The government has formally approved the secondment of seven senior military officers to the newly created Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) for two years with the move eliciting mixed reactions.
This is after the Kenya Defence Council, the apex body of the Kenya Defence Forces, ratified the deployment of the military officers who had joined the new office in March on May 1, 2020.
The officers drawn from the Kenya Army and Kenya Airforce include Maj Gen Mohammed Badi, who is the NMS director-general. He has been tasked with enhancing service delivery in the capital city and will be presiding over four critical functions of Nairobi County government.
DEED OF TRANSFER
On February 25, 2020, Governor Mike Sonko signed the Deed of Transfer of functions which came into effect in March. This saw four key functions of Health, Transport, Public Works, Planning and ancillary services transferred to the national government.
Other officers whose secondment has been approved include Brig F. Leuria, Major J.V Mbithi, Major A.N Nyakundi, Major J. K. Ngoroge, Lt Col J.K.Biomdo and Major A.L. Musoma.
“The Defence Council approved secondment to Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) of the undermentioned general/senior/ officers,” read the letter signed by the Defence Council Secretary, Dr Ibrahim Mohamed.
The Council is responsible for the overall policy, control, and supervision of the Kenya Defence Forces as well as performing any other functions prescribed by national legislation.
It is chaired by the Defence Cabinet secretary, who is its chairperson, the Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, the three commanders of the defence forces and the Defence principal secretary.
The NMS office has been taking shape since its establishment on March 17, 2020.
So far, 32 senior officers from the national government have joined NMS as well as 6, 852 employees from the Nairobi County government.
The new development comes amidst wrangles between Govenor Sonko and the national government over the implementation of a Deed of Transfer of functions between his administration and the State.
Sonko has remained defiant that he will terminate the agreement, accusing State organs such as the Public Service Commission, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and NMS of overstepping their mandate in the implementation of the Deed of Transfer of functions as well as committing illegalities contrary to the agreement.
Governor Sonko’s Spokeman Ben Mulwa said that as much as it is the duty of the national government to operationalise the NMS, he did not agree with the introduction of active military officers in regular public service.
He pointed out that there are many qualified and competent Kenyans who can discharge similar duties, wondering why military officers have to be put in their place.
“Largely, the operationalisation of NMS rests with the national government and we cannot dictate to them what they should do but what we find a bit disturbing is the ongoing militarisation of NMS,” said Mr Mulwa.