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End war of words for county’s sake, leaders told

Nairobi leaders have called for a halt to the unending war of words between the Governor and the senator, warning it was hampering development.

Various ward representatives separately took governor Evans Kidero and senator Mike Sonko to task, telling them to bury the hatchet and join forces to steer the county’s development.

Kayole South Ward Rep Elizabeth Manyala accused Sonko of trying to micro-manage the county instead of tackling residents’ problems.

“He should mobilising resources outside the country from development partners, but not micro-managing development under the Governor,” she said.

Her Parklands counterpart, Mr Jaffer Kassam, also defended the Governor against Sonko, saying Dr Kidero and his team were doing well, especially in the anti-coruption war.

He called on the top officials to work together for the county residents’ good.

Properly passed

Mr Kassam differed with Sonko over his opposition to the Nairobi County Finance Act, saying the fund was properly passed because the county needed the money for development.

“If Sonko says we should not levy parking, then he should show us alternative ways of raising money and we will legislate it,” he added.

But Laini Saba Ward Rep David Kitavi defended Sonko, saying he was justified in questioning the Governor’s use of resources.

“There’s a feeling among the public that Nairobi could be doing better. So what the senator is doing will help. It is healthy as long as he does not witch-hunt anyone,” he said.

Dr Kidero and Sonko exchanged bitter words over the running of the county, with the senator accusing the Governor of mismanagement and corruption.

Sonko had demanded that Dr Kidero gives the Senate Audit Committee all documents relating to the various levies the county has introduced, including accounts of day-to-day collection of parking fees.

He also accused the governor of recruiting excess staff leading to a huge wages bill, which had proved a burden to the taxpayer.

“We give you room to scrutinise your subjects and get rid of such persons before we table their names and ask you to explain their role and conduct in the county affairs,” he said.

Dr Kidero responded to Sonko in a letter signed by the County’s legal counsel Gad Awuonda.

“As a past and current leader in the city, the county government believes you should be part of the solution and not a cynical critic and saboteur of its well-meant efforts,” the letter read.

Service delivery

He accused Mr Sonko of using incitement to intimidate, embarrass and frustrate service delivery in the city.

“Over the past couple of weeks, the county government has noted your heightened activities that seek to frustrate efforts at service delivery,” the letter read.

And it added: “You will agree that negative and uncaring politics will not bring water in our taps, clear our streets of garbage and fill potholes, nor create the much needed favourable environment for investment that will afford our youth employment opportunities.”

Mr Sonko has since gone to court last week seeking to have the County Finance Act 2013 quashed.

The senator is also seeking an order prohibiting the application of the Act and barring the county government from effecting it until the legal procedure of enactment is complied with.

He said the Act assented to by Dr Kidero in September last year imposed taxes and fees on Nairobi residents without following procedures. The Act, he said, was not tabled in the county assembly for scrutiny as required by law.

Dr Kidero and Nairobi Women Representative Rachael Shebesh recently escaped being prosecuted for causing a public disturbance after they were involved in a scuffle in the Governor’s office last September.

This is after Dr Kidero and Ms Shebesh entered consent in court declaring that they had dropped all charges against each other.

On the other hand, Sonko has publicly admitted being behind two court cases involving Ms Shebesh, including one in which she is accused of assaulting a guard last year.

He has also vowed to ensure a nominated member of the Nairobi County Assembly allied to Shebesh is removed from office.