Kilifi governor Gideon Mung'aro has sacked the Malindi Municipality Board for failing to collect garbage.
A spot check in Malindi and Watamu towns reveals heaps of garbage from which nauseating stench is emanating making life hard for residents and traders.
The governor's decision to dissolve the board was in response to a public outcry over mushrooming of illegal dumpsites in the tourist towns of Malindi and Watamu, a problem residents have had to grapple with for many years.
“The Malindi Municipality board has not been able to discharge duties and fulfil its mandate of service delivery to the people therefore by the powers vested in me pursuant to section 18(2A) of the Urban Areas and Cities Act, I hereby revoke the appointment of the following board members of the Malindi Municipality,” he said.
Board members who have been shown the door are chairman Geoffery Katsole, and members Benjamin Sholo, Johnson Thoya, Rose Dama, Shehe Abdala, and Betty Munga.
Mung’aro said their appointment has been revoked with immediate effect due to gross misconduct and ordered them to surrender all government properties and documents in their custody to the chief officer for housing and urban development.
“The municipality plays a critical role in promotion, regulation and provision of refuse collection and solid waste management services as well as promoting and providing water and sanitation services and infrastructure in the areas within the municipality,” the governor said.
He noted that the board is the supreme organ of the municipality and is mandated to oversee the general affairs of the municipality.
Traders who spoke to the Standard on Thursday said garbage has not been collected in Malindi town for the last three months.
The functions of a board of a municipality or city, according to Section 20 of the Urban Areas and Cities Act of 2021, are overseeing the affairs of the city or municipality, development and adoption of policies, plans, strategies and programmes, and formulation and implementation of integrated development plans as well as control land use.
The boards may also be required to collect rates, taxes, levies, duties, fees and surcharges on fees, promote a safe and healthy environment, and facilitate and regulate public transport.
Mrs Amina Shali, a property developer in Malindi, said her tenants have been forced to vacate due to the stench emanating from the garbage outside her home.
Mrs Barke Zuberi, a resident, said the garbage may lead to serious health and environmental problems if not collected.
Members of the local county assembly, led by the majority leader Ibrahim Matumbo, Shella MCA Twahir Abdulkarim and nominated MCA Sophia Abdulahi, had urged the governor to sack the board failure to which they would lead protests in the two towns to push for the board's removal.
“The only solution to this problem is to ask His Excellency the Governor to disband the municipal board. They have failed in their job. They have not been able to clean the towns,” said Mr Matumbo, who is also the MCA for Watamu.
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After sacking the board, Mung'aro forwarded a list of new board members to the county assembly for approval. The list includes Suleiman Omar who is expected to serve as acting board chairman, and Clara Mkambe, and Agnes Muturi, who will be members.
Mung’aro said he will also nominate four other members who will go through a competitive appointment process.
“My administration is committed to ensuring effective, efficient and timely service delivery in our municipalities for the benefit of the people of Kilifi,” he said.
The governor also ordered heads of housing and environment departments to ensure the illegal dumpsites in Malindi are eliminated.
In future, Mung'aro said, his administration plans to move the Malindi dumpsite and the slaughterhouse away from the Central Business District.
Mung’aro also dismissed Malindi municipal manager Assad Sheyumbe. Johnson Mwabati will replace Sheyumbe in an acting capacity. The new municipal manager’s immediate task, according to Mung'aro, will be to make sure Malindi town was clean as possible.