Nairobi residents must rally behind Sonko to protect devolution

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A perception has been created that Nairobi residents only care about good services and it does not matter whether this comes from the County Government or the Nairobi Metropolitan Service.

While services are essential and critical. We must emphasize that we are living in the devolution era where resources get dispersed to counties to among other things, make easy access to government services, create jobs and enhance growth of the economy.

Devolution in Kenya has helped citizens in the lower tier of the economy to organize themselves in efforts to seek business opportunities away from the national government bureaucracies that have been taken hostage by greedy cartels in the corridors of power.

The circumstances under which governor Sonko chose to surrender some services to the national government are well understood but they should not form the basis of denying Nairobi residents what they rightfully deserve. Small businesses out there are already crying of how difficult it is to get tenders and opportunities from the national government.

The NMS may be doing well in service delivery but the big question is, how many people are getting opportunities and tenders to do this program. This is critical because we all understand that for a capital City like Nairobi, we need to have a steady flow of cash among residents and this can only materialize though active businesses that are working closely with the county.

We are in a situation where we are seeing too much activity going around but we cannot ascertain when these programs were advertised, tendered and the entire procurement process. It is also clear that businesses that were dependent on the Nairobi City County Government are now struggling; this is because the NMS has cut links with such businesses. Startups that were beginning to flourish have disappeared in thin air.

The governor has been right on many issues regarding the Deed of Transfer of Functions and on many occasions the courts and even treasury have sided with him. When he said that there was no clear formula through which the County Government can fund the NMS,he was amazingly criticized by a section of leaders who thought that he was frustrating the NMS. He was vindicated when the treasury confirmed that indeed, it cannot directly submit the funds to the agency without involving the county treasury.

The deliberate efforts by some people acting behind the scenes to have the governor oversee illegalities by the NMS and the national government must be called out.

This week, Sonko suffered a blow in his bid to amend the county’s Sh37.5 billion annual budget after Nairobi MCAs rejected his memorandum. Yet to many, it still appears that he is frustrating the NMS but if you critically look at the proposals in his memorandum, you will notice that he has some genuine grounds.

There is no doubt that the budgeting process violated articles 5.2 and 5.3 of the Deed of Transfer of Functions. The articles provide that the national government in consultation with the county shall determine the funding for each transferred function. This is because even  Sonko signs the bill and it is gazetted, the NMS will find it hard to access the money from the County Revenue Fund account with the Treasury last month, saying there is no legal framework that allows county funds to be transferred to the national government.

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