Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja made good his pre-election promise when his administration purchased new vehicles for the county government’s inspectorate department at the cost of Sh105 million.
Sakaja had expressed concern over the sorry state of the vehicles that the city askaris have been using which are too old and rusty, terming them a risk to the offenders the cars are used to transport as well as to the officials who use them.
“The people you are fighting and chasing are your customers. We must stop bundling people into tetanus-filled contraptions and rust-filled pickups, I will throw them out,” Sakaja said.
He added: “That is not how we serve people. We are still using colonial rules that are still in play in the city, including loitering with intent.”
City residents have raised concerns over the safety of the vehicles used by the county askaris to ferry offenders arrested by enforcement officers during swoops that mainly target hawkers.
Sakaja’s administration has acquired 19 new vans as the process of replacing the rickety pickups begins.
“These vehicles are not for our luxury but are meant to serve the people of Nairobi. Let us serve them well because they are our priority,” Sakaja said when he unveiled the vehicles in the company of other top county government officials.
“I recently heard that one of the old vehicles failed to ignite yet offenders were on board. It is a big shame and I promise to phase them out. You will not see them again,” the governor said.
The governor however retracted his earlier statement that he had invited the scrap metal dealers to tow away the rusty vans once the new vehicles are launched.
“I had promised the scrap metal dealers to come on day one but there are procedures to get them. With time, their value will go up,” he said.
The old vans have been synonymous with inspectorate officers who use them in trying to restore order in the chaotic Central Business District. The vans are also used to ferry street children after swoops.