Plans Are Underway To Scrap Nairobi City County For The National Capital City-Isaac Ruto

Is President William Ruto’s administration planning to scrap the Nairobi City County? Last week, former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto made the revelations during a media interview when he said that the management of Nairobi should be in the hands of a Cabinet Secretary appointed by the President and that Kenyans should now start debating whether Nairobi should be a county or a special metropolis like Washington DC in the US.

Mr Isaac Rutto is President William Ruto’s confidant, President William Ruto appointed him to the influential Judicial Service Commission and analysts now say that he may merely be trying to gauge the public mood on behalf of the executive. 

This is not the first time such a debate has come to the public’s attention. Way back in 2017, then Deputy Senate Speaker Kembi Gitura introduced a bill in the Senate proposing that Nairobi be placed directly under the national government as a ‘National Capital City, as opposed to its current status of a county. There was a proposal to empower the President, with the approval of the National Assembly, to appoint a Cabinet Secretary in charge of the Nairobi Capital City. The CS would have the mandate to run the affairs of the National Capital City and be answerable to the President.

 Sources say Kenya Kwanza is now thinking of pushing a section of the bill through the planned boundaries review by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Mr Isaac Ruto’s views are part of a bigger plan by the current administration to test the reactions of the people of Nairobi and Kenyans in general.

 Those in support of the proposal to hand over Nairobi to the national government in President Ruto’s government claim that Nairobi is home to diplomatic missions and needs to be managed by the national government just like Washington DC in the US.  

Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot has also come out in support of the idea, he said the problems facing Nairobi can only be handled by the national government. Former President Uhuru Kenyatta handed over some of the city’s functions to the national government through the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) a few months before he left office.

Legislators allied to President Ruto opposed the move and then accused then-President Uhuru Kenyatta of having betrayed then-Governor Mike Sonko. And just to show how the Kenya Kwanza administration is determined to take over Nairobi, there is talk in some quarters within the administration who feel that Uhuru Park should be turned into a commercial hub and that a modern hotel and a convention centre should be built there.

However, the scrapping of Nairobi City County as it is now is a tedious process, which is probably why they intend to sneak the process through the IEBC so that it may easily go through in a referendum.  In the expected boundaries review, some counties will be scraped while creating others, the same will apply to constituencies and wards.

All said and done, it is only through the referendum that Kenyans will decide whether to retain Naobi as a county or scrap it and hand over the management to the government.

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