In 2010, we celebrated the birth of a new constitution.There was anticipation of decentralisation of power from Nairobi to the counties through devolution. It was a significant achievement that involved making critical decisions affecting Kenyans at the grassroots without their input. With the new system of governance, county governments were expected to come up with localised initiatives to address the needs of the people.
The idea of devolution has worked in some ways but unfortunately, recent stories coming through the media have done little to inspire some of us. In one of the counties, a raft of new laws has made it an expensive affair to die and be buried in the county if you were not born there. Partying will too become more expensive since slaughtering any livestock will attract new levies. What I would love to see is the new 'livestock officers' who would go around the county counting chickens, goats and cows every week to check if any were slaughtered, for the appropriate levies to be imposed.
The 'devolution madness' is evidently spreading many counties. In another county to the north, the residents reportedly went on rampage, sending away employees of a company involved in oil exploration. Their grievance being that they have been sidelined in employment. There is a looming serious balkanisation of the country if some of the counties have their way.
With this in mind, perhaps those of us who were born and bred in Nairobi County should come up with our own laws to ensure that our interests are factored. I am not talking about the existing by-laws that for instance prohibit acts considered to violate public decency, but radical new laws that will change the course of the county. Here are a few of my suggestions;
People who call Nairobi their home and live in the city to eke a living will be required to leave a share of their income in the county for its development. We are targeting everyone here, even those who are in the flesh trade and who occasionally dash out of the capital to make a killing elsewhere. For instance, they often descend on a town like Kericho and Murang’a after farmers are paid their annual bonuses. The situation is no different when a ship, full of tourists from different countries berths at the Kenyan Coast.
These folks are fed by the city of Nairobi and when they go out there, they represent us. Therefore, we need some return on the investment we make in them. They benefit from the city's infrastructure alongside the 'training' they get to be the best in their profession. Their financial input will go a long way in ensuring that the next generation of 'workers' are able learn and cherish their trade.
For this to happen, we must employ 'flesh officers' who would follow up on the ladies (and gents) as they move about to ensure they follow the law by paying their part of the bargain. Payment in kind will not be accepted.
Nairobi is a big city and we all recognise that crime is something that affects many of our residents. Everyone is worried about their safety and do everything in their power to ensure that they are safe together with their properties. Some call for tough measures from law enforcement agencies that see the bad guys get stiffer sentences. However, the security situation is still dire and preachers have come to the realisation that the blood of Jesus might indeed not be enough protection. They have consequently requested for firearms like AK47s for their maximum protection.
The solution to crime is not more firearms. An effective deterrence to crime should involve innovative punishments, so unconventional that people considering crime as a legitimate enterprise would not entertain the thought. For instance, culprits of theft and corruption could be forced to sit in a room with certain lawyers and Judicial Service Commissioner Ahmednasir Abdullahi. As he looks over his glasses, Ahmednasir would lecture them on the magnitude of their crime and why their actions amount to constitutional violation. Actually, this punishment should be for the most serious crime in the land, murder and not theft. Known thieves will only have to sit in a room and listen to lectures from the labour boss Francis Atwoli about how crime is affecting the 'wakas.' With these and other such punishments like community service and 500 hours of carrying the hat rack of Orie Rogo Manduli, a drastic decrease in crime rate will be recorded.
Venue Review: Eden’s Pot Restaurant, Ralph Bunch Road
I should really stop buying snacks off the streets of Nairobi. Walking around, one can get the smoky sausages or samosas at relatively low prices; anything between Sh5 and Sh40 depending on the location of the street. Having this price in one’s mind is not ideal when shopping for the same in restaurants sometimes. Take for instance this Saturday evening when I was checking out what is turning out to be one of Nairobi’s hottest new places, Eden’s Pot. I asked a friendly waiter to serve me some samosas. They came in threes, but the Sh300 price nearly gave me a heart attack. While this may seem like a decent price, it can be quite trauma inducing for the man on the street. Less painful to the wallet was the cold Tusker that came with the samosas. It was retailing at Sh200. This is not too bad if you consider the changes in the price of booze brewers have made as well as the general rise in the cost for public drinking.
The decor at this place is excellent with clean modern lines and white being the dominant colour scheme. There aren’t many places in this town with large open spaces but this place is just one of them. This is probably why Eden’s Pot is at the centre of numerous activities like karaoke and live events such as concerts and cocktails.
The vast majority of frequenters to this place are between their late twenties and early forties. They are a mixture of male and female urban professionals looking for a good time and by the looks of things, they surely get what they come for. A DJ who was pumping out popular music over the conversations going on was positioned at one section of the restaurant. For those who might be averse to music as they converse with their friends, a small section that resembles a balcony and an open space outside the restaurant are available to address their concerns.
The evening was chilly and fortunately, some fire was availed for us to continue the banter with my friends uninterrupted.
So, were the samosas worth the price? They actually were. It’s my street food fetish that was affecting my reasoning on that one. A quick recap of the venue;
Good: Convenient location, decent service, disability access, clean wash rooms, great decor.
Bad: Escape in an emergency would not be easy especially when people are wheelchair bound.
My verdict: A place to wind down and have a conversation with good friends after a hard day on the grind. Also ideal as a place for live events.