Transfer of City Hall functions to NMS unconstitutional, court rules

Friday, June 19th, 2020 00:00 |
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko sign the transfer of functions deal at State House. The court declared the pact unconstitutional. Photo/PSCU

 Bernice Mbugua @BerniceMuhindi

The Employment and Labour Relations Court yesterday declared the transfer of some of Nairobi County functions to the national government unconstitutional.

Lady Justice Hellen Wasilwa ruled that the transfer was vague and unconstitutional, citing lack of approval by the County Assembly.

“The transfer of the county functions ought to have been sanctioned by the County Assembly which was not done,” ruled the Judge.

Wasilwa declared illegal the seconding of  6,000 Nairobi County staff to Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

She said the national government ought to have consulted the County Public Service Board before seconding the employees to the newly-formed agency.

Justice Wasilwa, however, noted that since the transfer had already taken place and money disbursed to NMS, the court would not transfer the employees back to the county government. The judge gave the National government 90 days to legalise the takeover.

The President invoked the provisions of Article 187  to enter into an agreement to transfer functions from City Hall, including health, transport, public works , utilities , planning and development to the National government.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, however, later backtracked, claiming he did not have a chance to read the documents before signing the deal, and vowed to start a process of reverting the functions back to his office. He  accused the National government of frustrating his office.

The judge was ruling in a case filed by activist Okiya Omtatah, in which he sought to have the transfer declared unlawful. 

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