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Unbridled chaos in city CBD is killing businesses

By Editorial | May 20th 2022 | 2 min read
By Editorial | May 20th 2022

Traffic snarl-up at the Globe roundabout flyover on Thika Superhighway. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

There’s a flight from Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD). Individuals, corporates, multinationals, top hotels and even some government agencies are fleeing what has become a hotbed of chaos. Hilton Hotel is the latest to announce plans to exit the CBD by December, following reduced business traffic.

Earlier, Intercontinental Hotel shut down and faces the auctioneer’s hammer. Besides the Covid-19 pandemic, the chaos occasioned by poor planning is also to blame for the death and relocation of top hotels and companies from the CBD.

For example, next to Hilton is a busy bus terminus which is a turn off for visitors who love to enjoy a quiet and peaceful stay at the hotel.

The county government has not only allowed several matatus to terminate in the CBD, but has also watched as hawkers return into the city centre, adding to the chaos in Nairobi’s nerve centre.

This has led to calls from certain quarters to relocate the capital or reshape what is now bursting at the seams.

We need Nairobi to go back to its glorious days as the city under the sun. There are several ways to do that, but that journey should start with the government decisively addressing the matatu menace.

We have tolerated the matatus operators for the longest time. All efforts to relocate them from the CBD have hit a snag due to vested business and political interests. Political goodwill at City Hall is critical if we are to reign in the matatu madness.

The county government needs to act tough for the good of the city by relocating the matatu and hawkers from the city centre. We laud the Nairobi Metropolitan Service for creating a new bus terminus which will help decongest the CBD. Meanwhile, it is important that the county government completes construction of all the markets that were meant to house the hawkers. The CBD will become more palatable for businesses and city residents if that is done.

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