Are you a Nairobi city resident? If so, you should take note of these new county by-laws that may soon govern how you live, walk, work, relate and behave in the big city.
You could soon pay heavy fines for spitting on the ground or blowing your nose recklessly. You may find yourself in jail for six months if you, or your dog, defecate or urinate on the streets or any open space. You could also pay a fine not exceeding Sh10,000, or both.
For those who live partly or wholly on proceeds of prostitution, they will be liable to a six month jail term or a Sh10,000 fine, or both, if the proposed legislation by the Nairobi County Assembly becomes law.
These are some of the provisions of the Nairobi City County Public Nuisance Bill 2020, which has already passed the First Reading at the county assembly.
Sponsored by Riruta MCA James Kiriba, the Bill aims to control nuisances in public places.
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If passed, the Bill will replace city council by-laws that have been in place for more than 50 years, and which became obsolete with the advent of county governments. If caught spitting or blowing your nose but not into a suitable cloth or tissue paper, you will be sent to jail for six months or pay a Sh10,000 fine to secure your freedom.
The Bill also seeks to cure the boda boda menace. Riders and motorists would be punished for riding or driving on footpaths. This offence will also attract a Sh10,000 fine or a six-month jail term.
It also puts on notice protestors who light fire on the roads and those who burn garbage or waste by the roadside.
Touting for passengers, hawking, selling, distributing or advertising any article or event on any public road or street while shouting or using any bell, gong, loudspeaker or other noisy instruments, or driving any vehicle for the purpose of exhibiting advertisements without statutory authority, will also be considered a punishable offence if the Bill becomes an Act.
Washing, repairing or dismantling any vehicle on the streets, unless in case of an emergency, will be considered an offence.
Keeping any animal or poultry that is a nuisance to residents has been prohibited. Allowing any animal in any street in the Central Business District will also be punishable.
Having a hedge, tree or other growth that may cause danger to a person or vehicle using a street, or interfere with the view by pedestrians or vehicular traffic will also be considered an offence. Consequently, the County Secretary will serve a notice to the occupier of such land to chop, trim or remove the hedge within a period not less than 14 days.
Playing any game in such a manner as to cause damage to property or cause injury will be a punishable offence.
Moreover, residing or sleeping in any kitchen or room in which food is prepared or stored for sale will attract a fine. Any person who contravenes this provision will be liable, in the case of a first offence, to a fine not exceeding Sh50,000 or to imprisonment to a term not exceeding six months, or both.
“In case of a subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding Sh100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both,” the Bill reads.
The owner of any impounded vehicle, article or material may not recover it until they have paid impounding fee to the county or a towing charge.
The same conviction will also apply to any person who places or leaves his vehicle or material in a street in a manner causing obstruction to persons or vehicles using the street. Any person who breaks up surface of a public street without permission from the county secretary will be considered guilty of an offence.
These regulations will be enforced by the city’s Environment and Public Nuisances Department. The executive in charge of the environment department will have the power to appoint officers through a gazette notice for purposes of enforcing these regulations.
“It will be the responsibility of the department to issue, suspend, revoke licences and permits and monitor the abatement of nuisance within the county,” the Bill reads.