Uhuru extends grip over Nairobi

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President Uhuru Kenyatta.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has tightened his grip on Nairobi City after allocating Sh3.8 billion to the newly established Nairobi Metropolitan Services.

NMS, which took over lucrative services from Governor Mike Sonko’s administration, is now under the President’s direct supervision as an arm of the Presidency. Some Sh2.2 billion will be spent on salaries and operations while the balance has been appropriated for the rollout of new development projects.

“The allocation has increased by Sh4 billion from the gross approved estimates of Sh11.7 billion, mainly on account of the transferred functions from Nairobi City County Government to Nairobi Metropolitan Services,” reads the explanatory notes on the budget changes relating to the Presidency.

Among the functions seized from the embattled governor are health and sanitation, garbage disposal and transport. Sonko, who remains little more than a figure head after being barred from accessing his City Hall office, may have been coerced to sign the transfer deed of the lucrative functions to the NMS considering his about-turn in refusal to cede the money to fund them.

On Wednesday this week, he rejected a supplementary budget that handed over half of City Hall’s Sh36.9 billion budget to the NMS. Members of Nairobi County Assembly had earlier in the month approved the supplementary estimates and Appropriations Bill allocating NMS Sh15 billion to run four departments ceded to the National Government.

The revised national budget hands NMS the resources to jump start the operations as the standoff with Sonko is resolved. Among the key projects intended for the authority is the paving of 100 kilometres of roads within the city, maintenance of 35,000 streetlights and ensure uninterrupted water supply in the city.