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Rigathi says State to nominate team to clean Nairobi River

Members of 'Wajinga Sisi' a volunteering group during the previous clean-up exercise of Nairobi River. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said on Thursday that the government will ramp up efforts to clean Nairobi River after years of neglect.

Rigathi said that the Kenya Kwanza administration is keen on ensuring the river is clean.

“We are working on the Nairobi River Commission. We are putting up a team with terms of reference. By next week, that Commission will be gazetted,” he said when he met representatives of the 25 United Nations agencies resident in Kenya at his office in Nairobi.

"It is a huge undertaking in matters of cleaning the river and settlement because people have to be relocated, but have to be given alternative sources of livelihood."

He urged the UN agencies to work with the government to ensure success of the exercise.

“We will need the support of the UN family- UNEP, Habitat and others. We want your agencies to be involved in the Nairobi River Commission. We will be asking for your partnership to restore the river,” Gachagua said.

The agencies, under the new United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework Kenya 2022-2026, expressed readiness to partner with the government in implementation of 15 programmes in an effort to ‘Leave No-One Behind (LNOB).’

The programmes target children, the youth, women, people living in arid and semi-arid areas and urban informal settlements.

The DP assured stakeholders that the government’s doors were open to all and they are willing to work with them in implementing the Kenya Kwanza agenda.

“Our new governance model is based on continuous engagement. We shall continuously engage stakeholders, we are open-minded and we will do a lot of listening,’’ he said.

Gachagua welcomed stakeholders to support the implementation of the Hustlers’ Fund set to be launched next month.

“The Hustlers Fund will give the hustlers the opportunity to realise their dreams by making credit affordable with reasonable interest,” he said.

He urged UN agencies to help fight against the effects of climate change citing the biting drought that has affected more than four million Kenyans.

Gachagua said the government's main objective was to move away from rain-fed agriculture to irrigation to avert food shortage linked to drought in the future.  

“We will engage with our partners to look for long-term solutions to the effects of climate change,” he said.