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Nairobi to lose four key functions if BBI report is adopted

The Nairobi County Government will lose four key functions to the national government if the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report is adopted, in what could mean that Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) is here to stay.

The report, launched on Wednesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM party leader Raila Odinga, proposes that the functions of health services, county transport, county planning and development, county public works and firefighting services and disaster management, be taken over by the State.

This will be made possible by amending the Fourth Schedule of the constitution to provide that the functions and powers therein be transferred to the national government.

The functions are currently run by the NMS headed by Major-General Mohammed Badi after Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko transferred the same to the national government in February this year.

Under the Deed of Transfer, four county functions of health, transport, planning and management, and public works and ancillary services, were transferred to the national government.

This gave birth to NMS, which was established in March, to run the transferred functions with an annual budget of Sh27 billion for two years.

In essence, this means that NMS will continue to be a department under the national government to execute the functions on behalf of the county government, taking away considerable powers from future governors of the city county.

In June, President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a revised Executive Order, added NMS as one of the offices falling under the Executive Office of the President, entrenching the new office as a public office.

This now means that NMS will be funded directly by the national government and have recruitment of its workers done directly by the Public Service Commission.

Amend the Fourth Schedule

The report further proposes an amendment of Article 200 of the Constitution to require that Parliament, within a year, make legislation to provide mechanisms for the carrying out of the said functions.

“Clause 66 of the Bill proposes to amend the Fourth Schedule to provide that functions and powers on county health services, county transport, county planning and development, county public works and firefighting services and disaster management relating to the Nairobi capital city shall be distributed as functions of the national government,” read in part the draft bill.

There had been reports that the initiative would propose collapsing of Nairobi County to be run by the national government in its entirety, a move would have seen Nairobi County cease to have a governor as its head.

Nonetheless, Nairobi County will still have a governor, a senator, MPs and ward representatives as the positions have not been touched by any proposals in the report.

Nairobi County has 85 wards represented by MCAs who are part of Nairobi County Assembly, 17 constituencies represented by MPs, and a senator.

However, the draft bill only pointed out that a majority of the stakeholders recognised that although Nairobi is the capital city and a major diplomatic hub, including being a global United Nations headquarters, its management had been neglected and hence should be accorded a special status and its growth and development must be given due attention.

Nairobi is the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). However, several other UN, international organisations and diplomatic offices are domiciled in the city.

These include the UN Children’s Fund Somalia (Unicef-Somalia), International Monetary Fund (IMF), UN Children’s Fund-East and South Africa Regional Office (Unicef-Esaro), among others.

This now puts paid to calls by different organisations and individuals to have Nairobi County put under the national government with its head appointed, and not elected, so s/he can be fired if things do not go well.