Sonko-Badi wars head for arbitration

Friday, August 7th, 2020 00:00 |
Nairobi Metropolitan Services director Maj-Gen Mohamed Badi. Photo/PD/FILE

The supremacy war pitting embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko against Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) Director Major-General Mohammed Badi has been referred to the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC) for arbitration.

Sonko, who has been uncomfortable with the entry of NMS into the running of the city’s affairs and a section of the County Assembly leadership, is reported to have sent a notice of declaration of dispute to the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution Eugene Wamalwa, touching on the Deed of Transfer of Functions, which he signed in February surrendering some of the key functions.

The governor, in a 14-page letter dated July 24, expressed his intention to have the deal he signed with the minister at State House, and which led to the creation of NMS terminated on grounds that it was anchored on an illegality.

Yesterday, ICRTC acting chairperson John Burugu confirmed that the matter, which has left the leadership at the country’s capital divided, had been forwarded to IGTRC, but declined to discuss it, saying official communications would be made once the arbitration gets underway.

“I am aware that a notice of declaration of dispute by the Nairobi  governor over the city operations has been referred to our committee, but it is something that I wouldn’t want to talk about now because consultations with the Summit and Council of Governors were ongoing,” Burugu said, adding that the process would follow the established legal framework and the Constitution.

The process is expected to be stormy due to existing bad blood between Badi and Sonko.

Parties expected to take part in the dispute resolution include the Attorney General, NMS, IGRTC, Council of Governors and the Nairobi City County Government team. 

Crucial departments

During the hand-over exercise, Sonko surrendered several crucial departments including health, transport, public works, utilities and ancillary services and planning and development departments, leaving him as a mere figure head in the running of Nairobi county.

In his protest letter, Sonko maintained that since he signed the Deed of Transfer, the national government had adopted an overbearing and superior attitude so far as the four affected functions are concerned and other functions that are under the Fourth Schedule.

“The Nairobi City is unwilling to fly blind on this, and its constitutionally vested mandate over the 4 Functions and/or violate the applicable law in furtherance of an unlawful scheme.

Since the national government has adopted a wholly belligerent and bullying attitude against the Nairobi City County Government in respect of these 4 Functions, it is best that the county government withdraws from the Deed of Transfer of Functions,” the letter.

The supremacy wars over the running of Nairobi saw Sonko reject a Supplementary Budget approved by the Assembly in a move, which was calculated to deny the NMS funds to run its operations.

Besides frustrating NMS by denying it funds and threatening to terminate the deal, Sonko sued the outfit after it seconded nearly all county employees from key departments to the national government so that they can be under the entity’s control.  

The raw in the city leadership on Wednesday formed part of the agenda of the National Security Council following a spate of violent altercations at the assembly that culminated in a fracas involving Ward Reps allied to Sonko and Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi over her impeachment, resulting in the hospitalisation of Mlango Kubwa MCA Mutheu Musyimi.

Last week, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, who described City Hall as a “war zone” said he would table a paper before the NSC detailing the policing challenges for advice on how best to tackle them.

But Sonko, through his spokesperson Ben Mulwa, blamed the CS for causing chaos at City Hall by sending police to attack MCAs while performing their duties.

 “The governor considered the utterances by Matiang’i extremely reckless. Police, not MCAs caused the chaos.

If Matiang’i had not sent officers there to interrupt MCAs as they handed over the impeachment petition which is their work there would have been no chaos,” Mulwa told People Daily

More on News