The government has pumped in Sh28 billion into the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) at a time when service delivery in the city is at its lowest. Already, there are some signs of change as far as physical infrastructure is concerned in the nation’s capital.
Pavements within the CBD are being refurbished and roads which have remained dilapidated for decades are getting a retouch. While this is welcome, we remind the head of NMS, that Nairobi City is a different playground. This is the eye of Kenya and actions to improve it must be deliberate and targeted.
One of the major reasons why Nairobi’s growth has been inhibited through subsequent councils and county governments are bad politics and corruption. It would come as no surprise that cartels are already salivating for the funds pumped into NMS coffers; something Major-General Mohamed Badi, the NMS boss, must be ready to face. Apart from the roads and aesthetics being worked on in the CBD, there is a bigger rot in the estates.
Physical planning has gone haywire and the spread of informal settlements is unprecedented. This has come with poor service delivery like failure to provide sanitation services. Raw sewage is a problem residents have to contend with daily. And while at it, it would help to remember these informal settlements and the politics around them have been the biggest impediment to cleaning of rivers that flow through the city.
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Solid waste is a common feature in several estates within the city and its environs. It is an area where cartels have maintained a choke-hold, leaving residents without the ability to breath in fresh air.
It is a shame that city residents can go without water months on end. Badi must crack the whip on cartels that continue to hoard this crucial commodity only to sell it at a premium.
We also remind the head of NMS that healthcare is a critical service he must focus on, one that governors of the city have never really managed. He must desist from resorting to photo-ops and public relation stunts to be seen to be working; after-all, is he not a military man and has been taught to carry out functions with precision in a timely manner?
Nairobi deserves to be counted among the best cities to live in in Africa. It can be done, and with the new team at the helm, city residents will demand more accountability and services. Finally, that NMS is directly under the Office of the President, means if it fails, the Presidency will have failed Kenyans in Nairobi.