Opinion: Did the State House breach article 192 of the Constitution with the takeover of Nairobi County?
“State House issued a statement late Tuesday stating that Sonko had signed off to surrender Health, Transport, Public Works and Planning. “In a landmark agreement signed at State House today (Tuesday), Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa in concurrence with H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta, signed an agreement, handing over functions of the Nairobi County Government to the National Government, pursuant to Article 187 of the Constitution,” the statement by State House Spokeswoman Kanze Dena said. The signing of the agreement was witnessed by the Speaker of the Senate, Kenneth Lusaka and Attorney General Paul Kihara, she added, “This will ensure Nairobi residents receive services efficiently.” (Capital FM – ‘Uhuru rescues Nairobi from Sonko’ 25.02.2020).
Seemingly, the biggest news other than locusts and coronavirus is that Governor Mike Sonko has signed off parts of his Nairobi City Council or Nairobi City County to the Central Government of Kenya. This was done with a big presser and hoopla at the State House. As the President, the Cabinet Secretary and Governor all convened together. However, are there some missing pieces?
Yes. For my part there is no emergency nor internal conflict. Neither war. There has also been no report from nay independent commission who has authorised a takeover. There are allegations of maladministration and corruption against the governor and his government. However, his not yet sentenced or detained. His been charged and the state is building a case against him. That is bad enough, Sonko is a target and has to answer for his misgivings.
However, the lack of certain things, make it natural to question the takeover. Also, the Senate didn’t authorise the takeover. Therefore, there are too many things lacking in the provisions of the constitution to allow the takeover. Just read the article itself.
Kenya Constitution 192. Suspension of a county government:
“(1) The President may suspend a county government–
(a) in an emergency arising out of internal conflict or war;
(b) in any other exceptional circumstances.
(2) A county government shall not be suspended under clause (1) (b) unless an independent commission of inquiry has investigated allegations against the county government, the President is satisfied that the allegations are justified and the Senate has authorised the suspension.
(3) During a suspension under this Article, arrangements shall be made for the performance of the functions of a county government in accordance with an Act of Parliament.
(4) The Senate may at any time terminate the suspension.
(5) A suspension under this Article shall not extend beyond a period of ninety days.
(6) On the expiry of the period provided for under clause (5), elections for the relevant county government shall be held” (Constitution of Kenya 2010).
“NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 27 – The Senate has summoned Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and the Chairperson of the Council of Governors Wycliffe Oparanya over the Nairobi take-over by the national government. Senate Deputy Speaker Kindiki Kithure issued the orders on Wednesday afternoon directing that the hearings should be jointly done by the Devolution and Justice and Legal Affairs Committees” (Capital FM – ‘Senate sharply divided on legality of Nairobi take-over’ 27.02.2020).
So, that the Senate is also questioning the operation made by the State House. As they are supposed too. They were by the provisions in the article 192 in the Constitution clear message to the lawmakers. This could be taken down by the merit and lack of protocol.
Not like it is a war-zone either in Nairobi. Maybe a downward spiral in jobs and financial security for plenty of its citizens. Nevertheless, the state cannot just issue this. Sonko might did as a private trade to save his political career. Still, that doesn’t save the act. Especially, if the state cares about the articles in the Constitution.
That is why I could just with pin-pointing the guidelines to the suspension of a county government is supposed to be validate. Which was clearly not done. If it was, then the Senate wouldn’t call in the people who signed off Nairobi to the State House. Peace.