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Why Uhuru saved Sonko from impeachment plot

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The need to prevent a costly by-election that could have destabilised the city is said to be one of the reasons President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government took over key services and saved Governor Mike Sonko from impeachment, people familiar with government thinking posit.

Last month, a section of MCAs tabled an impeachment motion which appeared to seal the governor’s fate but Uhuru prevailed upon them to shelve the plan.

Opposition chief Raila Odinga, who has been driving the Building Bridges Initiative campaigns alongside the President, told Nairobi County Minority Whip Peter Imwatok, a member of his ODM party, who was spearheading the impeachment, to go slow during a meeting at the party’s offices in Nairobi.

The besieged governor, who is barred from accessing his office over corruption allegations, was on Wednesday forced to sign away key responsibilities to the newly-created Nairobi Metropolitan Services at the President’s instigation, effectively rendering himself a mere figurehead in management of county affairs.

Politicians who spoke to People Daily linked the President’s decision to save Sonko to a desire to prevent a costly and divisive by-election amidst the BBI drive, which could bring him in direct confrontation with his national unity project co-principal Raila as well as provide ammunition for Deputy President William Ruto.

Under the bus

“If the Nairobi governor was to be impeached, we would end up in a very difficult scenario and perhaps it’s what the Executive is avoiding, a by- election, so it needed another solution,” argued Ndaragua MP Jeremiah Kioni.

Dagotetti North MP Simba Arati said that while Sonko had lost virtually all his powers in the takeover, the President decided to keep him for the sake of stability of the city.

“He is also an old ally who the President didn’t want to throw under the bus,” Arati told People Daily.

Michael Mugo, a former Laikipia university lecturer, said there must have been serious “political undercurrents” for the President’s

intervention.

“The President’s move must have been informed by the cost of a by- election that could be the consequence ofthe impeachment and the political instability and divisive campaigns,” said Mugo.

There is also the concern impeaching Sonko might drive him into the hands of Ruto, who could handily field him as his candidate in a possible by-election. Such a move would throw Jubilee Party leadership in an awkward position.

A by-election may also force Raila’s ODM to field a candidate, a situation that could put him on a collision course with the President’s party.

Under the agreement between the two levels of government, the new team is tasked with management of health, water and sanitation, transport, planning and garbage collection. Taxes will be collected by the Kenya Revenue Authority, leaving the county with few roles.

During the official handing over on Wednesday, Uhuru said Nairobi is a unique county which deserves better attention.

“Nairobi is not only the capital city of government of Kenya. It is much more. Many regional and international organisations are based in Nairobi as the diplomatic hub for the region. Indeed, the only United Nations headquarters outside the Western Hemisphere is located in Nairobi,” he said.

Despite being barred from accessing his office and the takeover, Sonko has been flexing his muscle by influencing the recruitment of county staff amidst accusations of sponsoring proxies to file court cases to block the transfer of functions to the national government.

Court case

“Sonko is an old dog who can’t learn new tricks. You see he has been fighting tire takeover by sponsoring proxies to block it in court,” said Arati.

Activist Okoiti Omtatah and lawyer Robbi Murimi have moved to court to block the transfer of functions.

In their case, Omtatah and Murimi are seeking a declaration that the transfer of the functions of the Nairobi County Government is unlawful and unconstitutional.

Omtatah argues that since it is the functions of a county government that are being moved, the transfer can only be done by the county government as defined in Article 176 of the Constitution.

“Sonko’s decision is unlawful, unreasonable, procedurally unfair and taken with an ulterior motive to prejudice the right of the residents of Nairobi as provided for in the Constitution,” argue the petitioners.

County Speaker Beatrice Elachi has also accused Sonko of using proxies to frustrate the transfer.

“The deal is between the state and the county government and is good for Nairobians and Sonko, too. He should not go behind the scenes and try to sabotage it,” said the Speaker.

By BD

 

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Washiali: I have no regrets losing top House seat

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Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali has said he does not regret losing his position as National Assembly majority whip.

Mr Washiali and his deputy Cecily Mbarire were shown the door during the Tuesday meeting at State House attended by Deputy President William Ruto and 212 MPs.

Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe replaced Mr Washiali as majority whip.

The Mumias East lawmaker said he welcomes the changes and would support the new Jubilee House team.

Mr Washiali had vowed to remain with Dr Ruto when the purge in Jubilee began.

“I am ready to give them back the seat if that is what they want. Being the majority whip is not a matter of life and death. I will not kneel before anyone begging to retain the position,” Mr Washiali said.

The MP spoke at his rural home in Shitoto village, Kakamega County, on Sunday.

“The Deputy President has been in my constituency more than five times. He stood by me even in times of grief. Why should I abandon him?” he asked.

Mr Washiali was first elected to parliament on an Orange Democratic Movement ticket in 2007.

“I have my eyes on greater things and will devote much of my time serving Mumias East residents,” he said.

By nation.co.ke

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Accused in murder of boyfriend denied bail

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A Nairobi woman accused of murdering her boyfriend of two years in a squabble over who would wash utensils after supper has been denied bail for failing to provide details of where she will be living upon release.

Susan Njeri Wachiuri, 25, wanted to be released on bail terms pending determination of the murder trial but Justice James Wakiaga noted that there was no evidence that she is not a flight risk.

“In the absence of documentary evidence that the accused has an alternative means of abode rather than the house of the deceased where the offense was committed, I am at this stage persuaded that it will be risky to release the accused on bond,” said Justice Wakiaga.

Ms Wachiuri is accused of stabbing Kelvin Njenga Ng’ang’a 11 times using a knife on April 9, 2020 at White House, Tena Estate area within Kamukunji in Nairobi County. She has since denied committing the offence.

In her bail application, Ms Wachiuri told court that she had a family who were very supportive and willing to accommodate her.

In opposing the release of the accused on bail, the prosecution said there was a rise in gender based violence amongst couples and therefore the accused should be denied bail in the interest of public order and security to act as deterrence.

By nation.co.ke

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Paybill number for cash-strapped Gor Mahia

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As a financial crisis bites through the local football scene, Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has reached out to landlords of members of his team’s playing unit to exercise patience.

And in a related development, the 18-time Kenyan champions have, through Gor Mahia Augmentin Fund (GMAF), set up a Paybill number which members, supporters, and well-wishers can contribute money to the club in form of cash and ‘Bonga points.’

Bonga points is a loyalty scheme for all of Safaricom’s pre-paid and post-paid customers.

The points can be used to redeem prizes and goods at selected supermarkets.

Rachier has sought to strike a deal with the landlords of his players following consistent delay in rent payment by the players. This has been occasioned by financial crisis at the club that has caused salary delays.

“We have not paid salaries for five months,” Rachier said Wednesday.

“I keep writing to their landlords just to understand and I want to thank those landlords that have extended a good time for them (players) to be able to pay when we are able to pay,” he said.

Rachier spoke at an event where a section of club supporters and players, led by Lawrence Juma, Joakim Oluoch and Samuel Onyango as well as members of group called ‘Kulundeng original’ donated foodstuff worth Sh100,000 to the Fikisha Rehabilitation Centre.

The function was held at the Lutheran Centre in Kawangware, Nairobi.

Gor players each received a Sh10,000 monthly stipend from the government last week in a bid to cushion them from the effects of coronavirus pandemic which has paralysed football activities in the country.

Most of the Kenyan Premier League clubs have benefited from the scheme launched by the government in conjunction with various partners.

By Nation Sport

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