A hundred days into Governor Mike Sonko’s reign, the city is still undergoing slow transformation.
Sonko took over as the city’s second governor riding on a wave of promises and disaffection with Evans Kidero’s administration.
In an ambitious manifesto, the governor and his deputy, Polycarp Igathe, in June formulated a seven-point plan that was meant to ‘cure’ the ailing city.
However, three months later there has been little change in the fortunes of the city.
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Key on Sonko’s agenda was the altering of the finance bill to translate to reduction of parking fees to half, from the current Sh300. The scrapping of fees for smallscale traders, reduction of licensing fees for medium and large-scale traders, as well as ensuring free medical cover for slum dwellers were also among his priorities.
On traffic congestion, the governor was keen on using technology by introducing a county traffic control command centre, which would use the CCTV infrastructure installed by the national government to direct traffic marshals on the road in his plans to ease traffic jams. In the housing sector, Sonko pledged to develop a plan for affordable housing to ensure low-cost housing for the poor, particularly those living in slums across the county.
In October, Governor Sonko achieved one of his pledges after he scraped licence fees for mama mbogas. The fees which amounted to Sh30 daily were banned.
A reduction in parking fees has, however, yet to be witnessed, with motorists still grappling with the payment of Sh300 as opposed to Sh150 as was the case before former governor Kidero assumed office.
Hawkers are here
“I am now the governor with a majority of members of county assembly. I will see to it the law is amended to reduce the fees by 30 per cent,” Sonko said on many occasions when he addressed the issue.
However, the finance bill has yet to be discussed by the MCAs. The plan to have a medical scheme for slum dwellers who cannot afford the NHIF rates is also on hold without any word from the governor. The increase of hawkers on the streets paints a different picture from the governor’s promises.
In his own defence, Governor Sonko said his department had come up with a plan to move the hawkers to backstreets and in markets. However, even this has yet to be actualised.
“My office has a comprehensive plan to ensure hawkers’ interests are taken care of,” he said, adding that he wanted to make sure their removal was done in a humane manner.
Traffic congestion has continued to be the order of the day despite a promise that the city would be decongested in 100 days. Efforts to relocate matatu pick up and drop off points outside the CBD put Sonko at loggerheads with the operators, leading to the collapse of his intentions.
Heaps of garbage are common in the estates and the CBD. On garbage collection, there has however been progress following the launch of the ‘Ngarisha Jiji’ initiative that has seen garbage collection decentralised to ward level.
Deputy Governor Igathe acknowledged that there was slow progress in implementing the promises, especially in garbage collection.
“We started by entrusting the job to the people who were doing it before. They have disappointed us,” he said during a television interview last week.