Tuesday, May 03, 2016

What a failure

The deaths of scores of Kenyans during Labour Day weekend are more proof, if any more were needed, that the County Government of Nairobi City County is utterly without merit and it should resign office. Immediately! The impotence of the Governor and his underlings in the face of rife violations of the building code have shredded the last vestiges of confidence anyone had in the county government. They are small people with small people's mindsets: that it is always someone else' fault.

Of course Mr Kidero's government is not the only public institution that is culpable in the deaths of those Kenyans; the National Construction Authority has proven singularly incapable of doing anything more than collect fat fees from licenses and permits without justifying its continued existence. But Mr Kidero's government has the singular responsibility of overseeing - and policing - the building construction industry in Nairobi City. It has not done that - not by a long shot. Instead, Nairobians are intimately familiar with the parasitic tendencies of the Kanjo - the city county government's inspectorate department - whenever it comes around to "inspect" ongoing construction. "Inspection" involves nothing more than a cursory once-over and an extortionate demand for a backhander.

Mr Kidero made many promises before he was elected Nairobi's governor. No one seriously thought that he would be able to build the tram system he spoke so eloquently about or purchase the Rapid Mass Transit buses he thought necessary for sorting out Nairobi's notoriously chaotic public transport. Nairobians believed him, though, when he promised that his superior managerial skills would be used to streamline governance and oversight in the City. None of his promises have come to pass. None. And that wouldn't be so bad if his failures didn't result in multiple deaths. But they do and so it is time to reconsider whether or not he is of any use to us.

In his own words, the county government has inspected thousands of buildings in Nairobi and condemned many of them to be demolished because they didn't comply with the barest of the city's standards. The ill-fated Huruma building was one of those condemned by Mr Kidero's government. It therefore begs the question: why was it still standing and occupied by scores of Kenyans? Was Mr Kidero's inspection of non-compliant buildings a PR stunt meant to sooth frayed nerves after other high profile building collapses? Is Mr Kidero incapable of enforcing the laws his government has enacted? When Mr Kidero's government failed to remove the garbage from our streets and allowed the matatu and boda boda sectors to walk all over him, we should have known that he was not the governor who was going to demolish unsafe buildings.

Mr Kidero may not be criminally culpable for the deaths of the scores of Huruma, but he is definitely responsible for those deaths. It is his government, they are his building inspectors. The NCA maybe a rapacious fee-collector, but it is Mr Kidero's government that is responsible for the safety of the people of Nairobi. It has failed, and with that failure scores of Nairobiana are dead or missing. Mr Kidero has failed. He will not resign. It is time we taught him a lesson about responsibility.

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