Home / Business / Nairobi Not Getting City Policies Right

Nairobi Not Getting City Policies Right

Mind Boggling Story About the City in the Sun!
As much as one may believe that Nairobi is a city in the sun, metropolitan and attractive to some of the world important events, it is also realistic to say that it is one of the most chaotic, disorganized and risky urban set-ups for businesses. Why is it that Nairobi government is not getting it right on urban policies? Why is it that there are many hawkers and informal vendors everywhere in the streets? Why is it that the transport sector is always chaotic and very disorganized? Why is it that only some parts of the city look orderly and well maintained? What is the main problem affecting the city? This blog story is ready to reveal some of the underlying problems facing Nairobi and, likewise, many other developing urban sectors in Kenya today.
First and foremost, good governance is a big problem in Nairobi. For instance, residents remit taxes but there is little service delivered. The law enforcers are too reluctant to carry out their duties. Political leadership is corrupt and not ready to do the right thing. And, no proper city plan in place. Socio-political set-up of the urban life is also another factor that must be considered in this narrative. The socio-economic dimension explains that most of the city dwellers are mainly relying on carrying out businesses to survive. The majority do not have stable income and must rely on casual business such as hawking. Such are the majority of the city dwellers. Socio-political explanation is that such majority with precarious source of income are also the potential voters and politicians need them to gain power. Socio-cultural dimension is that Nairobi is a multi-cultural set up with persons from all walks of life. Making them do things in the same way is difficult but not impossible. Remember that law makers and decision makers are politically elected. The constitution has put all leadership positions to be elective. That means efforts to streamline the sector using the law and policies would be political suicide. Any leader who tends to be authoritative and geared towards putting law and order in the city will pay the political price. Crowds of such vendors will gang around his or her office calling for his or her resignation. Who can dare them? The Governor, Dr. Evans Kidero has tried severally to bring law and order in the matatu sector but he has failed badly. The National Transport Authority has tried to tame the transport sector but powers from above have thwarted their good effort and the lawlessness is back to the city. Street vendors are now occupying even walk paths, spaces for vehicles causing serious traffic jam and disorder.
Nairobi government is still not getting law and policies right. The problem lies with many factors. First, the populace of Nairobi has a bargain power due to electoral power it has on the leadership. Whoever imposes the law and rules is subjected to criticism. Corrupt leaders have sold out public spaces leaving only little space for projects such as city markets. It is now difficult for the government to re-acquire the grabbed spaces. It is difficult to come up with a working city plan in a set-up that is highly political.
However still, one can argue that President Kagame manages Kigali very well. At least, law and order is feasible in Rwanda than in Kenya. The reason is that Kenya puts politics in every sector of development. There is nowhere without politics. Second, Kenyans have gone too far with land grabbing and divisive politics. This makes it hard to blame it all on good governance and bad leadership. It is blamed on the choices we make. Each person is responsible for the mess Nairobi is going through today. Other major cities in Kenya are faced with more-or-less similar problem. Exceptions are few and counted. The government of Machakos emerges as the best county with functioning administration but it is not free from divisive politics. The Governor, Doctor Alfred Mutua has been fought severally by his political rivals despite the visibility of his efforts. This is a sign that some political leadership benefit from chaos, division and confusion. Dr. Kidero, the Governor of Nairobi will do practically too little to bring sanity in the city. It is not because he is incapable. It is because some political big wigs are determined to ensure that he does not succeed. This is the fact on the ground. Such leaders are surrounded by Mafia like teams that want to benefit from their leadership at all cost. Tenders must be awarded to political cronies and those who might have influenced the process during the campaign. Kenyan leaders are held captives by such well connected and powerful mafia.
Garbage collection and disposal in the cities is a problem meanwhile sanitation and water are perennial problems haunting the cities. It is all because of mafia like powers that work hard to ensure that nothing works out. Such mafia are also the landlords and very well connected with powers. How can law and order be considered to work in such scenario? It is sad to say so, the privatization of public sectors has been the cause of this mess. The government lost its control when the previous governments endorsed privatization… it is like, the government is left to make the laws that cannot be enforced.
Read us, like us, follow us…be the first to comment.

About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *