By Sumaya Hussein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thumbnail photo courtesy of Capital FM
Nairobi County Assembly Speaker, Benson Mutura, has been sworn-in as the county’s acting Governor by Judge Jairus Ngaah at City Hall, Nairobi.
Mutura said that his first order of business would be to bring back on track the delivery of crucial services that have been stalled due to lack of funds. This was occasioned by the failure of former governor Sonko to assent to the finance Bill.
“When Nairobians went to the polls in 2017, what they expected is service delivery. We therefore have no choice but to deliver. Today would have never occurred had we focused on service delivery,” said Mutura.
Owing to this, Mutura signed the Governor’s warrant that gives the Treasury the green light to release money to the county. The governor’s warrant is a document that authorizes withdrawal of funds from the County Revenue Funds (CRF).
Mike Sonko had refused to sign the warrant, thereby paralyzing operations in the county since October.
By Mutura signing the warrant, this means that once the money has been released from the CRF, county and assembly staff will be paid their salaries.
Mutura will be assuming the role of governor in an acting capacity for 60 days, following Sonko’s impeachment on Thursday.
He was to be sworn in last week but the event was postponed after the presiding judge failed to show up on time.
Given that Nairobi County currently has no deputy governor, the speaker will serve for the next two months, as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) sets a date for a by-election.
Residents of Nairobi will then go back to the polls to elect a new governor who will serve the remainder of the term that ends in 2022.
Nairobi Deputy Governor Polycarp Iagthe resigned in January 2018, citing Sonko’s lack of confidence in him.
Mutura said he will work with all Members of the County Assembly (MCAs), despite the recent impeachment having left the members divided.
“My assumption to the office of the Governor is temporary and is meant to guide transition to the next government. I want to assure you that in the 60 days, I will be at the helm of this County, I will provide the required leadership to ensure smooth transition,” he said.
Sonko was impeached by the county assembly over charge of abuse of office, a gross violation of the law, committing a crime under the national and international laws and lacking the capability to run the county.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka gazetted Sonko’s impeachment in less than an hour of his removal.
“On Thursday, December 17, 2020, the Senate resolved to remove Hon. Mike Mbuvi Sonko, the Governor of Nairobi City County, from office by impeachment,” read a gazette notice signed by the speaker.
According to the Constitution of Kenya, Article 182, Clause (4) says if a vacancy occurs in the office of county governor, and that of the deputy, or if the deputy is unable to act, the speaker of the county assembly shall act as county governor.
“If a vacancy occurs in the circumstances contemplated by Clause (4), an election to the office of county governor shall be held within sixty days after the speaker assumes the office of the governor.”
“A person who assumes the office of county governor under this Article shall, unless otherwise removed from office under this Constitution, hold office until the newly elected county governor assumes office following the next election under Article 180 (1).”
Director- General of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), major-General Mohamed Badi and a few elected Nairobi leaders were present during Mutura’s inauguration.