It is now official, City Hall is a den of ignorance
Posted Saturday, April 14 2012 at 18:28
The PwC report on the City Council of Nairobi released this past week confirms what many people have known for a long time: City Hall is a den of ignorance.
It has more tea girls and askaris than engineers, fire fighters, accountants and ICT experts. Is it any wonder that disasters are a by-word in this city?
City Hall cannot put out a fire, however close to the Fire Department (Nakumatt Downtown and Kimathi House fires come to mind).
City Hall is clueless about the sewerage system of the city. Or how does one explain the drain blockages and floodings all around Nairobi?
The report says 92 per cent of City Hall workers are semi-skilled or unskilled. They defended themselves saying that they don’t need an education to do manual work.
Cleaning a city is a science. So is garbage disposal, landscaping, sewerage system maintenance, traffic control, urban planning, running social amenities, etc. Is it any wonder Nairobi is in the state it is in?
What became of the plans to decentralise city services through the creation of boroughs mooted almost two decades ago?
Over the years, City Hall has come up with recommendations that I guess are now just part of its dusty past as mayors and town clerks come, see and go.
Town Clerk Philip Kisia is leaving City Hall to vie for the governorship of Nairobi. Please don’t bother.
Mr Kisia had been working for this city long before his appointment to City Hall. What outstanding thing did he achieve during his tenure?
Now he is leaving behind an audit he commissioned and expects someone else to implement it, yet I believe he found several reports there that he didn’t bother to implement.
Knowing City Halls’ destructive party politics, Mr Kisia’s PwC report will amount to nothing more than a farewell gift to suffering Nairobians.
The council structure has reduced Nairobi to the biggest village in Kenya. And I believe the same malaise affects Mombasa.
Mombasa town centre is a picture of decay. It has a veneer of filth and ugliness, and some anti-greenery monster ordered the chopping down of all the mature trees between the Nkurumah Road and Mwembe Tayari roundabouts, leaving ugly tree stumps smack in the middle of town.
If truly, cleanliness is next to godliness, Mombasa is atheist.
As we move into county governments, we need to rethink how our towns are planned and run, and by whom.
Sara Bakata is Chief Sub-Editor, The East African. firstname.lastname@example.org