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September 26, 2018

Long Road To City Tours

Garbage that blocks Nairobi lanes and flanks eating houses,
glue-sniffing street families and collapsing buildings with
desperate residents trapped inside are hardly tourist attractions
Garbage that blocks Nairobi lanes and flanks eating houses, glue-sniffing street families and collapsing buildings with desperate residents trapped inside are hardly tourist attractions

The other day, I watched with dismay a television news item where the Nairobi county executive for tourism (I did not know until then that such a docket existed) announced that the city government would commence city tour circuits for visitors.

The brainwave apparently attacked her after a visit to some exotic European capital where she was taken for one of those memorable city tours and just like former President Daniel arap Moi wanted us to work like bees when he came from a Chinese visit, the idea of city tours was imprinted and had to be implemented immediately, whether the ‘bees’ culture had been ingrained or not.

So ‘ready’ is the city government to commence these tours that two buses are in the process of being ‘pimped’ matatu style and more will be customized as the client base grows. It is however instructive to note that there are private travel companies conducting such tours to the attractive sites in and around the city and known for incompetence and corruption, government arms whether county or national would be hard-pressed to compete.

However the city government could opt to take its clients to areas not covered by these private companies including parts of Eastlands, the backstreets of Nairobi, Nairobi River and these days even the Westlands suburbs. There the tourists would be ‘pleasantly’ staggered by the shoulder deep garbage that block city lanes, heaps of the same on roads and next to eating houses, glue sniffing street families and collapsing buildings with desperate city residents trapped inside among other filthy eyesores. 

Of course the National Construction Authority would have condemned some of these buildings and asked the city government to enforce the demolitions, but once the television cameras are turned off, the two entities would go blind and with the first few floors already occupied, the buildings would continue on their concrete upswing until they come tumbling down. The sight of bulldozers pulling debris from them in the hope of finding the trapped Nairobians dead or alive could be one to behold, but whether this would be a tourist attraction, is debatable.

The other circuit would be the award winning Kidero grass along Uhuru Highway, but that’s not big deal either. It could be humbling for Nairobi to learn a bit of landscaping from such great if less endowed cities as Tel Aviv that grow beautiful flowers and grass along the road on rocky terrain. Growing grass on red soil would be nothing to write home about for most visitors.

Maybe to save face the county has included two circuits outside its borders that include Kiambu where visitors would supposedly see the (vanishing) coffee farming. Kiambu has become the so called dormitory for the city and the expansive coffee farms have now been rapidly replaced by the concrete jungle. The best visitors could learn from Kiambu is how to squabble to the extent where the president of the country would not visit his home country. Kajiado? I thought this was otherwise covered.

 

 

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