White smoke at last as Governor Johnson Sakaja agrees to gazette assembly sitting

Governor Johnson Sakaja

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has finally agreed to gazette the assembly's first sitting.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu I Nation Media Group

An hour long meeting is what it took to break the impasse surrounding the gazetting of the first sitting of Nairobi County Assembly.

After days of pressure by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party MCAs, Governor Johnson Sakaja on Wednesday agreed to gazette the inaugural sitting of the assembly with the date set for not later than Thursday next week.

But before then, the Kenya Kwanza Alliance governor was holed up in a morning meeting with MCAs drawn from Raila Odinga-led Azimio that began minutes to 11am and ended just before noon.

The meeting came after Azimio MCAs had snubbed two earlier meetings that had been called by the governor, one during his inauguration in Nairobi and another one in Mombasa.

At the meeting attended by more than 50 out of 67 Azimio MCAs, the county legislators said their only agenda is to know when the City Hall boss is planning to call for the first sitting.

The Wednesday meeting was called by the governor and was held at the Committee Room just metres away from the governor’s office.

With the county assembly having been fully constituted after the gazetting of the list of nominated MCAs by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on September 9, the pressure was on Governor Sakaja to call for the opening sitting like his 45 other counterparts.

“The meeting prompted him to agree to gazette the first sitting. He had called us asking what the problem was and we gave him facts and made it clear that we had only one agenda and that was to be sworn in as fast as possible so that we can start executing our mandate as MCAs,” said Kilimani MCA Moses Ogeto.

The immediate former deputy minority whip, who has been one of the ward representatives who have been piling pressure on Governor Sakaja to call for the first sitting, said they also made it clear that the delay will also cripple the county government as they are operating on a Vote on account with no budget in place.

This was in addition to the same MCAs needed to vet both the county executive committee members as well as chief officers to have Mr Sakaja’s government up and running.

No budget

Granted, the City Hall boss agreed to gazette the same within the day and the earliest the sitting can be held being Tuesday and latest Thursday next week.

“We told him his administration will soon be on its knees and that is by December because the county government has been operating on a Vote On account with no budget in place. We were clear with him that he cannot work without us MCAs,” said the third term ODM MCA.

Nyayo/Highrise MCA Kennedy Oyugi confirmed the same adding that Governor Sakaja gave them their word that next week will not pass without the assembly having the first sitting.

Mr Oyugi said the governor had told them that the delay had been occasioned by the search for members of his Cabinet as well as dry county coffers which is proving a headache.

“He told us the delay was not out of ill motive or malice although he is still within the law giving him a 30-day window. He also promised not to interfere with the election of the speaker but said he hopes to have a speaker who will not act as a hindrance to his development agenda,” said Mr Oyugi.

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