Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s inaugural speech
The address of Governor Mike Sonko after he was sworn in to office on August 21:
Your Excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces of Kenya;
Your Excellency the Deputy President, Hon. William Ruto;
Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, fellow elected leaders, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, distinguished guests and the great people of Nairobi, hamjambo?
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First I wish to thank the Almighty God, my family and the people of Nairobi for their support that culminated in the victory we celebrate today. I also take this opportunity to welcome you all to the city of Nairobi, and thank you for taking your time to be with us here on this auspicious occasion.
Fellow Nairobians, today marks another day in the history of our great city, a city that was founded over 117 years ago.
It has been a long journey to where we are today as a people, a journey made up of challenges, but more importantly by victories and tremendous strides that we have made.
From the small Dukawallas that dotted our city a century ago, today we pride ourselves in one of the most developed cities in Africa and the world.
However, this important day is not historic because of the victory we celebrate today. Today is historic because there is finally hope for the people of Nairobi.
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At independence, we started off well as city. Well-maintained roads, beautiful public parks, walkways and lawns were the hallmark of Nairobi. Our streets and estates were clean. We had sufficient, affordable water supply for all our residents. Our health facilities had enough doctors, nurses and other support staff, and they never ran out of medical supplies.
Our schools were clean and sufficient for our children. We had enough and safe play grounds for our children.
Those who grew up in Nairobi then are living testimonies of the great city that was, one that popularly began to be referred as the “Green City in the Sun.”
Nairobi was always the ultimate destination for every investor and tourist from all parts of the world, being the only city in the world with a National Park.
Unfortunately, we can only remember that Nairobi with fond memories and sadness. We lost our great city and its future to corrupt cartels that embarked on an evil mission to rob its residents of basic services and amenities.
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Today, Nairobi is dirtier than it has ever been. Open sewers and mounds of garbage have become common sights in almost every corner of the city. Acute water shortages have long become a way of life for many residents, who have been left at the mercy of water cartels that make a kill from selling illegally acquired water to them.
Large potholes and blocked drainage systems are today synonymous with Nairobi. Understaffed health facilities that lack proper equipment and adequate medical supplies are what our residents have to put up with every day.
It is completely unacceptable that, today, a mother or a newborn child has a higher chance of dying at birth in Nairobi than in Mandera. Criminal gangs operating under the city inspectorate have been terrorizing our residents and the business community. Impunity by the county public officers has become the hallmark of services delivery in Nairobi. Our traders have been harassed and abused by the same people mandated with protecting them and their businesses.
I therefore stand before you today to declare that the old Nairobi has finally come to an end. Today we join our hands to embark on a journey to fix a city that has badly been broken down, to a cleaner, greener, healthier and wealthier city.
Your Excellency, I wish to assure you of my administration’s commitment to partner with the National Government in ensuring proper provision of security, improvement of health facilities, education facilities, provision of clean water, slum upgrading, solid waste management, decongesting the city, infrastructure development as well as environmental conservation, sewerage and drainage system.
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Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya, and brings together Kenyans from all tribes, races and religions. As such, our city deserves a leadership that has demonstrated capacity to deliver beyond our tribal, racial or political differences. And that is what my new administration embarks on today.
Fellow Nairobians, you have had immense faith in me from the time you elected as a Member of Parliament for Makadara, and later as your Senator. I have never, and will never take the confidence you have in me for granted.
On many occasions, I have gone beyond the call of duty to serve, and there will be no exception going forward.
It is therefore with deep humility that I take up the great responsibility you have bestowed upon me as your new Governor. I have never made a promise that I never kept, and this day I wish to give you my personal assurance.
Nairobi will never be the same again from today. I shall work around the clock to guarantee efficient and timely services for all our residents. My new administration will put in place an elaborate plan to clean up the mess that has been left behind by the outgoing county government, while ensuring that every resident shall get value for their money as taxpayers.
In my government, the garbage menace shall become history as we have already demonstrated in the ongoing “Operation Ng’arisha Jiji.”
This auspicious day marks the end of the cartels that have held the people of Nairobi hostage for many years.
Land grabbing and forceful evictions of our people without following due process will be a thing of the past.
There shall be enough water for all residents. We shall build enough markets for our small scale traders and review licenses to enhance ease of doing business. We shall support our youth, women and persons living with disabilities to start and grow their businesses, while creating employment opportunities.
We shall seal all loopholes to suffocate the thieves who have been stealing our revenues. We shall build new and equip existing health facilities to guarantee our citizens of first class health services. We shall make Nairobi the preferred destination for all local and foreign investors and tourists.
Because we deserve the best, and we shall become the best. Under my administration, Nairobi shall shine again as the face and gateway to Africa.
I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for your continued support and goodwill, and invite you to partner with me in restoring the lost glory of Nairobi, and make it the “Green City in the Sun” again.
As Nelson Mandela once said, “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger or work. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
God bless you all. God bless Kenya.
Mike Sonkoswearing inPolycarp Igathe