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Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Mohamed Badi/CFM/FILE

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Sonko bans Monday meeting in first clash with NMS, says COVID-19 regulations key

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 5 – Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has called off a meeting called by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), saying it violates a ban on public gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

He said the meeting, for over 6,000 City Hall employees, called through the Public Service Commission(PSC) contravenes an order by President Uhuru Kenyatta against public gatherings as echoed by the Ministry of Health.

The Nairobi County Government take-over was signed off by Governor Mike Sonko at State House, Nairobi on Tuesday.

“There is a Presidential Directive expressly prohibiting all public gatherings,” he said, “It is, therefore, the height of impunity for the meeting to take place.”

When Health CS Mutahi Kagwe addressed a media briefing on Saturday, he said, “I also hear there was a meeting that was to take place somewhere in this city on Monday for 6,000 people. We cannot allow such a meeting to take place at this time.”

Kagwe spoke shortly after Sonko issued a heavily worded statement telling off the Stephen Kirogo-led PSC for disregarding protocol in inviting the over 6, 000 Nairobi County Staff who were seconded to work under the National Government.

The meeting was set to take place at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) where the employees were told to collect their letters of secondment.

“I did not hand over the county,” Sonko told Capital FM News, “I only handed over four functions.”

The functions Sonko handed over to the national government include: County Health Services; County Transport Services; County Planning and Development Services; and County Public Works, Utilities and Ancillary Services.

Sonko accused unnamed individuals in the national government whom, he said, are out to selfishly gain following the new arrangement that saw him surrender some of his functions, insisting that the Nairobi Metropolitan Services has no jurisdiction over the employees of the county.

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“As it stands, the responsibility still remains with the Nairobi County Public Service Board to notify its employees of the purported secondment. The Public Service Commission, on the other hand, should operate within its mandate, and can only second national government officers to the Nairobi Metropolitan Services,” he said.

He noted that the lack of coordination between officials from the national government and his administration risk jeopardising effective service delivery to city residents.

“I want to assure them that that will never happen under my watch,” he said.

The directive by Sonko is set to ignite tension between him and Major General Mohammed Badi with Sonko categorically stating that the new arrangement should not be construed to mean that his administration was dissolved.

He warned the officials from the national government whom he accused of constantly harassing the country employees to cease immediately maintaining that the lines of communication were clear.

He claimed that the employees were being summoned for meetings through telephone calls, SMSs, WhatsApp messages and other “unorthodox communication channels that are outside standard government procedure.”

“Worse, still, is the fact that most of this communication is done deliberately excluding me, in total contravention of the provisions we signed,” he said.

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