Senators divided over Nairobi takeover


There is a divide in the senate over the legality of takeover agreement between City Hall and the National Government.

On Wednesday, the Senate summoned the Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and the Council of Governors Chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya over the takeover.Senate Deputy Speaker Kindiki Kithure issued the orders directing that the hearings should be jointly done by the Devolution and Justice and Legal Affairs Committees.

Kithure directed the committees to file an interim report within twenty days affirming whether there were any legislative gaps that the County Government and the National Government might have taken advantage of while signing the controversial deal.

He further added that there should be another round of public participation which should be conducted within Nairobi, followed by the presentation of a comprehensive report within sixty days.

The ruling was followed by a heated session with conflicting sides on whether the move by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to surrender some of the key functions of the County to the National Government, in a deal signed Tuesday before President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House Nairobi was legal.

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen who tabled the motion of adjournment described the move as illegal.“It is therefore, completely baffling and unfathomable that despite the express requirements of the Constitution, the move was conducted in an entirely opaque manner with no reference whatsoever to the public generally and in particular to the people of Nairobi City County,” he protested.

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja on the other hand surprised members when he claimed that he was in the know of the details of the transfer between the National Government and the County Government.He further supported the move arguing that it was the best solution to the crisis in the city, giving scenarios of situations where services had been delayed due to lack of proper leadership framework within the county.

“I was consulted about this move and I think it was timely. The city residents can now get the much-needed services,” he said.Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said the new development warrants for the impeachment of the Governor since he is left with no substantive duties.“Sonko is now placed in the category of Deputy Governors who have no work but only read newspapers. He should be impeached immediately,” he said.

Kilonzo Jnr then said it would be unfair to the city residents to pay the Governor and members of his Secretariat yet his job has only been reduced to a Governor on paper.He noted that the Governor had conceded that he had no capacity to lead, describing him as a “Governor without portfolio”.

“Why pay money to the Governor yet his fate has been sealed,” he said.Senate Minority Leader James Orengo on the other hand cautioned members not to belittle the matter.“What choice would have acted as an alternative? Would you rather suspend the entire county government, would you impeach the Governor, would you keep quiet and let Nairobi burn, these are all choices.

I think in this circumstance anybody who is acting rationally had to look for a way in dealing with the problem in Nairobi so that people could get services,” he said.A case was filed in court, challenging the move, with the hearing now set for March 11.


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