- Before the NMS took over some of county functions, the central business district was an eyesore.
- Slowly, we have seen a change and more is being done with the same budget that Sonko controlled when the functions were still under City Hall.
Of late, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko seems preoccupied with insults instead of service delivery. Sonko came into office with a promise to deliver services but many would be at pains to pinpoint what he has delivered since taking office in 2017.
Over the years, there have been calls to revert Nairobi county to the control of the national government because Sonko and his government have failed. Those of this view have argued that Nairobi is too important to be left to a county government.
In the seven years since the advent of devolution, the Nairobi government has not only failed to offer essential services but has also been plunged into chaos and fights between the county executive and county assembly. Sonko’s administration has been the greatest disappointment, failing to offer even the simplest of services.
By the end of last year, Kenyans were in agreement that Nairobi needed to be protected to project unity. Like other nations’ capitals, Nairobi is linked to the state as a whole and is the first city one thinks of at the mention of Kenya.
On March 18, President Uhuru Kenyatta, while commissioning the Nairobi Metropolitan Services, said residents required efficient and quality services and reminded city leaders that service delivery is not a favour to citizens. Besides prioritisation of regeneration projects, the President tasked the NMS team led by Maj Gen Mohamed Badi to end corruption and dismantle cartels, which are a major hindrance to service delivery.
Since the NMS started to work and deliver, the governor has focused on attacking Badi, Uhuru, and anyone else who is working towards a better Nairobi. Yet, for the first time in seven years, one can see a difference in Nairobi, thanks to the NMS.
The governor’s Facebook page would be mistaken for that of a juvenile whose only focus is to trash the work of others. Nairobi is the nation’s capital and seat of power, but Sonko’s posts do not reflect this stature.
Before the NMS took over some of the county’s functions, the central business district was an eyesore with potholed roads and open manholes on pedestrian walks. So many other things were amiss – most traffic lights were dead, so were street lights – the CBD was just chaotic.
Slowly, we have seen a change and more is being done with the same budget that Sonko controlled when the functions were still under City Hall. As we speak, at least three new bus parks are being completed in the periphery of the CBD to help deal with traffic congestion.
The NMS has also partnered with Kenya Railways to give Nairobi a reliable and safe commuter railway and BRT system. Residents are saying good things about this system as it is saving them not only time but also money.
The NMS is working on garbage management as well as rehabilitating the water and sewerage system. For the first time in years, informal settlements such as Mukuru kwa Reuben have paved roads that are well lit at night.
Working with the national government, the NMS has ensured that residents get title deeds for the land they own in and around the city. Just recently, the NMS gave promotions to a number of health officers.
The NMS has a good plan for Nairobi and instead of always fighting it, Sonko should look for ways to work with Badi to ensure that he at least earns the respect and confidence of those who voted for him in 2017.