Dissolving Nairobi County a costly affair for city residents

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On October 17, 2018, I was a very disturbed man. This is after I heard in the mainstream media that the youthful Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot was drafting a Bill that recommends dissolution of Nairobi County.

Although the constitution gives freedom of speech to all Kenyans, the dissolution of any of the 47 counties in the country would be a major setback for devolution.

Article 255 of the Constitution states that a proposed amendment to this Constitution shall be enacted in accordance with Article 256 or 257 and approved in accordance with clause (2) by a referendum, if the amendment relates to, among others, the supremacy of this Constitution, the territory of Kenya, the sovereignty of the people, the Bill of Rights and the objects, principles and structure of devolved government.

There is no question that the frivolous proposal in the Bill by the Kericho Senator proposing to amend the Constitution to scrap Nairobi as a county does not affect Nairobi only, but the entire structure of devolved Government in Kenya, the territory of Kenya, the sovereignty of the people and the rights of Nairobi County residents.

For any proposed amendment to be approved by a referendum, (a) at least 20 per cent of the registered voters in each of at least half of the counties must vote in the referendum; and (b) the amendment must be supported by a simple majority of the citizens voting in the referendum. And this is where the danger lies, people in other counties who do not remotely know what Nairobi is or have never been to Nairobi are expected to vote for retention or removal of Nairobi from list of County Governments.

In fact, nothing appears to require that Nairobi residents vote for the referendum or approve the amendment. If 20pc of registered voters from any county vote for the amendment, it will carry the day even if none of the Nairobi residents voted for it.

The question is not whether or not Aaron Cheruiyot’s proposed amendment to scrap Nairobi County will pass, it is next to impossible that it will survive the above rigour. The question is: which dog is wagging the tail that is the Kericho Senator? Whose brief is he holding and why?

Cheruiyot’s proposed Bill to revert Nairobi to the National Government is a backdoor ploy for a few people to access the resources of the county.

Nairobi is the smallest county, but with the largest population of over 4 million people according to the 2009 census.

We will mobilise Nairobi residents to demonstrate and seek the courts support so that we govern ourselves in Nairobi as demanded by the 2010 Constitution under devolution.

People will not use shortcuts to impose leaders on us.

(Shitanda is the Bunge La Mwananchi President)

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