- Battle to control City Hall leaves Sakaja in dilemma
A power battle is quickly building up at City Hall with prominent business tycoons allied to State House and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua eager to micromanage affairs in powerful departments.
The Sunday Express understands that this situation has left Governor Sakaja helpless as he fights off pressure from the two powerful houses eager to have their respective allies appointed to key cabinet positions at City Hall.
The battle is pitting powerful Mount Kenya business tycoons believed to have invested in Governor Sakaja’s election against those being proposed by the State House for appointment. The Sunday Express understands that the Mount Kenya outfit has reached out to DP Gachagua for protection while those boasting of blessings from State House want to hear nothing less but undistorted adoption of their list.
At the centre of the battle is the appointment of 12 County Executive Committee Members and Chief Officers. But the main confrontation is boiling up at the Finance department which is largely expected to be headed by someone recommended from the State House as well as the office of Head of Supply Chain also known as procurement.
Governor Sakaja is expected to name his cabinet within the next one week with sources indicating that most of his preferred nominees will be dropped to accommodate those recommended from either State House or Harambee House Annexe.
The Governor is also getting pressure from Prime Cabinet Secretary Nominee Musalia Mudavadi who wants his own Luhya community to have a pie of the cake.Sakaja who is himself of Luhya blood, partly worked with the ANC party leader before contesting as a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate.
The Sunday Express understands that the Governor is under pressure to nominate some of the election losers to the cabinet. During the campaign period, both President Ruto and his deputy Gachagua made promises to Nairobi people and the two are keen to have their point men at City Hall.
Sakaja had promised to unveil his cabinet before the end of Friday 7th October but by Saturday he had not done so.He said he will announce the nominees this week who will be subjected to vetting by the Nairobi County Assembly.
According to Section 42 (2) (2) of the County Government Act, the constitution of a new executive committee after an election under subsection (1) shall be finalized within 21 days of the swearing-in of the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs). The MCAs were sworn in on September 29, 2022.
This means he still has less than two weeks to name it but some ward representatives feel he is taking too long.
But the delay can ably be linked to the pressure he is receiving from the two most powerful offices on the land.
President Ruto is particularly keen on the Affordable Housing project in the capital city and has already presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the Mukuru kwa Reuben affordable housing project.
According to the Head of State, the project that promises to give relief to more than 110,000 households in the 700-acre Mukuru kwa Reuben slum will specifically target those residents in order to make home ownership a possibility for low-income families.
On the other hand,DP Gachagua has his eyes set on the pending bills in billions that are owed to suppliers from the Mount Kenya region. The DP is believed to have already received complaints from hundreds of suppliers who want him to intervene. The DP has also made a pledge to work with Nairobi County to protect the Mount Kenya business community.
In the current financial year, the battle is fueled by the Sh 38.33 billion budget that was passed in June.
The county had initially allocated Sh19.8 billion to the Nairobi Metropolitan Services but this has changed after the agency reverted all functions back to City Hall.