NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 14 – Kenyans will have an opportunity to decide on whether to place Nairobi under the national government in an attempt to streamline the management of the capital city’s key services.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa says the matter is among issues to be addressed through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitution amendment initiative spearheaded through the 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Leader Raila Odinga.
“As to whether or not we will have this in future, this is a national conversation that Kenyans will have during this BBI engagement and I believe Kenyans are going to express themselves –including Nairobians- on whether they want a metropolitan,” he said Wednesday during the Legal Awareness Week organised by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).
President Uhuru Kenyatta created Nairobi Metropolitan Services after Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko ceded functions in the Health, Planning, Transport and Public Works to NMS, which was placed directly under the Executive Office of the President
Wamalwa said the National Government had to step in to redeem the image of Nairobi by ridding the county of traffic jams and cartels. He also listed water rationing and garbage as other major challenges in Nairobi.
“Indeed in the past we had a minister for Nairobi Metropolitan, this did not do away with the City Council of Nairobi which had a Mayor and they were running their business but the national government was managing the metropolitan so it is a choice that will have to be made, but it will be done democratically, it will be done constitutionally and it will be done legally,” the Devolution CS said.
The creation of NMS has heightened tensions between Governor Mike Sonko and NMS Director General Mohamed Badi, with the former accusing him of taking over his mandate.
At one point, Sonko claimed that he was drunk when he signed off the key functions.