DEPUTY GOVERNOR

Nairobi MCAs approve Mutunga for deputy governor post

Last week, Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu nominated the former Mbotella Councillor to be her deputy.

In Summary

• Mutnga had appeared before  a 10-member select committee on  appointments, which is chaired by the Speaker as its chairperson.

• Eighty-nine MCAs out of 122 voted to adopt the report by the committee.

Nairobi County Chief of staff Paul Mutunga Mutungi during his vetting as the Deputy Governor at chambers on November 25, 2021
Nairobi County Chief of staff Paul Mutunga Mutungi during his vetting as the Deputy Governor at chambers on November 25, 2021
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Nairobi Deputy Governor nominee Paul Mutunga's name was on Thursday passed after 89 MCAs voted to adopt the report of the Appointments Committee.

Supporting the adoption of the report, Majority leader Abdi Hassan noted that despite Mutunga having an active case in court, he has not been charged and by law he is innocent until proven guilty.

"I believe the nominee is up to the task and is capable of steering the county together with the governor and NMS to deliver services to residents," he added.

Minority leader Michael Ogada stated that the previous positions served by Mutunga are enough evidence that he was competent and had servant leadership qualifications.

Being in the opposition, Ogada noted that Mutunga will be of great assistance to the Governor noting that the county cannot be run like a one man show.

"As the minority side we have no objection as the nominee is qualified and Nairobi has had peace for the past 10 months and he should continue with the good leadership with the Governor," he added.

Minority Whip Peter Imwatok said by filling the position of the DG, Mutunga would have solved a problem that was eating the county for the past three years.

"Its been a journey for three years to reach where we are and now we will have a full Cabinet. Mutunga defines the past, represents the current and the future," he added

Details of the the swearing in will be communicated next week.

Earlier, the graft queries came up during the vetting.

This was after three petitions were brought by members of the public who alleged the nominee was associated with graft.

County assembly speaker Benson Mutura said in the three petitions received, Mutunga was accused of being involved in land grabbing in Kayole, an illegal housing scheme in Makongeni and one involved corruption.

“There are three petitions that were received by the assembly where you have been mentioned on issues to do with corruption and land grabbing,” he said.

Last week, Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu nominated the former Mbotella councillor to be her deputy.

The public, through a notice by acting clerk of the county assembly Adah Onyango, had been invited to submit written evidence if they had any information on the suitability of the nominee.

Nairobi County Assembly Acting Clerk Adah Onyango and Speaker Benson Mutura during the vetting of Deputy Governor nominee at chambers on November 25, 2021
Nairobi County Assembly Acting Clerk Adah Onyango and Speaker Benson Mutura during the vetting of Deputy Governor nominee at chambers on November 25, 2021
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Defending himself, Mutunga said he was not updated on the petitions and he has never been associated with any illegal activity.

“Whatever was tabled is unknown to me and I don’t deal with land matters and neither have I ever had interest in land in Kayole. I’m in real estate but the land I own is through purchase and inheritance only,” he added.

Mutunga had appeared before a 10-member select committee on  appointments, which is chaired by the speaker.

Majority leader Abdi Hassan and deputy majority leader Waithera Chege sought clarification on the graft queries.

However, Mutunga told the committee that he has never been charged in court, nor has he ever received any bribe, but said there was an active alleged graft case in court.

“On the issue of alleged corruption, the matter is in court and allow me not to mention anything that will interfere with the process but I have never been charged,” he added.

In 2019, Mutunga was accused alongside 13 others in a case where former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero was accused of graft relating to payment of Sh68 million to a legal firm.

The group faced charges of conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption; unlawful acquisition of public property; abuse of office, dealing with suspect property and money laundering.

The matter is still in court.

Mutunga, who also serves as the chief of staff at City Hall, submitted all the required documents for the vetting process. He told the committee his net worth was between Sh80 to 100 million.

Nairobi County Chief of staff Paul Mutunga Mutungi during his vetting as the Deputy Governor at chambers on November 25, 2021
Nairobi County Chief of staff Paul Mutunga Mutungi during his vetting as the Deputy Governor at chambers on November 25, 2021
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

When asked about the steps he will take to ensure county workers'  issues are addressed, Mutunga said with the help of the governor, he will ensure the staff are motivated.

He explained that in January, when he assumed the role of the chief of staff, he found a toxic working environment where the staff had been used to intimidation and threats by the former administration.

“Due to the toxicity, the governor and I realised that counselling should also be done to motivate workers and ensure they are working in a stress-free environment,” Mutunga said.

The chief of staff also pledged to enforce disciplinary action against CECs who snub assembly committees.

This was after nominated MCA Emily Oduor questioned what steps he will take to ensure that summoned county executive members and officers appear before assembly committees.

“As an assembly we are stuck with piled up unresponded to statements because the CECs and chief officers ignore our committees and this slows business,” she said.

 Mutunga explained that at the executive there was laxity among the cabinet as Kananu had not attained full executive powers.

“After governor was sworn in she has full executive power and as the deputy governor, I will enforce disciplinary action against the CECs who demonstrate insubordination."

Cartels are exaggerated

The deputy governor nominee amazed the committee when he claimed that the idea of cartels is a make-believe created at City Hall.

This was after speaker Mutura questioned him on how he will deal with the ‘cartels ‘ who have been accused of interfering with the government's business of service delivery.

 “I’m not a cartel and neither do I belong to one. But the cartel itself has been exaggerated beyond its real meaning. If one wants to know who the real cartels are they can read or research on the history of Mexico and its association with the Medellin and Cali cartels,” Mutunga added.

Nairobi County Chief of staff Paul Mutunga Mutungi during his vetting as the Deputy Governor at chambers on November 25, 2021
Nairobi County Chief of staff Paul Mutunga Mutungi during his vetting as the Deputy Governor at chambers on November 25, 2021
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

God’s grace

Mutunga said God’s grace has made him lucky to be in the Nairobi county leadership. He said he became a councillor for the then Mbotella ward in 1997 at 23 years of age.

“It's not that I’m the luckiest person but I know God’s grace has made me reach here today. I find it always a privilege  to get  certain positions of leadership because serving the people is a calling."

Minority leader Michael Ogada had asked what makes him so lucky that in just one year he has served as a chief of staff and could be the next deputy governor of Nairobi.

On his opinion on the Nairobi Metropolitan Services, Mutunga said previous poor leadership led to the circumstances of its existence but the entity means well for Nairobi.

However, he stated that the military might not always be the solution as it may not understand  the real problems of the wananchi.

“Local problems should be handled locally but not by the national government. There is no way you can try solve problems through the use of military because they might not understand  the real challenges on the ground,” Mutunga added.

He pledged to respect and work seamlessly with the county boss as the deputy governor is the principal adviser to the governor.

 

Edited by CM

Nairobi County Chief of staff Paul Mutunga Mutungi leaving the county assembly chambers after being vetted as the Deputy Governor at chambers on November 25, 2021
Nairobi County Chief of staff Paul Mutunga Mutungi leaving the county assembly chambers after being vetted as the Deputy Governor at chambers on November 25, 2021
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI