Nairobi governor Dr Evans Kidero’s recent moves have triggered speculation, putting him at loggerheads with some Orange Democratic Movement supporters.
However, he appears to be a man on a mission and this explains why at a time the country is transfixed by suggestions that a referendum be held to compel the government to allocate more funds to counties, he has gone to China in search of answers.
His bag is overflowing with goodies, which he sourced while on the official tour after he bagged Sh87 billion funding for various development projects.
While governors were engaged in the clamour for a referendum to increase funding for counties, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero seized an opportunity that has seen him secure Sh87 billion to fund projects in the city.
Dr Kidero opted to accompany President Uhuru Kenyatta on his China tour at a time when Coalition for Restoration of Democracy ( Cord), which sponsored him, is pushing for a referendum to force the National Government to allocate more funds to the counties.
Kodero’s trip to China also comes against the backdrop of claims the Nairobi Governor is becoming more sympathetic to Kenyatta’s jubilee than Raila Odinga led Cord.
Since his election, the governor has been walking a political tight rope because although the Cord has the majority in the Nairobi County Assembly, it leads by only one ward representative.
This means although Kidero cannot afford to sever the political umbilical cord with Cord, he at the same time cannot afford to ignore Jubilee.
It is against this background that Kidero travelled with the President to China where he has secured substantial financial backing to rescue his county.
The funding may help prove to those who have criticised him for being too close to the President that it helps to be pragmatic.
Kidero has however shrugged off the claims he was turning his back on Cord saying that he cannot play politics with the office the county that controls the country’s economy.
“My association with the President is based on law as enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya. I am mandated by law to meet the President to discuss how to share costs of the national and county governments,” Dr Kidero said.
The governor said the Constitution mandates him to meet with the President four times in a year.
“Just as the council of governors meet with the President four times a year, so should I because we have unique features as opposed to other counties,” Dr Kidero said.
He said his meetings with the President should be seen in the light of providing services to Nairobi residents and not politics.
“I am a life member of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) that is a partner in Cord. But at the same time, I am the governor of Nairobi,”
He added, “Those saying anything to the contrary do not see the need to steer this nation to prosperity. We need to work together to realise our dreams.”
ODM Secretary General, Mr Anyang Nyong’o said as the Governor of Nairobi, which is the seat of power, Mr Kidero is free to work closely with the President.
The speculation that Kidero was no longer loyal to Cord was fuelled by his absence from the former Prime Minister’s entourage to the US comprising twelve Cord governors to market opportunities in their counties to potential investors.
Kidero said he used the China visit to meet the President and Executive Chairman of the China Investment Bank, which readily agreed to provide much needed funds for the development of Nairobi.
The money will be used for funding infrastructure and urban regeneration of the populous Eastlands where old county houses stand.
It will also be used to upgrade the city’s transit system and construction of the nine transport corridors to open up traffic in the city.
“Some of the funds will be used to streamline the Transit Urban System and build the nine transport corridors to open up traffic in the city,” Dr Kidero said.
He added, “The bank is more than willing to invest in Nairobi County and its Chairman Hu Huai Bang will soon be visiting us to fine tune the loose ends of the deal, which will transform the county into a major transit hub using all means of transport, from road, rail, rapid transit buses and planes.”
The corridors are along Outering Ring road from the General Service Unit headquarters to Taj Mall in Embakasi, Kangundo road to Juja road up to Haile Selassie Avenue and All Saints to Ngong road will benefit.
The others are Langata, Argwings Kodhek, Riverside Drive, James Gichuru, Jogoo road, ABC Place, Githogoro, Limuru road, Dagoretti, Karen, Bomas and the All Saints and Adams Arcade.
“Upper Hill, Ngong road, Kileleshwa, Riverside, James Gichuru link and the Ngong road through DC’s office to Kibera and Kenya Wildlife Services will benfit,” Mr Kidero said.
The money is an addition to Sh1.4 billion given by the World Bank, African Development Bank, the Japanese Government, Kenya Urban Roads Authority, Kenya National Highways Authority to fund Nairobi’s development of road and rail transport system.
Kidero’s government had also set aside Sh2 billion for road maintenance.
The governor said some Chinese investors had also proposed to fund the second phase of the Digital Traffic and Security Control, where cameras will be installed in 253 major junctions across the city from Mowlem area in Embakasi West to Karen.
Health care sector
“We also got commitments for the health care sector where statistics show there are 7.6 million hospital visits per year in Nairobi while my government has 83 hospitals, clinics and dispensaries. This will be upgraded to digital imaging systems,” he said.
Kidero has also invited Foton Daimler Company to set up an assembly plant to produce double cabin pick-ups.
“This will be a major boost and will develop our county’s transport infrastructure and address youth unemployment in our county,” the governor said.
Health care sector
Nairobi County is also set to benefit from the money secured by President Kenyatta.
The 425 billion includes economic partnerships, wildlife protection, and the standard gauge railway linking the port of Mombasa through Nairobi to Malaba.
Some of the money will be used for energy-related projects, agribusiness, irrigation, fertiliser production and purchases and technology.
China is also keen to see Kenya host a clearinghouse for the Chinese currency in Nairobi – greatly boosting the Kenyan capital’s credentials as a leading financial hub.