Connect with us


Stage set for dissolution of Nairobi county government – Weekly Citizen




The stage has been set for the dissolution of the Nairobi county government after the government ordered police to bar county executives from accessing their offices in the capital.
The move that caught the county chiefs offguard was ordered by State House and supervised by the OCPD Central Police Station.
The police under the command of the OCS, locked all the doors of most county ministers’ offices, as well as that of Governor Mike Sonko.
The embattled Nairobi governor has not appointed a deputy two years after the abrupt resignation of Polycarp Igathe.
Insiders say that Uhuru Kenyatta has been advised to dissolve the county government after the anti-graft agency launched a graft probe on speaker Beatrice Elachi a few days after charging Sonko with abuse of office.
The Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission opened investigations into Elachi over allegations of abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.
The probe threatens to further complicate the leadership crisis in the capital city given that there is no deputy governor to run it.
The ruling Jubilee Party also accuses the speaker of acting unilaterally and in defiance of the advice of the party’s top command.
These developments have complicated matters at City Hall given Sonko, who is facing graft charges, has been barred from office and has no deputy.
According to the constitution, the president may suspend a county government; – (a) in an emergency arising out of internal conflict or war; or (b) in any other exceptional circumstances.
(2) A county government shall not be suspended under clause (1) (b) unless an independent commission of inquiry has investigated allegations against the county government, the president is satisfied that the allegations are justified and the senate has authorized suspension.

Governor Sonko during his recent arrest

(3) During a suspension under this article, arrangements shall be made for the performance of the functions of a county government in accordance with an act of parliament.
(4) The senate may at any time terminate the suspension.
(5) A suspension under this article shall not extend beyond a period of ninety days.
(6) On the expiry of the period provided for under clause (5), elections for the relevant county government shall be held.
According to sources, the president will cite exceptional circumstances as the one informing his decision to dissolve the county, given that there is no one to run it once Elachi is charged with graft.
Initially, State House wanted Sonko impeached to pave way for Elachi to act for 60 days as fresh elections are held but this has now been complicated by the graft probe she is facing.
If the speaker were to be prosecuted and required to step aside, that would make the leadership vacuum worse, and hence the new move by State House to dissolve the county.
Elachi is yet to respond to a letter from the EACC detailing the claims against her, which were largely related to the appointment of Monica Muthami as the acting assembly clerk to approve the assembly’s spending.
The speaker also faces accusations of frustrating the return to office of Jacob Ngwele as clerk because of their past conflicts, despite a court order.
Elachi returned to office in October last year after nearly a year out of City Hall, following her controversial impeachment by MCAs over alleged abuse of office. She had been kicked out after fights with Ngwele over foreign trip costs, but the courts overturned her removal.



The speaker is also a person of interest in investigations into claims involving the county public service board, which she chairs.
The leadership wrangles at the board, which oversees the spending of billions of shillings, led to the ousters of Elachi, Abdi Guyo as majority leader, Elias Otieno as a minority leader and Ngwele as a clerk as Jubilee and ODM cracked the whip and sought to replace their representatives.
For the CECs, most of them were last year summoned by EACC as it sought additional documents for certain transactions regarding the construction of a stadium in Dandora.
Besides CECs, senior officials summoned included Joyce Kinyanjui (director IGR and head of CEC secretariat), Samuel Kinyanjui (administration officer, CEC secretariat), Peter Mugo (chief of staff), deputy county secretary Leboo ole Morintat and acting attorney Christine Ireri.
Others were executives Larry Wambua (agriculture, now devolution), Mohamed Dagane (Health, suspended), Hitan Majevdia (Transport), Charles Kerich (land, suspended) and Winfred Gathangu (finance, now agriculture).
On November 21, Lucia Mulwa (CEC for education), Allan Igambi (CEC trade), Vesca Kagongo (CEC water and environment) and Hitan Majevdia (CEC roads) were grilled while on November 22, the commission grilled Newton Munene (CEC for ICT), Pauline Kahiga (agriculture) and Charles Kerich (suspended CEC for finance)
To save Sonko from impeachment, a plot had been hatched to send tens of MCAs on a superfluous tour of the United Arab Emirates at the taxpayers’ expense.
The 18 ward reps were scheduled to fly out to Dubai for 11 days, from December 19 to 29 last year to orchestrate .
But ODM MCAs moved fast and gave Elachi a seven-day ultimatum to call a special sitting to discuss the woes bedeviling the county.
The Dubai tour had been planned to take place around the same time when ODM members were calling for a special sitting of the assembly, during which a motion to impeach Sonko would have been tabled.
Sending the 18 MCAs out of the country appeared to have been a stroke of genius as it would have scuttled the quest to have at least 82 MCAs, out of the 123 who sit in the Nairobi county assembly, sign the censure motion to remove the embattled governor from office.
The constitution requires a two-thirds majority to impeach a governor, and had a motion to impeach Sonko been called while the 18 MCAs were away, it would have been considerably weakened by the depleted quorum.
The letter allowing the MCAs, alongside three county staff, to travel out of the country, indicated the trip had been approved by the chief officers of finance and economic planning.
It originated from the office of the clerk of Nairobi assembly and was addressed to the Nairobi county secretary.
It bore the name of acting clerk Monicah Muthami, but was signed on her behalf.
The letter requested the county executive to help facilitate the flights, accommodation and related expenses of the 18 MCAs who, curiously, had been invited to Dubai by different institutions.
No further reason for the 11-day visit to the emirate of Dubai, a popular destination for holidaymakers from around the world, was given.
Those who would have been on the junket are ODM MCAs Jared Okode (Mathare North), Maurice Gari (Nairobi West), Osman Khalif (South C), Francis Otieno (Dandora Area IV), Nicholas Okumu (Lower Savannah), Kennedy Obuya (Imara Daima), Kennedy Oyugi (Nyayo Highrise) and David Okelo (Huruma).
On the Jubilee side were majority leader Charles Thuo, Paul Ndung’u (Pumwani), Patriciah Mutheu (Mlango Kubwa), Joseph Wambugu (Karura), Kabiru Muchene (Uthiru- Ruthimitu), Mark Ndugu (Maringo – Hamza), Julius Njoka (Kariobangi North), and nominated MCAs Joyce Kamau and Millicent Jagero.
But ODM through secretary general Edwin Sifuna warned the MCAs that they would face disciplinary action if they failed to support the impeachment motion.
For now, a section of MCAs are pushing for a special sitting to be held this month after Elachi failed to convene a sitting last month as requested by minority leader David Mberia.
According to Elachi, she had been waiting for an advisory opinion from the Attorney General on the state of affairs after Sonko – who has been without a deputy for close to two years – was barred from accessing his office over a corruption case.
On the sidelines, however, minority whip Peter Imwatok is determined to table a censure motion against Sonko claiming he has collected 82 signatures, enough to support his push.
But majority leader Charles Thuo dismissed Imwatok’s signatures, vowing to marshal enough numbers in the assembly to trash any attempts to impeach the governor.
Imwatok’s wing has however failed to get audience with the speaker, with sources saying they are drafting another request for a special sitting this month failure to which Elachi will be impeached for standing in their way.
Even as Council of Governors chair Wycliffe Oparanya opens a battlefront at the Supreme Court to challenge barring of governors from office, Sonko and his allies have resorted to a reconciliatory tone reaching out to the assembly leaders and the leadership of parties to calm the storm at City Hall.
Sonko, who has been away from the limelight, was on Christmas eve spotted in Pumwani Hospital’s maternity wing sharing Christmas gifts with the new mothers.
The Nairobi county boss in a certificate of urgency, sought to review his bail terms as well as bar speaker Elachi from assuming functions of the office of the governor.

Source link