By Obegi Malack
Kajiado County is set to benefit a lot after elevation of two towns Ngong (Kajiado North Sub County) and Kajiado town to municipalities in accordance to urban areas and Cities Act 2011. Governor Joseph ole Lenku has already appointed Parsimei Gitau and David Kuntai Kobaai as Kajiado and Ngong municipalities’ managers respectively.
Gitau is from Kajiado North and has been pushing for formation of municipalities through citizen participation forums. He was MP aspirant in last year’s general election while Koobai, an educationist, is from Kajiado Central and has worked as a chief education officer in Makueni and Special Needs Education Co-ordinator in Kajiado West and North. The two were appointed on interim basis to manage the municipalities for a year. They were competitively recruited and appointed by an institution responsible for recruiting public servants.
According to the Urban Areas and Cities Act, all County headquarters are supposed to be municipalities. Kajiado County is among first counties to appoint its managers and charter signing on how the municipalities will be run will be done later by National and County government. There will also be appointment of board members who number nine; four will be competitively appointed by the Governor with the approval of the county assembly with others nominated by Public Service Board and appointed by the Governor, the chief officer responsible for urban development will also be a board member.
Ngong Municipality will comprise Kajiado North Sub County; some parts of Kajiado West, including Corner Baridi, Ngong Hills, Kibiko and Kiserian Dam.
The Municipality will be an agent of the county with mandate and powers to deliver services within their jurisdiction to the residents for and on behalf of the County Government. The municipality has a structured governance framework to be accountable to the County Governor through the Municipal Board; the manager will implement the decisions and functions of the board and shall be answerable to the board. Kajiado County is one of fifteen counties which got more than one municipality and Kitengela is on the waiting list.
In an exclusive interview with the two managers, they explained that the county will now be able to benefit a lot since the municipality would be able to attract such required funds from international, regional and sometimes local financial baskets. It will now attract funds from bodies such as Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) which the County had no official access to because of lacking any municipality yet it was a key contributor of the kitty through Kenya Fuels’ levy under the jurisdiction of the Kenya Roads’ Board (KRB).
Through the funds, the Municipality will be executing expensive projects such as water and sewerage, waste recycling systems, infrastructures programmes.
The Kajiado municipality manager said accessing funding elsewhere; this will reduce the pressure from counties and allow the flow of part of the otherwise allocations to get into the less developed county hinterlands.
“There will be ability to execute Public private partnerships and private initiatives to expand employment opportunities within the municipal jurisdiction,” he said. Locals will be allowed to give contributions during preparation of special report and integrated development plan of the municipality.
Gitau said there would be no tax increase and increase of land rates as claimed by same locals.
“The municipality will ensure that everyone meant to pay tax does so that they don’t jeopardize the delivery of services.. Revenue collection has increased from an average of Sh800,000 per day in 2017 to over 5 million and with the municipality more will be collected,” he explained.
Ngong Municipal manager Kobaai explained that since Kajiado North is a cosmopolitan region, he would ensure that all tribes are represented in the day-to- day operations of the municipality.
Kobaai said he will ensure that there will be participation of citizens in the development of their areas through public engagement strategies.” Citizens will be sensitized about their rights as well as obligations,” he noted.
He said he still reports to the County Executive Committee member until the municipality is fully operational.
There will be a fiscal policy that defines the financial interface between the County Governments and their Municipal Agencies. The budget of the municipality will be approved by the County Government and that budget spells out the cash transfers from both the County and the National Government in addition to other development partners.