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How soft underbellies of Nairobi gubernatorial candidates were exposed
By Nathan Masambu | Updated Jul 12, 2017 at 08:32 EAT
Nairobi gubernatorial aspirants during debate

Nairobi governorship aspirants’ TV debate exposed the soft underbelly of candidates

The Nairobi governorship aspirants’ debate, hosted by Daystar University in collaboration with KTN last week, presented city residents - and the country at large - an opportunity to gauge the abilities and visions of those aspiring to preside over the affairs of Kenya’s metropolis for the next five years. Sadly, as one commentator observed at the end of the debate, the candidates exposed their very “provincial” understanding of how to manage a critical metropolitan county government of Nairobi’s status.

In their contributions, the aspirants seemed to fumble a lot on key issues like management of hawkers, water availability, health facilities and transport network. They failed to address very sticky issues concerning city transport, as critical as it is. Clearly, it appears, time has come for Kenyans to consider establishing a Knowledge Commission from which public institutions may generously draw ideas to run the activities of this country.

Back to the Nairobi governor race debate, each of the four candidates, Dr Evans Kidero, Mike Sonko, Peter Kenneth and Miguna Miguna, attempted to address the issue of hawkers in the CBD. However, none of them provided tangible solutions to decongest the CBD and relocate hawkers. I had hoped the incumbent governor and aspirants would, for example, suggest the development of an underground market (s) in the city for hawkers.

These underground markets would comfortably house hawkers and their clients without interfering with traffic and other businesses..

Unfortunately, a huge airtime was squandered on abuses and scandals. On transport, Mr Miguna had good ideas about creation of subways to unblock perennial traffic jams. Listening to the four gentlemen address the city water supply headache, one would conclude that residents have little hope of witnessing the end of dry taps and water cartels. None of the contestants had an idea on how to rebrand the county to shed its previous Municipal Council of Nairobi image. How about “Nairobi Metropolitan Corporation County.”

Commenting on the debate, Prof PLO Lumumba, observed that the four gentlemen “lost the antelope and instead chased the squirrel and were not decorous.” Nathan Masambu, a communication tutor in Nairobi. 

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