Blame governor and his team over Mombasa floods' havoc

A family is assisted in evacuating a flooded home in Bamburi, Mombasa County, in November 2023. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

I am grateful to Veronica Onjoro for her article in The Standard dated Tuesday 9, 2024, in which she voiced concerns about the poor drainage system within parts of Kongowea where livelihoods of thousands of residents are at risk.

Ms Onjoro, like every other Mombasa resident, has a right to be angry. I feel extremely humbled that she has specifically obligated me to pursue urgent corrective action for rehabilitation of drainage systems and garbage collection within the affected area, which is in Nyali Constituency.

As she has rightly documented in the article, residents of Kisumu Ndogo, Mnazi Moja and Shauri Yako villages are yet to fully recover from the devastating effects of the recent El Niño rains, even as the weatherman predicts more downpour in the coming days.

I agree that we, as leaders, have an obligation to spearhead solution mechanisms to challenges facing our people. However, I am disappointed to report that – on this one – somebody specifically slept on his job!

I draw the writer’s attention to the fourth Schedule of the 2010 Constitution which gives the proper breakdown on roles between the national and county governments.

Among the 14 roles assigned to county governments as listed in the schedule is County Public Works and Services, which extensively includes storm water management and water and sanitation services as well as garbage collection.

Under the structure of the Mombasa County Government, these roles are broadly under the County Government Department on Environment and Waste Management which was allocated a whopping Sh787 million, and that of Lands, Planning and Urban Renewal which is projected to receive Sh670 million in the 2023/2024 Financial Year.

We saw little effort by the county government in unclogging and proper maintenance of the drainage systems especially within densely populated neighbourhoods of Kongowea despite the timely warning by the weatherman that the skies were to open soon with heavy downpour! As the area MP, due to the negligence of the county government, I had to mobilise well-wishers and volunteers to help clean up some of the surface drainage systems within Nyali Constituency.

However, clearly these efforts were not enough given the magnitude of the rains and subsequent floods.

The El Niño rains and their devastating impact should be a wake-up call to our governor and his team to swallow their pride and collaborate with the rest of the county leadership, including those of us who are in different political outfits, to work for our people.

Unfortunately, the governor appears not to have learnt lessons. This was evident in November last year when three unskilled workers deployed by his administration to unclog a manhole at Makupa round-about sadly lost their lives. Four others escaped death by a whisker.

I have previously challenged the county government to use engineers and resources at its disposal to fix key critical Mombasa infrastructure but my pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

The El Niño rains are gone, but soon the skies will open again perhaps with even heavier downpour. We must be prepared. 

-Mr Ali is MP for Nyali Constituency


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