The deployment of military officers to the newly-created Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) continues to elicit mixed reactions, with Senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen as the latest politician to criticise the move.
The Elgeyo Marakwet senator likened the move to second active military men to the new outfit to militarising a civilian government, saying it goes against the spirit of the Constitution.
He said Nairobi County has now been militarised and is no longer a government run by civilians as was envisaged in the 2010 Constitution.
“The militarisation of a civilian county government is the worst form of violation and overturn of our Constitution. Nairobi County has been militarised. It is no longer a civilian government,” said Mr Murkomen.
“It is a shock that active military men, who are supposed to operate in barracks and borders, are running a civilian government yet this house is sitting here ululating and clapping.”
The senator’s concerns came hot on the heels of the approval of six military officers by the Kenya Defence Council to join NMS Director-General Mohammed Badi’s administration for two years.
The approved officers included Brig F. Leuria, Major J.V Mbithi, Major A.N Nyakundi, Major J. K. Ngoroge, Lt Col J.K.Biomdo and Major A.L. Musoma.
Senator Murkomen said, “I am opposed to the manner in which Nairobi is being run by military men and [the fact that] many more are being seconded to the county government.”
Governor Mike Sonko’s Spokesperson Ben Mulwa has also been critical of the government’s move to introduce active military officers in regular public service.
He noted that there are many qualified and competent Kenyans who can serve in those positions.
“We wonder about the intention of the national government and what it wants to achieve through the NMS. There are many public servants who have been seconded to the NMS,,” he said adding that putting civilians under the military results in intimidation.
Senator Murkomen has been vocal about his displeasure with the State’s takeover of four key functions from City Hall – health, transport and public works, planning and ancillary services.
This followed the February signing of a deal by Governor Mike Sonko and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, which led to establishment of the NMS to run the transferred functions.
Mr Murkomen questioned how the military men will be taken to task in terms of accountability as they run the transferred functions as their trial system is different from that of civilians.
“You may be happy with the transfer of functions to the NMS but as long as you continue bringing up questions here against military men … their place of trial is the court martial, not the public court. Therefore, we must fight for the core of management of Nairobi in a manner that is responsive to our Constitution and civilian rule,” he said,
He added, “You may not agree with the leadership of Nairobi at the moment but tomorrow when you will be governors under a worse president, all your counties will be militarised and functions taken over.”