Nairobi Governor on quest to get city back

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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has taken on President Uhuru Kenyatta through a case at the High Court that aims to reverse the takeover of the county by the national government.
By supporting a lawsuit filed by activist Okiya Omtatah seeking a declaration that the transfer of four key functions to the central government is illegal, Mr Sonko has effectively taken the war to the president who oversaw the signing of the agreement.
The governor and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa inked the deal at State House in a ceremony witnessed by President Kenyatta and Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka on February 25.
Uhuru said the takeover was necessary to improve service delivery in the capital city, which had been hampered by a power struggle at City Hall.
The president entrusted a team headed by Major General Mohamed Badi to run the city under the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).
The new team took over running of the Health, Transport, Public Works, and Planning and Development departments to the chagrin of Sonko, who refused to assent to a Bill allocating Sh15 billion for the transferred functions.
The disgruntled county boss went on the offensive, claiming that some of the president’s men were taking advantage of the agreement to frustrate him.
On April 21, Sonko launched a public tirade castigating unnamed government officials after sanitization booths he had installed in the city were vandalized.
It later emerged that he had met with Deputy President William Ruto to voice his frustrations.
“When we started this process, the president had good intentions, but some of his officers, especially the ones who hate me, have hijacked the process to embarrass and frustrate me with impunity. This is the time to terminate the transfer of functions deed,” Sonko said.
The governor claimed he had been duped into signing the deed of transfer of functions.
“To date, I have not been furnished with a copy of the deed. I was not given sufficient time to even read the draft. I was told it is a good thing on service delivery to the great people of Nairobi as I deal with my court cases. Since I love you, the people of Nairobi, and have your interests at heart, I had to accept without even going through the document properly. I didn’t know it will turn against us.”

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