By Kenn Okaka
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has been a man under vicious attacks. The county boss has over the last several months faced attacks over a myriad of allegations in what is seen as attacks fueled by disillusioned officials and politicians whose space to influence corrupt deals have been derailed.
Claims that some nine companies were paid for supplies that were never made to the county government has come at a time when the governor is all out to fight graft at the county government, a move that has irked a corrupt cartel of powerful honchos who control fraudulent deals at city hall.
For starters, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations has moved to investigate fraud at City Hall as fingers point at Governor Sakaja’s administrations following reports that the companies were paid for supply of “Air” to the county.
While none of the claims is true, it is imperative to interrogate the reasons why the vicious attacks have sharply risen against the governor, who is in his first year at the helm of the city county.
I have enough reason to believe that corruption is fighting back to claw its way back to the county government after the Sakaja administration clipped its wings by sealing loopholes and streamlining operations.
First things first, when Governor Sakaja was elected to office, he made his cabinet appointments to the County Executive Committee from across the political divide, a move that rubbed feathers the wrong way with many UDA politicians who felt that the appointments were supposed to go solely to Kenya Kwanza whilst Sakaja believed that he had been elected by all residents of Nairobi to serve equally.
Powerful forces in the government have as well taken to sponsoring critic on the county boss over the ongoing construction of hawkers shades which will now be used by hawkers within the central business district.
The hawkers will now pay their cess to the county government denying cartels the chance to pocket illegal cess that they have been collecting.
As well, the green park bus terminus was yet another project which ruffled feathers at city hall. The Sakaja county administration made plans to have long distance public service vehicles start and end their journeys at the termini but some senior government officials took issue with the plan to move the upcountry vehicles, specifically from Mount Kenya piling pressure to halt the project that had been mooted by the former regime. It is a common notion that powerful Mount Kenya leaders feel that business in Nairobi is controlled by a large majority from the region therefore seeking to halt the county plans in a bid to claim control.
The employment saga is yet another elephant in the room for Sakaja as he works to make the county government an equal opportunity employer. Cartels and senior government officials who have had their relatives and friends fail to land jobs at city hall have resorted to fighting governor Sakaja.
Sympahisers of past county regimes have as well taken to mudslinging the governor due to his approach to continue stalled projects like the soon to be completed Dandora stadium. The county moved to complete the stadium after the project had stalled over graft charges when the projest was halted by the court.
The claims of fraud now hovering over the head of Sakaja’s government is a ploy to derail the performance of the county government a move that the governor has remained steadfast to propel.
Just recently, the Sakaja administration launched a school feeding program dubbed ‘Dishi Na County’ which has been hit by court battles sperhesded by former Education CEC Janet Ouko
The County government’s plan to undertake a school feeding program was dealt a blow after the High Court suspended its implementation until a case challenging the move is heard and determined.
Lady Justice Mugure Thande issued conservatory orders in a case filed by Tunza Mtoto Coalition and Education expert Janet Ouko who argued that the program that is expected to cost Ksh.1.2 billion is a national function.
The program that was scheduled to start on the first day of the third term in all primary schools and ECDs in Nairobi may now have to wait.
Ouko was a CEC in former Governor Mike Sonko’s administration and the court battle has been seen as a plan to derail Sakaja’s plans for the education sector in the city county.
In their application, the two petitioners said Nairobi County Governor Johnson Sakaja acted against the law in launching the program that they say is the function of the national government.
According to the petitioners, there was no deed of transfer between the national government and the county government in respect of the primary school functions.
The petitioners also argue that the 2023/2024 Nairobi City County Budget illegally allocated Ksh.1.2 billion to the program that does not fall under the county; this they say is at the expense of other development programs in Nairobi.
Members of the Nairobi City County Asembly have lambasted the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers probing alleged fraud at City Hall demanding professional conduct from the officers in their work.
The MCAs stated that the recent developments of alleged Investigations by DCI sleuths has been characterised by harassment on city hall employees which the legislators claim is being fueled by cartels at city hall.
Speaking to the Media, the Minority Chief Whip and Umoja 1 MCA Mark Mugambi said the detectives need to start by summoning the directors of the stated companies before pitching camp at City Hall if indeed they are serious with the supposed investigations.
The Whip termed the letter by DCI as ‘mere sideshows’ noting that there were people who have taken to spreading false information to try and intimidate junior employees of the county which he said must stop.
Kenn Okaka is a media and communications consultant