In 2016, the then Murang’a Senator Kembi Gitura and Senate Deputy Speaker authored the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment Bill) (No.2 ), Bill 2016, which proposed Kenya’s territory be divided into the national capital city and 46 counties.
This means Nairobi would cease to be a county but strictly the seat of government. The bill was shot down amidst suspicions that it was drafted to halt certain people from ascending to the enviable position of governor of the country’s capital city, as he explained in a column published by this paper last weekend.
The Gitura Bill, as it was briefly referred to in the Senate, proposed that the President would be empowered by the Constitution, after relevant amendments, to appoint a Cabinet Secretary who would be in charge of the Capital City.
It further proposed that because Nairobi would cease to be a county, the county assembly would be abolished, as well as the Senate seat. However, the constituencies would remain intact with legislative representation. Relevant administrative structures in tandem with the new county make up would be created for the city by an Act of Parliament in place of the scrapped county assembly.
With the heightened talks of constitutional amendments taking root, which is mostly attributed to ODM leader Raila Odinga , there are already suggestions for the introduction of a three-tier devolution system and a parliamentary system in place of the presidential system we currently have. It, therefore, seems plausible that before the next general election, there will be a plebiscite or at least major tectonic shifts in our laws.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and his administration have not had it easy ever since they came into office. Sonko rode on a platform that he would be different from his main opponent and predecessor, Dr Evans Kidero but the verdict indicates that he has grossly underperformed.
His administration has been fraught with allegations of malfeasance, inaction and ineptitude. Early this year, his erstwhile Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe resigned citing distrust between himself and the governor.
The city has slid back to the days of daylight muggings and even rape, as the streets and sewers are choked with a massive garbage pile up that has the stench that devalues the city that was once a great city in the sun. We are slowly becoming the laughing stock of East Africa’s region.
The performances of both Kidero and his successor Governor Sonko have given credence to Gitura’s initial thoughts of having the city under the national government.
Their lackluster performance has proven it is too delicate to have East Africa’s metropolis disrupted by partisan politics, which will obviously impede on the country’s progress.
Nairobi’s operations must be reflective of the vision of the national government and not held back by the dictate of county politics and the repercussions that might follow. Countries that have successfully adopted this formula include Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the best instance, the United States, where her capital city Washington, DC, is under the national government instead of the federal government.
The attainment of national goals with a capital city under the national government is easier than it would be when the capital city is a county. This is because the inherent volatility of politics will interfere in such. That is a harbinger that should be avoided if progress is to be realised.
Therefore, as the country possibly readies for constitutional amendments or a referendum, it will be prudent if the Gitura Bill is revisited and considered. Nairobi is too important a city for it to be on the daily gambles of Kenya’s fickle political environment.
Thanks to Kidero and Governor Sonko, millions agree that Nairobi is an entity that should be strictly under the management of the national government.