Nairobi in dire need of a fresh NMS-type entity

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024 10:00 | By
Nairobi skyline from Westlands. PHOTO/Pexels

When he appeared at a public function in Dagoretti South sub-county a fortnight ago, after missing in action for five days since the Embakasi gas explosion at Mradi area in Nairobi’s sprawling Eastlands, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja declared that he was now going to focus on implementing his election manifesto.

After conclusion of his speech, the crowd  started shouting “pombe, pombe, pombe (alcohol,  alcohol, alcohol).”

A surprised Sakaja returned to the podium to loudly ask: “Eti mnataka pombe (do you want alcohol)?”

To which, the people responded: “Hapana. Tunataka upigane na pombe haramu (No. We want you to fight illicit brews).

Sakaja quickly answered: “Sawa sawa. Hata hiyo tutapambana nayo (we will deal with that one too). He has yet to be seen or heard of in Nairobi again since that day.

That brief altercation between Sakaja and the crowd in Dagoretti South underscores the challenge facing Nairobi county.

The capital city is in a deep mess and it is crying out for leadership. Going by the Dagoretti incident, it goes without saying that the leadership of Governor Sakaja has its priorities wrongly aligned from those of his electors.

As  Sakaja took time pledging to implement  his manifesto, the people he was talking to expected him to be addressing alcohol and drugs abuse. But he failed.

Which is why they had to remind him. They were right. Consumption of contaminated liquor and narcotics in Nairobi are at a dangerously high level.

Night clubs litter every corner of city estates, including residential areas and are adjacent to schools, hospitals, churches, temples and mosques.

The same applies to sale and use of narcotics which happens openly, both day and night unabated. That does not seem to bother City Hall which has  adopted a see-no evil, hear-no-evil and say-no-evil attitude.

Alcoholism and drugs abuse are not the only problems afflicting Kenya’s capital city where anything that can go wrong has done so. From garbage dotting every corner of the once City in the Sun to transport, health, water, education, lighting, housing, hawking and pollution. Everything is in a mess.

There are repeated claims that hubris has taken the better side of the Nairobi Governor to a level that Sakaja even snubs phone calls from President William Ruto, his deputy Rigathi Gachagua, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, Cabinet Secretaries and fellow governors.

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna told a Podcast early this week that Sakaja has even snubbed summons to appear before House Committees five times.

It would seem Sakaja has different priorities from those of the city residents. Four more years of mere garrulity would choke Nairobi. But President Ruto can help us get out of this frustrating  situation.

It would help if Ruto were to, in accordance with the law, appoint a replica of what  retired President Uhuru Kenyatta had in the name Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

Though it had its own challenges and seamy side, by the time NMS handed over the reins of administration to Sakaja, there were some positives from the regime of Lt. General Mohammed Abdallah Badi.

Not so for Sakaja. Let us agree that Nairobi is one big mess and Kenya’s capital direly needs an NMS-like entity  to straighten up matters. Urgently. It is imperative.

Another four years of that lackadaisical performance from an intermittently missing Governor is too heavy a burden for the people of Nairobi to trudge on with.

President William Ruto, are you there?

– The writer is the Revise Editor, People Daily –[email protected]

— Story Credit /Email here

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