JOE AGEYO: Sonko or Badi, Nairobians couldn’t care less, let them get their act together
On February 25 this year, almost out of nowhere, the country was treated to an elaborate ceremony at State House, Nairobi, in which for all practical purposes, Governor Mike Sonko, surrendered the running of the county government to the national government.
In the agreement that was colourfully called ‘Deed of Transfer’, the governor signed away five key functions of the county government.
At the time, the governor appeared besieged with an impeachment motion hanging over his head like the Sword of Damocles and a court case circling him like a vulture.
Indeed, his submissive demeanour at State House on that day, portrayed a man at his wit’s end. So subdued he was that he appeared completely at the mercy of the president and everyone present.
But barely two months later, it seemed as if the governor had woken up from a bad dream. He began reasserting his authority as if an evil spirit had momentarily hijacked his hands and signed the city away.
In April, the governor refused to sign the supplementary Appropriation Bill 2020, that would have allocated some Ksh.15 billion to the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).
He argued that the county assembly had irregularly allocated to NMS, monies and functions that were never transferred in the State House deal.
That stalemate saw NMS Director Major General Mohamed Badi complain rather loudly that his new outfit was broke since the governor had blocked the movement of funds.
Before long the two outfits were at each other again, this time fighting over who should take credit for the development of walkways and cyling paths in Nairobi’s Central Business District.
A week ago, NMS took to social media lambasting unnamed persons at City Hall for seeking to take credit for a street lighting project in Nairobi’s Mlango Kubwa area
I have not talked about the ugly display at the Senate the other day when the governor was called to answer to audit queries raised about the county or the shenanigans at the county assembly earlier on Thursday, again over the NMS deal and its implications.
I don’t know about you but all this is beginning to look very childish indeed. Who are we fooling here? Let’s get a few facts straight: first, the governor of Nairobi cannot turn around and start crying foul over this deal. He was physically present at State House when he signed it.
Two, he said, in defending the deal, that it was borne out of elaborate fact finding that included international benchmarking in some of the world’s top cities; three, he cannot claim to support the president on this deal but be against the NMS, which is a creation of the president and by extension the deal that he, Governor Sonko was part of.
On the other hand, the national government must come clean on this Nairobi saga. Both the president and the Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa were part and parcel of the deal that was signed at State House.
They cannot now sit nonchalantly as city residents bear the brunt of the confusion created by the Nairobi deal. One would imagine that the president speaks to both Sonko and Major General Badi, why would he not call them in a room and remind them of what they agreed – whatever it was? If it is true that General Badi is overreaching himself, is that by design and if not, why hasn’t anyone in the national government stepped in to bring him back in line?
I have no intention of trying to find out who is right between Governor Sonko and the Nairobi Metrolpolitan Services. They made this bed called a Deed of Transfer, they both must lie in it.
The only thing every Nairobian expects is seemless service. Nairobians pay taxes whether it is Sonko or Badi running the city, they are happy to have street lighting whether it is put up by Sonko or Badi, they want an orderly city no matter who brings the order. They want to do business in the city without being harassed by askaris, no matter who commands the askaris.
I hope by now, all those who orchestrated this deal, know that it was never going to be the magic wand that wipes away all the city’s problems. But that is a story for another day. For now, the point is this: Sonko or Badi, Nairobians couldn’t care less. Let them put their act together and just give us a break. We are tired.
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