By Protus Onyango
As political heavyweights and business moguls jostle to become the first governor of Nairobi, it is emerging that the task of governing the city will be fraught with thrills and pains.
Political commentators are in agreement that Nairobi’s governor will shoulder more responsibilities than other governors across the country.
But the work ahead for whoever becomes governor will be gargantuan.
A Nairobi councillor summed it up thus: “We operate on infrastructure that was meant for the 1960s. We need at least seven fire stations with modern fire equipment. Whoever becomes governor will have to work extra hard to make the life of residents comfortable.”
According to Kipchumba Murkomen, a law lecturer at Moi University, the governor of Nairobi has an overwhelming job to do.
“Nairobi represents the face of Kenya and has all the people of Kenya and visitors residing there. The governor has to set a good example to other counties by making the county shine more, given that it has the best in all aspects.”
The seat comes with enticing power and glamour as well as having a budget larger than the turnover of many publicly listed companies and state corporations.
But managing Nairobi will not be a walk in the park.
The city has a population of 3.9 million with about 60 per cent of them (two million people), living in slums with limited access to water and sanitation. In the slums, the poverty rate stands at 59 per cent and the youth make up 75 per cent of the informal workers.
Kenya’s Labour minister John Munyes puts the figure of unemployed youth at 1.9 million, with the majority of unemployed between the ages of 15 and 24. He says the Government has not been able to create enough job opportunities for millions of youth entering the job market annually. Mr Munyes says the 750,000 students who graduate from educational institutions each year will continue to flood the unemployment lines.
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