Sonko should salvage Nairobi or resign

Tuesday October 08 2019

I believe Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko is aware that he is the only county boss without a deputy for the longest time. His advisers could be busy pocketing allowances and telling him what he wants to hear and not what he needs to know.

Nairobi residents are an angry lot; they feel cheated and used. Some compare the current administration with the previous one and feel the latter was better managed.


The governor may not have been informed of the wrath of council askaris, loathfully called “kanju”, on innocent Kenyans on Nairobi streets. Does he know that pickpockets, muggers and robbers are back in their numbers? And that they ply their criminal enterprises undeterred as kanju chase after boda-boda riders and hawkers?

Give kanju basic information collection training and, with increased intelligence sharing between the county security teams, residents and police, can aid in tackling crime waves.

Legislation based on outdated and inappropriate models, such as the UK’s 1947 Town and Country Planning Act, was routinely used to carry out mass evictions and demolitions in informal settlements in Kenya.


It’s critical that a new master plan for Nairobi City, incorporating emerging trends like globalisation, rural-urban migration, climate change, new technologies, expanded trade and movement of people.


It appears that the city’s matatu industry makes its own laws and enforces them. The government had planned dedicated lanes for bus rapid transit but the idea died a natural death. Let Sonko hold a consultative meeting with all matatu owners, national government, experts and other key stakeholders to explore the best-practice approach in handling the matatu menace.

It’s now common to find beggars, especially with disability, on city streets. Estates have not been spared either. There’s a general feeling of a foreign beggar invasion.

Interestingly, almost all of them appear to come from one neighbouring country, raising the possibility of a major human trafficking syndicate and national security concern.


Most city dwellers, either in the CBD or estates, opine that the city is filthy. The Nation recently ran a series on how toxic waste ends up on the dinner table via contaminated fruits and vegetable. Surface drainage is also wanting with floods every rainy season.

The governor should hold a multi-sectorial forum with the relevant agencies and organisations with the sole aim of instituting the best international practice and approaches in handling urban waste management and drainage systems.

Recently, a classroom block at a primary school in Dagoretti collapsed, killing eight children. Over the years, residential flats have collapsed, killing many people. The owners have been charged with criminal negligent but the city planning office, which is said to be very corrupt, carries the most blame.


Sonko must allocate more funds to the health docket for recruitment, training, motivating and maintaining personnel and purchase of medicines and equipment for the public health facilities.

Lastly, he must take advantage of the ‘handshake’ and hire a deputy immediately. The nominee shouldn’t necessarily be his bosom buddy. He ought to cast the net wider to include technocrats, even from the opposition.

In case he has run out of options, Sonko should resign.

Mr Lusiola is a security consultant and PhD student. [email protected]