government which we demand as our rights.
And suffice to say, this is what we are witnessing in the style of leadership and management of Maj. Gen Badi and the NMS, and we can only summarise our intention thus, “KAZI IENDELEEE”!!
-The writer is the KANU National Organising Secretary.