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January 19, 2019

Jaguar and MCAs differ with Sonko over management of public toilets

Public toilet in the CBD July 10 2018./KENNEDY NJERU
Public toilet in the CBD July 10 2018./KENNEDY NJERU

Starehe MP Charles Njagua and some MCAs want youths to manage public toilets instead of a private firm.

Last Wednesday, Sonko ordered the toilets to be used free of charge and a firm contracted to manage them on behalf of the county.

But Njagua said, “I would have preferred if he would at least consider letting the youth manage public toilets in order to create employment."

He said this would address joblessness and reduce crime in the city. Njagua said groups of about 50 youths had applied to manage the facilities and are still waiting for response from the county government.

Sonko's directive last week wrangles and under-dealing among the toilet operators. He said residents using the facilities are harassed by the wrangling factions.

Later, however, he softened his stance, saying he had no problem with the operators as long as they do their work "professionally and offer good services."

“Those involved in managing the toilets should cease the internal wrangles or else the Nairobi county government will take charge and ensure that no one pays even a single shilling,” read a statement from Sonko's office.

He said the county is investigating claims of squabbling among the operators.

Kariobangi South MCA Robert Mbatia asked the administration to establish how the contracts were awarded to the operators. If it is found they were awarded fraudulently, they should be revoked and the facilities given to youths, he said.

On Friday, the county issued a 48-hour notice to the operators to vacate the facilities but they defied it.

Sammy Karanja, an operator, yesterday said they were legally managing the toilets after a court order barred the county from taking over.

The county said the operators did not have a contract to run the facilities as the interim order issued by the court expired. But Karanja said the order is still in force until the case is concluded.

Speaking during cleanup in Kayole last Saturday, county assembly majority leader Abdi Guyo urged the governor to consider the youth.

In the county assembly, Huruma MCA David Okelo has drafted a motion to have the youths run the facilities.

“The county should identify and establish modalities for allowing youth groups in each ward to run and manage public toilets under supervision of [the] Environment department within a streamlined pay per use framework that encourages efficiency.”

Karen MCA David Mberia is also in support. “We don't know how the current operators got these toilets. We need a transparent way of doing it and the county, if they want to make them free, should [let] youths run them,” he said.

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