Kenya: Why Nairobi City County is Staring at Dissolution

11 August 2020

Nairobi County government could be staring at dissolution if the wrangles pitting Governor Mike Sonko against other leaders, including Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director-General Mohammed Badi, are not resolved.

Pundits and governance experts who spoke to the Nation said the chaos in the capital are as a result of a leadership crisis, which could have adverse effects on the stability of the county and delivery of services if not resolved soon enough.

Others have linked the wrangles to Sonko's erratic leadership style, who they say has presided over an administration characterised by intimidation, disorganisation, coercion and blackmail.

No substantive clerk

Besides the lack of a deputy governor, the assembly runs without a substantive clerk following a protracted war between embattled Clerk Jacob Ngwele and outgoing Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

Mr Ngwele, who had been ousted, was reinstated by courts, but Ms Elachi termed the move illegal and vowed not to allow him back in office.

Former deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe, who resigned in January 2018, is yet to be replaced, same as former County Secretary Peter Kariuki who was sacked in September 2018.

The Trade and Agriculture dockets have also remained without substantive office holders after the sacking of Mr Winfred Kathangu and Ms Pauline Kahiga.

County on auto pilot

Prof Gitile Naituli, who lecturers on governance, and Mr Mark Bichache, a governance expert, said the county is currently on an auto pilot-- a situation that was amplified by the resignation of Ms Elachi, who was the only senior official after the governor.

"The final solution to the leadership crisis could be the dissolution of the county through a petition to the President by either a private citizen or even one of the MCAs, and let the functions of the county be run by NMS," Prof Gitile said.

The suggestion for dissolution of the county is not something new as other parties, including Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i, have also proposed it before.

Dr Matiang'i last month said a dissolution of Mr Sonko's government was one of the options on the table following a series of fights between the governor and NMS boss Mohammed Badi over the management and the running of county affairs. According to Article 192 of the Constitution, a dissolution of a county government can only take place in case of an emergency arising out of internal conflict or war or in any other exceptional circumstances.

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