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Sonko says he initiated Nairobi takeover talks

NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 27 – Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has defended his decision to surrender key county functions to the national government.

Sonko said he initiated the talks that led to the signing of the controversial deal Tuesday at State House, Nairobi before President Uhuru Kenyatta, in what has sparked mixed reactions.

“I initiated discussions with the National Government with a view of finding a sustainable approach to service delivery that leverages both on the County and National resources and competencies,” Sonko said in a statement.

Sonko said he first sought to establish how other jurisdictions globally managed key counties or regions such as Nairobi which is the country’s seat of power.

“My Government set out on a fact-finding mission that saw us benchmark and take lessons from other jurisdictions across the world including Washington DC in the US and Abuja in Nigeria,” he said.

Following the bench-marking missions, the controversial Governor who is facing corruption charges and is currently out on bond said that “it was established that cities and metropolis, the size of Nairobi, are best served jointly by devolved units and Central Governments”.

Sonko said once the deal sets in motion, city residents will be able to see immense change in service delivery.

Describing the deal as “historic”, Sonko said the partnership will help “reposition Nairobi as the economic hub of the region”.

“As part of this renewed agenda and purpose, my Government will ensure that Nairobi regains its famed status as the “Green City in the Sun” among other targets that we have set for ourselves,” he said.

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Legal experts are divided on the constitutionality of Sonko’s actions, even as activist Okiya Omtatah filed a case Thursday seeking to have the deal nullified.

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