With his impeachment looming, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko is out to reorganise his administration.
The governor, who is facing graft charges, has made a number of changes in his administration key among them Cabinet reshuffle since court barred him from accessing his City Hall office last year.
Relying on a court ruling last month in favour of Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal, who also faces graft-related charges, Sonko has either recalled or sacked senior City Hall officers.
Last month, Senior Principal Magistrate Thomas Nzioka dismissed an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions seeking to cancel Governor Lenolkulal’s bail and commit him to remand prison because he had reshuffled his executives in April and November last year.
Mr Nzioka ruled that the governor was only barred from physically accessing his office and the county government accounts until the case is heard and determined.
He said the interpretation of ‘access to office’ cannot be stretched to include suspension of duties except in express instances where the governor is prohibited by the bail terms.
It is on the strength of the ruling that the City Hall chief reshuffled his Cabinet that saw him fire Finance Executive Pauline Kahiga and her Agriculture counterpart Winfred Gathagu last month.
In their places, he appointed former Nairobi Woman Representative Jubilee Party aspirant Karen Nyamu – who is also Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company Board member and Mbagathi Hospital Management Board chairman George Fredrick Omogi Osewe, pending vetting by Nairobi Assembly.
“The Nairobi County government has been reorganised in line with the Constitution and the County Government Act Section 30(2) (e) and 45(5). This order contains portfolio and changes made in the structure of the county government.
“This order takes effect immediately and supersedes any other order issued previously,” added Mr Sonko in a letter dated January 30, 2020.
The changes also saw the return of two CECs he had suspended last year over the Precious Talents School tragedy that left seven pupils dead.
Mr Charles Kerich returned to the Lands and Housing docket, while Mohamed Dagane was taken to the Roads and Transport department. He was Health CEC at the time of his suspension.
Other changes saw Mr Hitan Majevdia moved to the Health docket, Trade CEC Allan Igambi to the Finance docket, Environment and Water CEC Vesca Kangogo was moved to the Devolution and Public Service Management department after swapping places with Larry Wambua.
Newton Munene retained the ICT and E-government docket while Ms Lucia Mulwa went to Education and Sports department.
On Thursday last week, Mr Sonko appointed Urban Planning Chief Officer Justus Kathenge – who had just returned to City Hall last month after more than four months in suspension – as acting County Secretary.
Mr Kathenge replaced Public Service Management Chief Officer Leboo Morintat, who has been holding the position since July last year.
“Pursuant to the provision of Section 44 of the County Government Act 2012, you are hereby appointed as the County Secretary, in acting capacity to the Nairobi County Government with effect from February 20, 2020,” said Mr Sonko in a letter dated February 19, 2020.
Governor Sonko said Mr Morintat remains deputy County Secretary – a post the City Hall boss created in mid-2018 – and PSM chief officer.
“The governor has appointed Mr Kathenge to be acting county secretary pending the nomination and vetting of the new county secretary later this year,” said Elkana Jacob, Director of Governor’s Press Service in a February 23, 2020 letter.
Earlier this month, Parking Services Director Tom Tinega was also suspended.
Last month, Governor Sonko also appointed Disaster Management and Coordination Chief Officer Anne Mwenda as deputy governor, awaiting vetting by Nairobi County Assembly.