The special team formed and mandated by President Uhuru Kenyatta to regenerate and re-image the country’s chief metropolis has had some welcome impact.
The directive followed realisation that Nairobi was saddled by challenges that progressively degraded its status and capacity to deliver service to residents and visitors. Today, there is something to write home about, especially improved roads network and upscaled attention to infrastructure.
Large swathes of Nairobi’s Eastlands were sinking into dingy, crime-infested, barely-lit neighbourhoods as informal settlements and unauthorised extensions to housing units mushroomed.
When Deputy President William Ruto visited the area at the weekend, he revisited the pledge made by the President slightly over a year ago that priority in roads rehabilitation would be given to Eastlands. That something is happening on the ground with street lights and refurbished walking paths in place is a statement of pledge fulfilled.
However, the city’s demographic dynamics with its five million residents change relentlessly. It is the challenge the regeneration team, in coordination with City County government, must constantly keep pace with, if they are to deliver on key services.
Provision of basic urban services—housing, water, transport, sanitation, security, order and planning—remain valid expectations of residents. Nairobi, unfortunately, still reels under weight of garbage and other deeds fuelled by impunity. Efforts to tackle traffic gridlock, specifically within the central business district, for example is proving impossible.
True, the rot has been piling up over decades and may not be corrected within one year. But that notwithstanding, residents want to see faster results in restoration of order, enforcement and compliance with standards.
There should be no letup in the current efforts to check boda boda menace within the CBD.
Much has been said about Governor Mike Sonko’s abrasive and unconventional approach dogged by assortment of controversies, but these notwithstanding, what residents want is service delivery.
One can not talk security and order without mentioning the influx of street families, who are linked to insecurity in the CBD.