Green city in the sun now drowning in filth, disorder

Friday, January 24th, 2020 00:00 |
This woman had to jump over a pothole filling with floodwater on Tom Mboya Street to access the pavement after alighting from a matatu. PD/ Gerald Ithana

“There is no alternative for proper city growth than to be planned. If an unplanned city is built, then its reconstruction; the introduction of planning afterward, is  difficult.

It’s very expensive, it brings social conflicts,” former United Nations Human Settlements Programme executive director, Joan Clos wrote in 2012.

Eight years on, a walk in the streets of Nairobi’s Central Business District and the back lanes of East Africa’s social, political and economic hub resonate well with Clos’ remarks.

Once regarded a ‘Green City in the Sun’, Nairobi has now turned ‘the concrete city in filth’. 

Motorists struggle to negotiate through the potholed Kariokor Roundabout. PD/ Gerald Ithana

From foot-deep potholes to vandalised road furniture coupled with motor and human traffic, Kenya’s capital is slowly losing its glory.

“We are back to the old days when backstreets were breeding grounds for flies and hiding dens for streets families,” a city resident recently remarked, adding that County Government has been unable to address the challenges.

Leadership crisis

As Governor Mike Sonko battles legal actions against him, residents are jumping over potholes now filled with water occasioned by the recent heavy rain.

One would be forgiven for mistaking Taveta Lane for the city’s dumping site as garbage has blocked the lane, making it impassable. PD/ Gerald Ithana

A fortnight ago the County Assembly of Nairobi called for the revival of the City Regeneration Committee to address the leadership crisis that has threatened service delivery.

During a special sitting chaired by Speaker Beatrice Elachi, MCAs agreed to address the crisis occasioned by absence of a governor and the deputy.

In April 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta established the team to transform the city.

Despite the billions of shillings set aside for the work, the situation has remained the same.

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