Kenya: Team Asks for More Time to Resolve NMS, Sonko Dispute

1 September 2020

The team handling the dispute between City Hall and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) has asked for 30 more days to resolve the issues between the two parties.

The team led by Solicitor-General Ken Ogeto has been meeting since mid-August for talks instigated by the High Court's 90-day ultimatum for the two parties to regularise the Deed of Transfer of functions as well as Governor Mike Sonko disputing the implementation of the agreement signed on July 24.

Three meetings have since been held at the AG's office, but a deal is far from being struck.

This has forced Mr Ogeto to ask the county government to give his team 30 more days to try to reach a compromise on a number of issues.

"We held our third meeting on Thursday last week, and the AG requested for 30 days to resolve the dispute, which the county government agreed to," said a representative from the county who has been part of the talks.

The parties are yet to agree on the mode of financing the NMS, the issue of the governor's official residence, secondment of county staff as well as the issue of pending bills and contracts.

Ancillary services

City Hall has raised issues on the scope of transferred functions complaining of attempts by NMS to assume functions beyond those contemplated in the Deed through ancillary services.

The devolved unit complained that NMS has expanded its mandate to include inspectorate, enforcement, ambulance services, markets and trade, ceremonial car and mayor's house.

"NMS agreed to give back the ceremonial vehicle, but concerning the governor's official residence, they said they needed a week to consult with their bosses," the source said.

A joint team from NMS, City Hall and the AG's office has been tasked with making proposals on how to resolve the other sticky issues within 14 days.

On transfer of county staff, it was agreed that human resource teams from the Nairobi County Public Service Board, NMS, PSC and a representative from the AG's office chart the way forward.

Regarding NMS' financing, City Hall wants funds transferred to the County Revenue Fund from which NMS will get its allocation. However, NMS wants direct funding from the Treasury.

Pending bills

NMS also wants all contracts and pending bills for transferred functions handed over to them. However, City Hall insists on paying the contracts it signed once they are completed.

Governor Sonko's spokesman Ben Mulwa says NMS is overstepping its mandate because finance was not a transferred functions.

"We're wondering why they are interested in pending bills, which are as old as 2011, even before the county was established."

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