Memo: Governor Sakaja ‘Lazima Uwork’

Our memo will probably rub some people the wrong way but it is important that we issue it because it touches on Nairobi City County which is by far the most important devolved unit in the country.

It is the seat of power, the centre of diplomatic operations and the economic capital of the nation, so if this memo rubs you the wrong way, well, just suck it up, it is nothing personal.

Parts of the capital, like many others, are swimming in the dirty waters of flooding after a brief downpour not too long ago.

The recent rains have exposed the city’s soft underbelly, and the effects of poor drainage and planning are evident in many places.

In the Eastlands area of the city, entire stretches of road were flooded over the weekend. Many unfortunate families and businessmen did not know what good night meant as floodwaters inundated their homes and businesses.

In the upmarket areas of Kilimani and Kileleshwa, the folly of unregulated high-rise development is finally being exposed as the drainage infrastructure can no longer withstand the pressure of what some have described as recklessness.

And so we alert the authorities that Nairobi is crying out for help, telling us that enough is enough, that it is unconscionable that whole sections of Nairobi and its suburbs are rendered inaccessible when it rains, and even more unconscionable that year after year the governing class promises the same thing, a dignified way of life.

But even in the midst of all this chaos, we must be clear that Nairobi’s problems are bigger than its current governor, Johnson Sakaja; they stem from decades of mismanagement and wanton looting of the city.

But even though these problems predate Mr Sakaja, he must now own them and lead everyone in the right direction, after all he came to power on the promise of freeing the city from the yoke of the cartels that had looted it to the ground, he promised a new chapter, a new awakening, in fact and I quote he said ‘lazima iwork’ and the majority of voters in the capital believed him.

Now it is up to him and the national government to save the capital from impending disaster, Governor Sakaja ‘lazima uwork’.

It is commendable that City Hall has embarked on a cabro paving programme in the city’s backstreets and alleyways, and we were pleased to see workers lining some streets with trees and flowers in the rainy season, but it is not enough. Nairobi needs strict planning, visionary leadership, stringent management of its resources and rigorous administrative policies.

The time for blame and finger pointing is over, everyone needs to stand up together and save this great city from the dumps, the citizens of this great capital also need to do their part and stop the bad habits that jeopardise the functionality of the capital, littering activities that compromise infrastructure and a list of other activities…and that is the memo.

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