We often bribe county technicians to light up the city, MCAs reveal

Nairobi City County Assembly MCAs during plenary sessions on May 04, 2023. [Samson Wire, Standard]

A section of Nairobi Ward Representatives have revealed how they are often forced to part with cash to bribe City County electricians to fix faulty security lights and mast heads in their wards.

The ward reps exposed this while debating a proposal that seeks to encourage community involvement in the maintenance and expansion of the street lighting programme.

The proposal that was approved on Wednesday evening was tabled by Roysambu MCA Sospeter Mumbi, and is now waiting for the implementation committee to push the Executive for approval.

Mumbi told the house that currently, the entire Nairobi county has only 32 technicians against the required 102.

He added that the current budget for 2023/2024 has set aside Sh378 million against the required Sh450 million for maintenance.

“We don't have a specific vote for new installation which makes it hard to predict how long it will take us to lighten the entire city,” said Mumbi.

The MCAs blamed lack of security lights in some parts of the city for the rise in insecurity and disruption of businesses that are supposed to close late in the evening.

Clay City Ward Rep Mwaura Samora (pictured), while supporting the motion, took time to explain how MCAs entice county technicians to visit the wards to fix faulty security lights.

“Security is paramount not only for our daily conduct of business, but also the well-being of the estate. Apart from making the areas secure, it improves businesses around,” Samora explained.

“Maintaining and installations of security lights in Nairobi is one of the biggest challenges for any elected MCA. From a point of experience, I have a team of technicians that I pay from my pocket to service the lights," he added.

Samora said the technicians should be trained locally, well equipped and enumerated properly so that the problem can be solved.

His Karen counterpart, Anthony Maragu, echoed the sentiments that ward representatives have taken upon themselves to fix broken lights in their areas of jurisdiction.

“We even get the county staff who are mandated to repair broken street lights; as MCAs you must fuel their car, pay them allowance and buy them lunch to visit the ward,” Maragu said.

Kahawa West MCA Clement Kamaru, while challenging the implementation committee to follow up the proposal, said this will be a good avenue to empower youth in the county who are jobless.