Sonko guards withdrawn over power handover

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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. He is reluctant about handing over key functions to the Nairobi Metropolitan Service. PHOTO/COURTESY

The governor is contesting the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2020 that allocated Sh15 billion to NMS headed by Director-General Mohammed Badi.

Finance Chief Officer Halkano Waqo said a new supplementary budget has already been submitted to the Speaker.

The fallout between Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and the national government deepened Friday after part of his security detail was withdrawn.

Mr Sonko last week threatened to end an agreement transferring four key functions to the national government, accusing unnamed State House officers of hijacking the process.

This reportedly came after the City Hall boss met with Deputy President William Ruto.

And on Friday, the governor lost drivers and bodyguards at both his Upper Hill private office and Mua Hills residence.

According to sources this was after he refused to cede ground over the three-week-long stalemate regarding the Sh15 billion that was allocated to the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS).

The source said that a meeting on Thursday last week that was attended by two senior State House officers ended in disarray after the governor insisted on proceeding with the preparation of a new supplementary budget.

The meeting at Mr Sonko’s Upper Hill private office was attended by State House Deputy Chief of Staff – Legal, Constitutional and Legal Affairs – Njee Muturi and Deputy Comptroller George Kariuki.

It was also attended by some executive committee members, chief officers, the county secretary and two MCAs.

“The meeting was on the budget but it ended in disarray after Sonko insisted that the budget must be done again. The following day, his drivers and bodyguards were withdrawn, leaving him with only two officers,” said the source.

The source added that following the fallout, 800 enforcement officers were seconded to the NMS and asked to report to the new office between Monday and Tuesday “without fail”.

The governor is contesting the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2020 that allocated Sh15 billion to NMS headed by Director-General Mohammed Badi and that was approved by the assembly on April 2.

He is accusing MCAs of overreach by appropriating funds to functions that were never transferred to NMS.

He also claims that his office was not involved in the preparation of the bill.

Mr Sonko’s spokesperson, Ben Mulwa, said Thursday’s meeting was the governor’s idea. He denied that the governor had lost his bodyguards and drivers.

“That is misinformation, as the governor still has his drivers and security. People are trying to bring a lot of politics into it.”

He said there is going to be a meeting this week between county government representatives and those from NMS to finalise the issue.

Another source said that the meeting resolved to have a new supplementary budget prepared with input from NMS.

On Friday last week, Mr Sonko said he had directed the county treasury to work on a new supplementary budget together with officers from the NMS.

This was the same day that the contested bill was to take effect at the expiry of seven days provided for by the law after it was resubmitted by Speaker Beatrice Elachi after she rejected the governor’s memorandum.

On Sunday, Finance Chief Officer Halkano Waqo said a new supplementary budget has already been submitted to the Speaker.

“What was presented before the house is totally different from what we shared with the Budget Committee. We have regularized it and submitted it to the Speaker, who should present it before the Budget Committee,” he said.