Garbage war: Who will blink first as Sonko renews battle with Badi?

Pipeline Nairobi

A heap of uncollected garbage is pictured in Nairobi’s Pipeline estate on November 8, 2020. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The deep-rooted rivalry between Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director-General Mohammed Badi has taken a new turn.

The two took their battle to social media on Monday, with hashtag #UhuruShouldRespectSonko trending in Kenya for the better part of the day.

What started as a post by Governor Sonko on his social media pages, of heaps of garbage in Pipeline on Sunday, quickly escalated into an exchange between the two offices.

The NMS accused “saboteurs and detractors” of being behind the heaps of solid waste in the capital.

“As saboteurs and detractors heap garbage in the capital, NMS and the people of Nairobi are cognisant of their role in [achieving] a clean environment and are at work each day, collecting 3,000 tonnes against meagre kilos collected in the past,” it said.

Pipeline Nairobi

A potholed road in Pipeline estate, Nairobi, as pictured on November 8, 2020. 

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Nairobi’s priorities

Maj-Gen Badi and Sonko’s supporters then joined the debate, going at it hammer and tongs.

The first shot fired by a Twitter user alleged vested interests in the demolitions in Ruai.

Another person told Mr Badi that slum dwellers do not need cabro pavements as their priorities are a steady supply of water and electricity and other basic amenities that many city dwellers do not have.

“Militarising our county will be our greatest downfall. How can we question Badi’s incompetence when we didn’t vote for him? He should allow Sonko to work for the electorate.”

Both Sonko and the NMS have engaged in city beautification projects that have seen pavements and some roads in the central business district revamped.

One Bobo Bobo questioned Maj-Gen Badi’s leadership skills while Benson Kamau said there has been “total chaos” in Nairobi for the last few months.

Another Twitter user said, “Ever since Uhuru imposed NMS on us, things have been retrogressing. We want Sonko back.”

Pipeline Nairobi

A street in Pipeline, Nairobi, where piles of uncollected garbage have resulted in complaints by the public, November 8, 2020.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Badi’s supporters

In their responses, the NMS chief’s supporters said the President made the right decision when he put him in charge.

“Nairobi was better under the city council during the Kibaki regime. It improved a little during Kidero’s regime but lost shape under Sonko. Sonko should just work with him (Badi) and prepare for retirement in 2022,” wrote Abuga Makori.

Another person noted that Maj-Gen Badi has never engaged in negative criticism of his predecessors in the management of the city’s affairs.

Abubakar Ali wrote, “Respect is paramount in achieving a peaceful co-existence. Let Sonko respect Badi and let Badi respect Sonko.”

Derick Munene wondered what happened between the two leaders as they once agreed to work together.

No love has been lost between Governor Sonko and Maj-Gen Badi since the NMS was established in March.

NMS took over four county functions -- health, transport, public works, utilities and ancillary services, and county planning and development.