The no nonsense Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director General Major General Mohammed Badi has touched off a fresh round of a stormy debate saying he’s the boss of all transferred Nairobi County functions but Mike Sonko is the elected governor.
Speaking during a live show with a local TV station yesterday night, Badi articulated the NMS transformative agenda but minced no words to emphasis on his mandate and that of his County boss rival.
“As far as the transferred functions are concerned, I am the boss but with all due respect Sonko is the elected Nairobi governor.” Badi said.
Donning in full military insignia Badi articulated the NMS agenda but cited the governor over alleged sabotage in frustrating the budgetary provision to the takeover entity established by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“He believes I am finishing him politically but I have no political ambition, I have stated that before I have told him several times. In fact he should take advantage of what I am doing by taking credit of it …and you still win elections…but he doesn’t he intends to fight so I think the truth will be known soon…He should have county plans not his own personal, so that’s where we differ.” Badi observed.
The General was also categorical that the rent waivers announced by Sonko for county houses in Nairobi are illegal and will not be recognised adding that the governor has no powers over transferred functions discrediting Sonko’s pronouncement as empty talk and inconsequential.
“No it is not (legitimate) because that is a transferred function so he has absolute no authority to waive. And after all, the people who are collecting revenue now is KRA so it is KRA to announce that not the governor,” he added.
The NMS boss expressed concerns by county finance office frustrating budgetary provision to NMS terming it as an act of sabotage.
“Now the County assembly has voted for a budget which the governor has rejected of course but I do believe that we will get over it. Initially when I came in he also refused to give me budget. A few days before the end of financial year he signed knowing I will not make use of the money. He didn’t know that I had borrowed it and it was just offsetting what he had signed. So I achieved my target and hopefully I know I will achieve in the next financial year,”
“We are still fighting with the county in terms of budget, remember the County Assembly approved my budget but the governor refused to sign so it has gone back to the assembly so I am waiting for them to clear whatever hurdles they have as soon as I get my budget I will hit the road running again.”
Exhibiting himself as a diplomatic smooth talker, Badi cited similar frustrations and political interference targeted towards the then Nairobi Regeneration Program before the President tapped him to head the transformation initiative of the city.
“When things went haywire, remember there was the Nairobi Regeneration Program that was headed by honourable CS Balala. Unfortunately it hit turmoil because of the current politics that was going on so things took off but not at the speed because of the frustrations of politics and that is why the president decided to appoint me to head so I inherited existing plans.” Badi asserted.
Having come from the national Defence College and served for 39 years so far in one of the prestigious higher education institutions in Africa that see local civil servants, government officials and foreign military personnel seconded to undertake progress courses, Badi said after his two years tenure he will happily go back to the barracks.
“In the evening before I was told where my office is, I was in Muthurwa market managing the National Youth Service (NYS) trucks in collecting garbage. We had to bring sanity in the garbage collection. This had gone chaos. You and I live in Nairobi, we know how filthy our streets were. So I started the same night before even knowing the next day I will be at KICC facing Sonko opposite the building.”
How I deal with the governor
When asked how he deals with the governor whose reference to him are inconsistent ranging from a ‘friend’ to ‘Saddam Hussein’ he responded: “True, the best way is to keep quite. So he will keep on guessing what you are doing, I keep on doing the work, so actually I don’t entertain any insults or any accusations that he bombards me every week.”
He continued, “The other day he calls me a brother, after a week I am supposed to go to International Criminal Court (ICC). So I don’t know when he will get a chance to take me to ICC but I keep on moving on doing the work that Nairobi badly needs.”
He cited roads upgrade, garbage collection, water provision, County Inspectorate and revenue collection as cartel infested areas which has since been taken over by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
Badi said unscrupulous business people in collusion with the leadership ground garbage trucks and raod construction machinery like the razed down asphalt plant to award tenders whereas the same work can be done by county employees.
One of the blueprints is to have an integrated electronic revenue collection to address revenue leakages.
“Enemies is part of my training. We are taught to fight so we are taught to deal with enemies. So we will deal with them as they come.”
Since he assumed office six months ago, Badi and Sonko have survived acrimonious and strained relations with the governor fighting for control of transferred functions notably; health, planning, development, transport and public works.
“It was sort of disorganised but remember reaching a General’s in the military it means you have done management at a higher level, of course including the war, planning for logistics and so forth. So it is not a new area for me. Managing the city is just like management in the military. So it has not been hard and I did not come with any new ideas as such. Maybe improve whatever I found on the table.
He further divulged that security agencies are investigating those who planned and executed the act of razing down a county equipment attributing it to an act of sabotage.
“When I took over and started doing all the roads you know there was sabotage and that asphalt plant as we are talking is burnt to the ground. There are several people I can’t say who, I have left that to the security agencies to find out who it is but it was razed down. Cartels are our own people so we know how to handle them. They are not strangers, they are not foreigners they are Kenyans so we know how to live with each other”. He added.