Fact-checking Nairobi’s gubernatorial debate

Kenya is hosting presidential election debates for the third time. In 2013, and 2017 candidates for president and deputy president got the chance to face each other before a national audience.

In 2022, the organisers have put together three sets of debates. These are for the positions of president, deputy president and governor, Nairobi City County. On 11 July 2022, the two leading candidates running to be elected governor of Nairobi met in a face-to-face debate. Whose claims were on the money ? We took a look.

“I was chosen by 869,000 votes in 2017.” – Polycarp Igathe

By Vincent Ng’ethe

We reviewed the election results for the 2017 general election posted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Mike Sonko and Polycarp Igathe received 871,794 votes in the 2017 general election and were elected Deputy Governor and Deputy Governor of Nairobi City County. Igathe resigned six months into his term while Sonko was later impeached.

Igathe slightly understates the number of votes he and Mike Sonko received, as per the election report. However, given that he was the running mate to Mike Sonko, his claim that he received those votes leaves out Mike Sonko’s contribution.



“The national government sent KSh370 billion to the devolved governments. Only KSh19 billion came to Nairobi.” – Polycarp Igathe

By Vincent Ng’ethe

According to the 2021 Division of Revenue Act ,the national government allocated KSh370 billion to the counties as equitable share. The County Allocation of Revenue Act shows Nairobi received KSh19.25 billion.

In addition, according to the Statement of Actual Revenues and Net Exchequer Issues dated 17 June 2022 , the County Governments Additional Allocations Act 2022 provided another KSh39.8 billion to the counties in conditional allocations from development partners. So the total amount provided to the counties was actually 409.8 billion.

The same law provided Nairobi another KSh153,297,872 in conditional grants from the national government and KSh866,7914 49 in conditional grants and loans from development partners, giving a total of KSh20.27 billion to the capital city.

In the Ballpark


“KSh2.2 trillion wamecollect Kenya Revenue Authority. 60 percent of the KSh2.2 trillion imetoka viwanda na wafanyakazi huku Nairobi.” – Polycarp Igathe

By Vincent Ng’ethe

According to a July 2022 press release by the Kenya Revenue Authority, the tax agency collected KSh2.031 trillion for the first time in Kenya’s history. Igathe’s figure is about KSh170 billion higher than the correct number.

We reached out to the Kenya Revenue Authority to confirm if 60 percent of its tax revenue was collected from Nairobi County. The tax agency referred us to the press release published online and noted that it does not currently publish breakdowns of tax revenue by county.

No evidence


“The county was receiving KSh15bn. Now it receives KSh19 billion.” – Johnson Sakaja

By Vincent Ng’ethe

We examined the amounts Nairobi City County received from the national government in 2017/2018, when Sakaja was first elected and 2022/2023, the last financial year in which he was a sitting senator. 

Year Equitable Share Conditional (Govt) Conditional (Dev) Total
2017/2018 15,402,000,000 759,568,406 2,290,502,230 18,452,070,636
2022/2023 19,249,677,414 19,249,677,414 

Source: County Allocation of Revenue Acts

In 2017/2018, the county of Nairobi received KSh15 billion as equitable share, KSh760 million as conditional government grants and KSh 2.3 billion as grants from development partners for a total allocation of KSh18.45 billion.

Dr Abaraham Rugo is the country manager of the International Budget Partnership’s Kenya office. Rugo said that the only funds available to the counties so far in the 2022/2023 financial year are the funds allocated under the 2022 County Allocation of Revenue Act. This means the county has only been allocated KSh19 billion so far. 

Sakaja is correct on the equitable share of revenue in both years, and about KSh3 billion short on conditional grants in 2017/2018.



“The Auditor general’s report about Nairobi City County disclosed that Nairobi County has a debt of over KSh80 billion now.” – Polycarp Igathe

By Vincent Ng’ethe

The most recent reports on the auditor general’s website are for the financial year 2019-2020. Neither report on the county executive or county assembly mentions Nairobi’s outstanding debt. 

According to the county’s Debt Management Strategy Paper for 2022/2023 dated February 2022, the county’s outstanding debts were KSh76.9 billion as of 30 June 2021. The county’s fiscal strategy paper also dated February 2002 lists the county’s debts at KSh79 billion as of September 2021. 

In the Ballpark


“For the last three years, I have been rated the best performing senator in the Republic of Kenya” –  Johnson Sakaja

By Eunice Omollo

We looked into this claim. Score cards for Members of Parliament are created by Mzalendo, an organisation that works to hold lawmakers accountable. The score works by counting the number a member of parliament speaks based on the Hansard, which is the official record of the debates in Parliament.

In 2020, Sakaja had the highest score in the Senate. He spoke 554 times. 

In 2019 the best-performing senator was Ledama Olekina who represents Narok. He spoke 461 times. However, Sakaja was rated as the best performing youth in the Senate Assembly, with 93 speech counts. 

He was also rated the top-performing committee chairperson in the Senate, as chair of the Senate Committee on Labour and Social Welfare.

In 2018 he was rated the top senator, speaking 640 times. He was also the best youth member of parliament.

Senator Sakaja was indeed honoured for three consecutive years, so his claim has some basis in fact.



“Revenue has gone down to KSh7 billion. Why is that ? Because you’re not explaining to Nairobians the services you are offering.” – Johnson Sakaja

According to the controller of budget, Nairobi’s own source revenue at the end of the third quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year was KSh7,386,983,090. 

The Nairobi Metropolitan Services was created in February 2020, during the 2019/2020 financial year. Nine-month revenues in subsequent years have been higher than the KSh7.2 billion of March 2020, contradicting his claim.

Year Own-source revenue collected at third quarter 
2021/2022 7,386,983,090
2020/2021 7,988,810,107
2019/2020 7,238,760,000
2018/2019 8,242,390,000
2017/2018 7,637,670,000

Source: Controller of Budget

 However, Sakaja did not specifically refer to revenue collected in the third quarter, which leaves open the possibility that he was referring to whole-year revenue.

Own-source revenue in the entire 2020/2021 financial year was KSh10 billion, KSh8.72 billion in 2019/2020 and KSh10.25 billion in 2018/2019. There is no evidence that annual own-source revenue has dropped to KSh7 billion. 


[title text=”FACT CHECKING” align=”center” uppercase=”yes” bold=”yes”]