Early this year, key functions of Nairobi county were transferred to the National government, under the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).
The transfer was done in a rush, a fact that Nairobi governor Mike Sonko came to admit later, saying that he was not even allowed to read the deed of transfer documents.
In what should have risen eyebrows, a military man, Major General Mohamed Badi of the Kenya Air Force, was appointed to head NMS. A part from his achievements in the army, little has been written about the man plucked from the Airforce to head NMS, but Major General Badi was reportedly President Kenyatta’s schoolmate at St Mary’s.
Normally, very key functions that need to be well guarded are placed under military men, who are known to guard well top secrets. However, this is a public service that requires transparency, and the transfer should have been done in a transparent manner. Public participation was not even an option during the transfer.
Health, transport, public works and planning departments were transferred to the Presidents watch in the transfer.
Well, this is not the first incidence where a military man has been appointed to head key department in government during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration.
The other among many is the National Intelligence Service (NIS), whose director is Major General (Rtd) Philip Wachira Kameru, and his term was extended by five years in 2019.
Kahawa Tungu explores and brings to you Property, wealth and interests behind all these power tussles and militarisation of key departments.
First, the Kenyatta family has been so insistent in building a Ksh500 billion city dubbed Northlands City in Ruiru that will be linked to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Nairobi’s central business district.
The plans that were first revealed in 2016 stalled the construction of Konza Tecno city in Ukambani, that was conceived during Kibaki era. The first family’s city is strategically placed near Kenyatta University, Thika Superhighway, Nairobi CBD and JKIA. They are pushing for an expressway to be built from JKIA through the city to Thika Superhighway. Until the city is completed, Konza city might never see the light of the day. Major General Badi was appointed to see that such plans are expedited, before President Kenyatta’s term expires.
The city is set to host 250,000 people with 3,570 acres set aside for residential housing including low density residential (3,134 acres), high density residential (306 acres) and medium density residential (130 acres).
As of 2018, works at the site had already started as the rough murram road was carpeted and the famous Peponi gate replaced by a new sign board marked “Northlands”. However, this writer understands that governor Sonko delayed crucial approvals for works related to the city in Kiambu County but depending on Nairobi for a lot of things, leading to squabbles with the first family, leading to his current troubles.
The city hopes to benefit from the 200-acre Infinity Industrial Park under development off the Eastern Bypass, the Embakasi Garrison, Administration Police Training College-Embakasi and the General Service Unit Training School Embakasi.
Such facilities will not be of benefit, unless there is a man at the top, who understands the ways of the disciplined forces and is trustworthy. That man for President Kenyatta is Major General Badi, who would ensure that the city that highly depends on Nairobi was a success.
According to the city’s design by Triad Architects, the Northlands city will have two interchanges, one linking it to Eastern Bypass near Thika Superhighway and another 300 metres away linking it to the Greater Eastern Bypass. The city will get another link road and an additional interchange connection to the populous Githurai area.
This will make it almost greater than the Nairobi CBD, since it will capture all the population along Thika Superhighway and other parts at the outskirts of the city and in Kiambu County.
A part from the road network, a railway network is set to be developed for the city, which has been designed to have a commercial space, a central business district, schools, an industrial area, and an agricultural zone. The recent construction of Ruiru, Kikuyu, Mwiki, Kahawa and Dandora railway stations was in readiness for the city.
5,156 acres of the land have been reserved for wildlife conservation and agriculture with Kenyatta family’s Gicheha Farm, which keeps large herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, as the main occupant. The cattle entails dairy cattle which supply milk for Brookside, owned by the family, and located on the same land.
According to insiders, Mike Sonko had to be toppled for the project to take shape, since he had refused to issue crucial approvals for most of the works in Nairobi. The approval of the works was to be made by planning and management that was moved from Sonko hands, making things smooth now.
Currently, an acre of land at the proposed city is going for over Ksh40 million, and several investors are said to have bought their pieces of land.
It is also reported that Deputy President Dr William Ruto, who had land in Ruai, was a casualty, after his land was taken by the national government over claims that he grabbed it. He intended to develop a similar city, that would have rivaled the Kenyatta’s.
This development has seen Sonko team up with Dr Ruto, something that irked President Uhuru Kenyatta and his newfound ally and ODM leader Raila Odinga, who has been roped into the plans with a promise of Presidency in 2022. The two orchestrated the withdrawal of Sonko security detail, and were planning for his arrest and quarantine after he held a meeting in his office. He however escaped before sleuths arrived after he was tipped off.
It is reported that as a current reward, Raila Odinga’s daughter Rosemary’s land in Ngong is being developed using state machinery with NYS drilling boreholes on site. Raila has been enjoying state resources despite not being in government officially. Recently, he used an Airforce chopper to visit the family of a Nairobi business family who had been bereaved.
Without funds, the NMS has been grounded after Sonko refused to sign a bill allocating it Ksh15 billion. The state is now trying to arm twist him by going for his Ksh500 million land in Upperhill.
The Kenyatta family is also said to be in partnership with a French firm to set up a multi-million power plant at the 30-acre Dandora dumpsite land.
Sonko is currently trying to reverse transfer of the four key functions to the central government, but reports reaching Kahawa Tungu indicate that lawyers acting on the case have been warned by the state against the move, making it complicated for Sonko.
The plans for the first family might not be achievable before President Kenyatta’s term expires in 2022, the reason he has teamed up with Raila so that he can have a stake in government to oversee the completion of the family business.