It is emerging that part of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s security detail was withdrawn by the national government on Friday, April 24, with the Governor now claiming that his life is in danger.
The governor’s Communications Director, Jacob Elkanah, confirmed the withdrawal to a local news site on Monday, April 27.
“Yes, the security was withdrawn thus putting His Excellency the Governor’s life in danger. He is still the Governor and should be accorded maximum respect,” he noted in a brief statement.
The move followed a failed meeting which hoped to resolve a stalemate that saw Sonko refuse to assent to a bill allocating Ksh15 billion to the newly established Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to undertake functions transferred from the county government to the national government.
The meeting was held at Sonko’s private office in Upper Hill, Nairobi on Thursday, April 23, and was attended by, among others, State House Deputy Chief of Staff – Legal, Constitutional and Legal Affairs – Njee Muturi and Deputy Comptroller George Kariuki.
A day later, after they failed to agree, drivers and bodyguards stationed at Sonko’s Mua Hills residence in Machakos and his Upper Hill Office were recalled.
The withdrawal offered more insight into the noticeable absence of Sonko at State House, Nairobi when governors from counties including Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale, badly hit by the pandemic, met President Uhuru Kenyatta and addressed a briefing.
With Nairobi responsible for the vast majority of Covid-19 cases reported in Kenya, Sonko’s exclusion raised eyebrows as Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho enjoyed prominence.
Sonko had refused to assent to the Nairobi County Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2020, sending it back to the county assembly as he argued that its proposals contravened multiple provisions of the law.
Sonko wrote to Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi explaining his decision not to sign the bill, arguing that the assembly had irregularly transferred monies including for functions not transferred from the county administration.
He further argued that amendments to the bill were made without the input of the county’s Finance Executive, a contravention of section 131 (2) of the Public Finance Management Act and section 21(3) of the County Governments Act.
Alluding to Sonko’s decision to sign the deed of transfer of functions on March 25 at State House, Nairobi, Elachi questioned the governor’s move as she accused him of failing to respect the agreement.
She disclosed that the assembly had engaged its lawyers and would announce its next course of action.