Embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko risks being edged out of the control of City Hall affairs if President Uhuru Kenyatta’s budgetary request for the Nairobi Metropolitan Services is approved.
Since he handed over four key City Hall dockets to the national government and the subsequent creation of the NMS to carry out those functions, Sonko has been engaged in supremacy battles with the new entity.
In the latest tug of war, Sonko denied funding to the Maj-Gen Mohamed badi-led NMS, by rejecting a supplementary budget approved by the Nairobi County Assembly, a move meant to cripple its operations.
Now, President Kenyatta has sought Sh26 billion for the NMS through the head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, a counter-move like to make Sonko a lame-duck governor just waiting for the next election or conclusion of his corruption case.
Sonko refused to assent to the bill passed by the Assembly on April 2, accusing members of the County Assembly of funding functions that had not been transferred to the NMS, a position that was backed by Solicitor-General Ken Ogeto, leaving Badi unit without cash for operations.
Following the President’s request, Kinyua has written to the National Treasury to allocate an estimated Sh26 billion to NMS for the 2020/2021 financial year, money to be put under the Presidency.
Consequently, Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yatani, has written to the National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai, seeking an amendment to next financial year’s budget estimates, and allocate Sh24.6 billion on account of the NMS and Sh1.5 billion for Mukuru Renewal Project under NMS.
“Head of Public Service submitted the Budget Estimates for Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) after our submission to Approval of cash will edge governor out of City Hall affairs amid supremacy wrangles with new agency Parliament. In this regard, we request for inclusion of NMS budget estimates in the National Government budget under the Presidency,” reads the letter to Sialai, dated May 14, 2020.
According to CS Yatani, the funds, which will give NMS financial independence devoid of Sonko’s interference, will be raised from budget realignment, additional funding from development partners and mopping up of surplus cash from parastatals.
The money being sought, if approved, will be nearly double the city’s current financial year’s annual exchequer funding of Sh16.5 billion.