Sonko’s successor takes oath, gives nod to county budget

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020 00:00 |
Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura is sworn in as acting governor at KICC, yesterday. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Acting Nairobi Governor Benson Mutura Kangara hit the ground running by signing the Nairobi City County Appropriation Bill 2020 to release funds to Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

Mutura, also the County Assembly Speaker had while taking his oath of office committed to resolve the Nairobi County government budget stalemate, noting he was aware of the challenges the county and the staff are faced with, due to the failure by ousted Mike Sonko to sign the budget.

Sonko had refused to append his signature to the county’s Sh37.5 billion annual budget that allocated Sh27.1 billion to NMS, leaving City Hall with Sh8.4 billion.

 The ousted governor had maintained that while he was not opposed to development in the capital city, he wanted the budget process to be legitimate and not a punitive exercise targeting his administration.

NMS boss present

However yesterday, Finance CEC Allan Igambi presented the bill to Mutura who signed it in the presence of NMS Director, General Mohamed Badi.

“We are now good to go. As an entity, our mandate is to ensure we have delivered to the residents of Nairobi.

We will now be able to pay our staff as we continue with other projects,’ said Badi.

On his part, Mutura said that he was ready to work with NMS to ensure residents of the capital have access to good services.

“For the few months that I will be in office, I am going to work closely with NMS to make Nairobi a better place.

“I expect full support from all CECs, chief officers and Directors, so that we may deliver,” he said.

Sonko had recommended the budget be reduced to Sh31.6 billion in accordance with the County Fiscal Strategy Paper 2020/2021 and budget estimates presented by the executive.

 Another reason advanced by Sonko was that NMS was designed to deny him and the people of Nairobi of their constitutional rights.

 The executive, City Hall staff, MCAs and the assembly staff have gone without salaries for several months owing to the stalemate.

Since June, the executive and the assembly have been surviving on a Sh8.5 billion Vote on Account, which is 25 per cent of the annual budget.

The MCAs passed the Sh37.5 billion budget but Sonko declined to assent to it and instead returned it to the assembly through a memorandum addendum.

“We are happy that we will able to move on with our services. We have suffered for some time now but I am happy that we will now move on with our development projects,” said Kayole Central Ward MCA Jeremiah Karani.

Parklands MCA Jayendra Malde also hailed Sonko’s departure saying days of drama had come to an end and it is high time residents received services.

“Its sad most of our staff have had to suffer but it’s a new dawn now. Such incidents of delaying the budget will not happen in the future,” he said.

The senate voted overwhelmingly in favour of four charges brought against the governor which includes gross violation of the constitution, abuse of office, misconduct and crimes against national law.

At least 27 senators supported the charges against 16 who voted no.

Sonko was first impeached by 88 members of the county assembly on December 3 when they voted to support the impeachment motion while two others voted against the move.

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