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Work to improve image of Nairobi

Thursday, May 16th, 2024 06:00 | By
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja. PHOTO/@SakajaJohnson/X

When Johnson Sakaja was campaigning for governor, he promised, among other things, to make Nairobi a city of order, dignity, inclusivity and hope. Unfortunately, the converse is true. Many of his pledges have not materialised.

As mandarins at City Hall fatten their pockets, Nairobi remains a chaotic, dirty city marked by the stench of uncollected garbage, gaping manholes and noise from idling public service vehicles spewing toxic fumes into the air as they wait for passengers.

Residents and visitors are forced to hop over dangerous manholes on streets without lighting. Matatus, boda boda riders and hawkers have made the streets impassable. Walkways are blocked by stubborn sellers who project the attitude that the space belongs to them.

Members of the County Assembly, who are supposed to provide oversight in the running of the devolved government, seem to have joined the gravy train. It has been argued that ward reps are the weak link in the devolution chain because of their bad manners, but governors are not without blemish. And that is the case in Nairobi.

When Sakaja’s youthful team took office, they vowed to make Nairobi great again. But today, the city we were promised under the slogan ‘Let’s make Nairobi work’ is always on the news for the wrong reasons.

In the past few months, the county boss has faced a myriad of allegations touching on misappropriations of public funds. He blames the accusations on disillusioned officials and politicians whose opportunities to influence corrupt deals have been curtailed.

In August last year, the DCI started investigating claims  the county government paid hundreds of millions of shillings to nine companies for supplies and services that were never delivered.  And in early May this year, it was alleged that Sakaja’s administration could not account for Sh144 million in donor funds meant for the school feeding programme called Dishi Na County.

No one needs to be reminded that Nairobi is the capital city of our country that is home to the offices of several important international organisations, including the United Nations Office (UNON), that body’s headquarters in Africa. Sakaja needs to do what he promised before and after the election and work harder to improve the image of the city.

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