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Uhuru asks MCAs to drop Sonko impeachment motion

Saturday February 29 2020

Uhuru and Sonko

President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) briefs Nairobi County leaders at State House, Nairobi, on February 29, 2020 during a meeting to discuss the leadership crisis in the city PHOTO | PSCU 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged Nairobi members of county assembly to drop the impeachment motion against Governor Mike Sonko.

President Kenyatta made the appeal on Saturday during a meeting with a majority of the city's ward representatives at State House in Nairobi.

The MCAs were told to "act in the greater good " of the county.

The county's communications director, Elkana Jacob, said the MCAs agreed to drop the motion and focus on service delivery as advised.

However, the mover of the motion, Makongeni MCA Peter Imwatok, who did not attend the meeting, said he would not be deterred.

IMWATOK DETERMINED

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Reached by phone for comment on the matter, the minority whip said he will carry on with his bid next week.

"My motion is private motion and has not been affected by the meeting. I will still bring it on Tuesday," he told the Nation.

The motion is set to be tabled before the assembly on Tuesday.

The Minority Whip, who moved the motion on February 20, cited grounds including gross violation of the Constitution, incompetency, an inability to lead and holding the county at ransom with the lack of a deputy governor.

By that day, 62 of the county’s 122 MCAs had appended their signatures in support of the motion.

MANY PRESENT

A large number of MCAs, from both the majority and minority sides, attended the meeting which started minutes after 10amd and ended at about 1.20pm.

Mr Imwatok skipped it alongside minority leader David Mberia and a number of members in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

They said they received the communication late on Friday, when they had already left the capital.

Mr Imwatok was in Kisumu County for a burial while Mr Mberia was in Meru for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rally at Kinoru Stadium.

In attendance were Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja and Nairobi Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

HANDOVER

Governor Sonko has handed three of the county's major functions to the national government.

They are roads, transport and infrastructure; health; and lands, housing and urban planning.

Regarding this, South B MCA Chege Waithera said the President told them the state acted in the best interests of Nairobi and devolution.

President Kenyatta said they analysed several options before settling on the takeover, the goal being to save the city from a crisis.

According to the former majority whip, the President said dissolving the county would have led to lack of services for six months while impeaching Governor Sonko would mean a by-election, that would plunge Nairobi deeper into a crisis.

"The President wanted us to act in the best interest of Nairobi. That is why he called both sides of the House. He told us that since they were able to take over the key functions, we should unite and work towards achievement of the transferred functions."

NEXT STEPS

The MCA further said that they were told to be involved in the delivery of services now under the national government, by working with Sonko and the Devolution ministry.

"We were told a taskforce is working on the breakdown and how the assembly will be involved. We will meet with the President and the taskforce mid-March to get a breakdown on what is going to happen," she said.

Roysambu MCA Peter Warutere, who has been part of the anti-impeachment team, said that if Mr Imwatok does no withdraw the motion before Tuesday, they will shoot it down on the floor of the House.

“Our party leader has told us not to proceed with the impeachment motion. It is as good as dead now,” said Mr Warutere.