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Uhuru’s Metropolitan Transport Authority Unconstitutional, Sonko Tells Court

Nairobi county government is opposing the Metropolitan Transport Authority saying the body is unconstitutional.

The entity was ratified by President Uhuru Kenyatta through an Executive Order in February 2017 to deal with challenges affecting the transport industry.

Mike Sonko’s administration says the creation of NAMATA is against the law as it was established in the absence of formal agreement between parties.

Thus, the county, in court documents filed in support of a case by a lobby group, argues that there are no legal obligations his administration can assume in absence of an agreement between the county government and the Transport ministry.

NAMATA was created under the provisions of the State Corporation Act to oversee the implementation of the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) project covering Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Murang’a counties.

The agency is tasked to provide a comprehensive and dynamic platform for addressing the decades-old challenges in the transport sector that have bedevilled the metropolitan area.

Its creation followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Transport CS and governors of Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Murang’a and Machakos way back in October 2014.

However, Sonko, through Nyachoti and Company Advocates, says his government is yet to be formally notified of any agreement.

The governor says the Intergovernmental Relations Act, 2011 requires certain mandatory steps to be undertaken prior to transfer or delegation of powers, functions or competencies, and which has not been done.

“A suitable Agreement Meeting the requirement of 26 (2) of the Intergovernmental Relation Act, 2011, was never published in the Kenya gazette notice in respect to the Nairobi county at least 14 days before the effective date of the transfer of delegation of the county functions required,” he says.

According to him, the appointment of Mary Chege, Zacharia Mungai, and Ronald Ndirangu as NAMATA board members was unconstitutional and thus should be declared null and void.

“It is in the interest of justice the prayers sought in this petition is granted entirely,” Sonko adds.

In the suit, Wanjiru Gikonyo – the national coordinator for The Institute for Social Accountability, is seeking to declare the agency unconstitutional on grounds that it usurps the powers of the county government.

Through lawyer Waikwa Wanyoike, Gikonyo argues that right procedure was not followed while setting up the agency, and its creation is a scheme by the national government to interfere with devolution.

Gikonyo claims the move is meant to unconstitutionally assign the authority functions meant for the counties to the national government.

She there was no public participation and argues that a written agreement is required by Section 26 of the Intergovernmental Relations Act, 2011 and Section 6 (5) of the Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011.

Gikonyo has sued Attorney General and Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia while Sonko, his counterparts Joseph ole Lenku (Kajiado), Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu), Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a) have been listed as interested parties.

The matter came up on Thursday before Justice Chacha Mwita who directed parties to go back to court on September 17 for hearing.

Apart from Nairobi County, the others are yet to file their replies either supporting or opposing the suit.

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