Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has defended his decision to hand over some county functions to the national government.
In a statement posted in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Sonko — who is facing corruption charges in court — said the needs of Nairobi County are unique compared to other devolved units.
“My government set out on a fact-finding mission that saw us benchmark and take lessons from other jurisdictions across the world including Washington DC in the US and Abuja in Nigeria. From these case studies, we established that cities and metropolis the size of Nairobi are best served jointly by devolved units and central governments,” he said.
He claims that with this in mind, and in his capacity as governor, he initiated discussions with the national government with a view to approaching service delivery with both county and State resources.
“It is this consultative process that led to the crafting of the historic and comprehensive agreement that we signed on Tuesday handing over the management of some of the functions of Nairobi county government to the national government,” he said.
The embattled governor says he is convinced that the agreement, which was signed in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta, will not only help enhance service delivery in the city but also reposition Nairobi as the region’s economic hub.
“As the County Government of Nairobi, we remain committed to continue serving the people of our great county by focusing more keenly on the functions and service areas that are not covered in our agreement with the national government,” he said.
“We believe our bold decision to collaborate with the national government through the transfer of some of our functions will create a positive governance precedence that will help strengthen devolution,” he added.
He thanked Mr Kenyatta and the Jubilee Administration for showing commitment in ensuring Nairobi residents “get the best services from their government”.
The explanation given by the governor has drawn sharp reactions from Nairobi residents on his social media pages.
“In New York and other major cities, they have mayors voted for by the people. Even London. Not happy at all. We voted you in … not the national government …This decision will hurt service delivery,” said Facebook user Johnnie Muthuis.
“By the way what about the CECs of those functions taken to the national government like Health? What is their mandate now?” another user, SA Mwakush, wondered.
Another resident, Twitter user @wanjutha, asked why the public was not involved in the process.
Others were positive about the move, saying the collaboration could be a great idea.
“Nairobi deserves the best; that’s why Governor Mike Sonko has collaborated with the national government to make Nairobi great,” said Kennie Balo.