Get rid of city car vandals before hiking parking fee

By DANN MWANGI

In a bill before the Nairobi County Assembly, the County Budget and Appropriation Committee proposes to increase parking fees from Sh140 to Sh 300 for parking in the Nairobi Central Business District and from Sh140 to Sh200 for parking in designated areas outside the NCBD.

Although this proposed increase aims at netting more revenue for the county, it remains high and will definitely meet resistance from most Nairobians.

The defunct Nairobi City Council tried several times to increase this fee but Nairobians through the High Court thwarted the move.

In this respect, questions demanding answers from the Nairobi County government will arise if this bill passes into law and we cannot still rule out the likelihood that the matter may end up before the court like before.

Firstly, although the formulation of laws in the counties remains the duty of the county assemblies, they are expected to ensure participation of the people as per the County Government Act but in this case, Nairobians were not well involved. Section 21 explains the procedure of legislating a money bill but Section 87 (b) of the same Act expects that Nairobians be involved in access to the process of formulating such a law.

With lack of public participation, there will be opposition to that law if enacted, as despite the high increase of parking fee, there are many underlying issues that the county is supposed to address. Currently, there are many incidences of theft of vehicle parts and vandalism of cars in the parking slots and thus people do not get value of the parking fee they pay today.

Therefore, there is urgent need for the county to first ensure safety of cars and especially in the NCBD before this law can be implemented.

In addition, the county government must weed out all parking boys in town, as they remain a menace to motorists.

They are a parallel government in Nairobi as even if you pay the county parking fee, these boys demand a fee too in the name of security. They have made the cost of parking a vehicle in Nairobi quite expensive and with the impending increase of parking fees; Governor Evans Kidero must ensure these boys are driven out of town. He must also crack the whip and ensure the county’s parking attendants who work in cahoots with these boys to fleece Nairobians face strict disciplinary measures.

Moreover, measures such as having metered car parks should be reintroduced in Nairobi if this bill is enacted into law. If a capital city like Harare of Zimbabwe has metered car parks, Nairobi should ultimately have such car parks as almost all successive Town Clerks of the defunct City Council have had such plans but failed to implement.

This will ensure value for a customer’s money and also generate more revenue for the county. Currently, Nairobians are charged exorbitantly for parking for fewer hours in Nairobi as the charges are computed per day not hourly.