TUSSLE FOR CITY CONTROL

Sonko dares Uhuru as he vows to block NMS cash

Governor claims agency is an illegal and amorphous outfit that does not exist in the Constitution and all laws.

In Summary

•The county chief claimed he has been the subject of impeachment threats and even jail from State House operatives.

•The revelations now threaten to paralyse the NMS and cripple key services to the city residents.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka look on as Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa sign the agreement at State House, Nairobi, on February 25
SIGNING: President Uhuru Kenyatta and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka look on as Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa sign the agreement at State House, Nairobi, on February 25
Image: FILE

Paralysis is looming in Nairobi after embattled Governor Mike Sonko vowed to deny funds to President Uhuru Kenyatta-backed Nairobi Metropolitan Services .

In an all-out attack on NMS that reveals the vicious battle for the control of the city’s billions, Sonko said he was ready to brave the intimidation, blackmail and "orders from above" to release cash to an "amorphous" body.

“The dark days are over. We will not allow anybody to breach the law. Personally going forward, I will not allow any intimidation from anyone,” Sonko said.

Sonko claimed that NMS – formed by the President to execute four broad county functions the governor signed away to the National government in February - is an illegal and amorphous outfit that does not exist in the Constitution.

The county chief claimed that he has been the subject of impeachment threats and even jail from State House operatives whenever he differs with "orders from above."

 “They can jail me but there is life in prison. They can impeach me but there is a life after politics. They can even kill me but there is life after death, where my father is resting in peace and even the founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta is also resting,” Sonko said.

The governor’s declaration, which could widen the cracking rifts between him and Uhuru, comes barely two weeks after Treasury CS Ukur Yatani declined to release money to NMS citing lack of a legal framework.

The revelations now threaten to paralyse the functionality of NMS and cripple key services to the city residents.

Sonko poured out his frustrations and anger when he appeared before the Senate Health committee over the incessant wrangles between his administration and NMS over the execution of the Health function – one of the four functions transferred to the national government.

This after nominated Senator Millicent Omanga petitioned the House to enquire into the Health status of the city following an incident where a pregnant woman gave birth at the gate of Pumwani Maternity Hospital after she was denied entry by a guard.

 

The guard works for Hatari Security firms whose contract with the county government expired in December 2017.

While appearing before the committee a month ago, NMS director for Health services Josephine Kibaru read sabotage in the conduct of the guard.

Kibaru accused Sonko's administration of declining to release Sh253 million donated by the national government and partners to support level 2 and 3 health facilities.

But Sonko, through county attorney Lydia Kwamboka said the firm continues to provide service because the county government owes it millions of shillings.

Concerning the Sh253 million, the governor turned the heat on Treasury and NMS, accusing the two entities of colluding to deny his officer codes in the IFMIS to access the funds.

“They have blocked us and denied my officers IFMIS codes that would have enabled us access the money,” he told the committee chaired by Trans Nzoia Senator Michael Mbito.

“This reality has not only paralysed the health sector but the operations of all other sectors of the county government,” he added.

He accused NMS of being interested in clearing pending bills, which he claims they did not incur.

“Why is this illegal outfit called NMS so much interested in paying what they did not incur?” he asked.

Sonko accused NMS of forcefully taking over City Hall staff without following secondment guidelines.

“There is a secondment instrument that we must sit and agree. We did not sit. The chairman of the County Public Service Board unilaterally seconded the 6,670 staff, 3,220 of them in the health sector, without consulting us and other board members. The chairman later joined NMS,” he said.

Sonko placed his troubles with NMS at doorstep of the President, accusing people within his circle of micro-managing NMS.

He alleged the officers are controlling mega-tenders including the ongoing construction of 23 health facilities and a Sh250 million per month contract for supply of fruits at Mbagathi Hospital.

Senators Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Ledama Ole Kina (Narok) and Omanga encouraged the governor to seek an amicable solution instead of fighting with the NMS at the expense of services.