Kenya: BBI Proposes Retention of Dual NMS-City Hall Administration in Nairobi

22 October 2020

Nairobi — Nairobi County will retain its current special status, where the national government through the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) is in charge of four key functions, if recommendations in the just released Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional review are adopted.

This allays earlier assertions that Nairobi County would be entirely scrapped and be taken over by the national government, without a having a Governor at the helm.

In the report presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday, BBI proposes that health, roads, transport and disaster-related functions which were surrendered by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to NMS in March remain under the management of national government.

The report proposes that Article 200 of the Constitution be amended to require that Parliament, within a year, make a legislation to provide mechanisms for the carrying out of the said functions.

"Clause 66 of the Bill proposes to amend the Fourth Schedule to provide that powers and functions of Nairobi County health services, county transport, county planning and disaster management relating to the Nairobi capital city shall be distributed as functions of the national government," a draft bill containing the proposal reads.

The proposal allows the national government to take away considerable powers from future Governors of the Nairobi County, without the requirement of a deed of transfer as is the case currently.

Nairobi being the nation's capital hosts all the arms of government and is also an international city, being the global headquarters of the United Nations Environment Program and other diplomatic missions.

The BBI taskforce which drafted the proposal argued most stakeholders suggested that Nairobi be accorded a special status and its growth given more attention.

Under the proposal, Nairobi will be handed massive investments in infrastructure that the formula of the Commission of Revenue Allocation cannot accommodate.

Nairobi County has 85 wards represented by Members of County Assembly. It consists seventeen constituencies each represented by a lawmaker in the National Assembly. Additionally, the constituencies are considered sub-counties in the management of county affairs.

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