Lawmakers ask President Uhuru to resolve crisis at City Hall

Thursday, January 9th, 2020 00:00 |

Nairobi MPs have urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene in the leadership crisis at the Nairobi County government.

The legislators said being the country’s capital, the leadership woes in the city should attract the President’s attention to inspire investor confidence.

Their call comes even as the County Assembly Speaker announced a special sitting today to discuss the leadership vacuum at City Hall occasioned by a court order barring Governor Mike Sonko from office.

Sonko has been operating without a deputy since the resignation of Polycarp Igathe in January 2018. 

Speaker Beatrice Elachi, through a gazette notice, indicated that today’s sitting will deliberate on county matters, but not limited to leadership crisis. 

And at the Parliament Buildings the group of MPs from the various constituents in the city defended Sonko’s move to appoint a deputy earlier this week, saying he did not break the law by so doing.

There have been speculation on legality of the governor’s appointment of Anne Kananu given the court barred him from accessing his office, pending the hearing and determination of corruption-related court case he is facing. 

“We are appealing to President Kenyatta to immediately put mechanisms into place to address the problems facing Nairobi.

Bunge la Mwananchi president John Mark Ababu addresses the press on the nomination of Anne Kananu as Nairobi deputy governor. Photo/PD/ TIMOTHY NJENGA

We can’t just sit and watch our county going down,” they said in statement read by  Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati.

Within mandate

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino said Sonko was within his mandate to appoint a deputy.

“ There is no vacuum here in Nairobi. Sonko still remains the legitimate governor and he can exercise any leadership role as required by the Constitution,” he said.

Nominated Woman Representative Millicent Omanga urged the County Assembly to avoid being caught up in petty politics and instead focus on delivering services to residents at a point when their input is much needed.

 Other MPs at the press briefing were Charles Kanyi Njagua (Starehe), Nixon Korir (Lang’ata) Imran Okoth (Kibra), George Theuri (Embakasi West) and George Aladwa (Makadara).

Meanwhile, the Council of Governors (CoG) also threw its weight behind Sonko, endorsing his move to nominate a deputy.

In a statement from chairman Wycliffe Oparanya, the council said Sonko was free to exercise his constitutional mandate.

“We are glad the governor has exercised his constitutional mandate as the head of Nairobi county…the deputy governor will assist him to discharge his duties,” said Oparanya, who is also Kakamega Governor.

Expedite vetting

The CoG urged the County Assembly to expedite the vetting of the nominee as required by law.

Elsewhere, a lobby group took a swipe at Elachi for allegedly ignoring Sonko’s nominee. The Bunge la Mwanachi challenged the Speaker to be impartial and avoid working with MCAs opposed to Kananu’s nomination.

 This comes as Assembly Leader of Majority Charles Thuo said the House is keen to conclude Kananu’s vetting as early as next week.

“We have agreed to finalise the issue of the DG’s position as soon as possible.

However, there are issues concerning the legality of Sonko’s move to nominate the DG. That’s why we have agreed to wait and give the offices concerned time to react on the same,” he added.

 Addressing a press conference accompanied by a group of MCAs, Thuo warned that if not handled well, the matter could create a loophole for cartels to take over City Hall leadership.

He revealed that a letter calling members for a special sitting next Tuesday had been forwarded to the Speaker, adding that they had sought a legal opinion of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General on the legality of the nomination.

The vetting process, he said, will involve assessing Kananu’s academic papers, suitability and record, among other things.

However Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua faulted Sonko over the nomination, saying he was suspended by operation of the law and his bail terms.

Kananu is currently serving as the Chief Officer in charge of the Disaster Management Services at the county. —Reporting by George Kebaso, Alvin Mwangi and Bernard Gitau

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