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Kenya needs more Badis to transform institutions

OPINION
By Isaac Kalua Green | April 24th 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Mohammed Badi addressing residents after opening new Hospitals in Kayole and Dandora on Friday February 19, 2021.[Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Caesar Augustus, the founder of Rome, uttered these powerful words: ‘I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.’ In essence, this is the task of everyone with authority over a city or an institution.

An institution can only be as successful as its leader. A great leader leaves an institution better than they found it.

Sadly, Nairobi has remained a city of bricks since its founding in 1899. You may agree with me that issues like modern sustainable housing and transport have eluded it.

That is why traffic congestion and the concrete slums that house most city dwellers remain an ever-present reality.

Thankfully, after more than 120 years, some of the city’s bricks are finally being turned into marble, largely because of General Mohammed Badi and his team at the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.

A tailor friend pointed out to me that residents of Kiamaiko in Eastlands are experiencing NMS’s work firsthand.

In Kiamaiko, you will find a brand-new dispensary in the final stages of construction. The dispensary will serve thousands of people.

A few kilometers away in Uthiru, Muthua Uthiru Health Centre is also in the final stages of construction and is poised to provide quality healthcare to thousands.

Fascinatingly, these are not isolated cases since there are dozens of other health centres and dispensaries being established all across Nairobi.

In fact, 24 health facilities have been constructed within six months.

They are mostly located within informal settlements.  

To ensure the health centres do not lack health workers, NMS is now recruiting about 2,000 health workers.

Transport is another sector where the Badi team has turned bricks into marble.

The Green Park Terminus is now ready for business. This terminus looks like a mini-airport terminal right in the heart of CBD.

It will be the drop-off and pick-up point for hundreds of matatus that ply the populous Ngong, Rongai and Langata routes.

This terminus will finally tackle the mayhem and that was the norm at the Railways stage.

I curiously noticed that less than two kilometres away, at Desai and Park Road, another matatu termini has been constructed.

I confirmed that it will cater for matatus that use Thika Superhighway. They include matatus from Ruiru, Kasarani, Kahawa Sukari, Githurai and long distance matatus form central Kenya.

With four other upcoming termini, the end result of this ongoing termini project is that the CBD will drastically be de-congested to the joy of Nairobians.

For the first time in Nairobi’s 122-year old history, pedestrians have also been prioritised.

This has been done by developing Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) infrastructure on Kenyatta Avenue, Muindi Mbingu Street and Wabera Street.

Thanks to the new walkways in these streets, it’s now possible to stroll through Nairobi CBD in a relaxed, safe manner. It looks to me like the Badi Team is still spirited to rolling out more of such walkways.

The development of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) infrastructure along Thika Superhighway is clearly in advanced stages. BRT will create bus lanes that will guarantee a dedicated right of way for public buses.

This will make public buses preferable to motorists. Cities like Ottawa in Canada and Stockholm in Sweden have been using BRT for decades now, so it’s about time Nairobi followed suit.

Within twelve months, NMS is steadily transforming Nairobi from a City of Bricks to a City of Marble.

Even though they continue to smile in the dark, the evidence speaks for itself so much that I urge President Uhuru to fish out more such trailblazers as General Badi to transform our institutions.

Think green, act green!

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