Nairobi City County’s huge appetite for levies and other charges without commensurate services is a betrayal of rate and taxpayers.
Not long ago, Governor Mike Sonko surprised everyone by slashing the daily parking fees from Sh300 to Sh200, though the city county can hardly meet its financial needs and provide essential services.
It has, indeed, turned out to have been a short-lived respite. The fee has now been doubled and even more annoying is the unilateral manner in which such crucial decisions are made.
There was absolutely no attempt to explain them. It is the same case with the new rates announced by the parking director.
Motorists will feel terribly short-changed by the leadership. This city parking fees thing is a big racket.
First, there are not enough slots. Secondly, a cartel of security guards has been running its own parallel parking system outside some premises even late into the night after official working hours. They, of course, collect the money for themselves.
Then there are the vicious crooked parking men. Some started out as teenagers and still arrive daily without fail to illegally benefit from a self-assigned service that city askaris should be providing.
Cars get broken into or even vandalised. It is a nightmare for motorists and yet the city county collects parking charges.
Several decades ago, Nairobi had metered bays. Why not today, when technology has made it much easier to pay for the service?
One would not need to slot coins into the machines, but to just key in a number assigned to a parking bay, pay and park one’s vehicle.
Motorists also need not pay for a whole day, when all they need is just a few minutes to pick up something from an office or shop and leave the slot to someone else.
Nairobi deserves a better organised parking system.