Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What I want

It is now clear that Evans Kidero never had a plan for Nairobi City, Rachel Shebesh will probably never have a plan for Nairobi City, Mike Sonko's plans remain in the Lone Ranger mould, Dennis Waweru's plans can only be understood by Dennis Waweru, Johnson Sakaja's plans are both elitist and asinine, and Miguna Miguna's plans might never see the light of day given his overweening paranoia that "cartels" are fighting him and that "cartels" have hired the likes of yours truly to write scurrilously and defamatorily about Miguna Miguna.

This is what I want for my City.

First, a proper investment programme to rebuild and expand Nairobi City's official markets, including Gikomba, Burma, Kariokor Market, Jericho Market, Umoja Market, City Market, Kenyatta Market, Ngara Market, and City Park Market. The programme should also take into account the old neighbourhood markets such as the ones that came pre-packaged in Buru Buru, Doonholm, Ngumo, Ngei, Langata, Westlands, Komarocks, Emabakasi, Kilimani and Milimani. The programme should forcus especially on expanding capacity so that more stalls are built in order to accommodate the increasing numbers of vendors for whom access into established markets and shopping centres is currently extremely limited. These are not businesspeople who currenty have the capital necessary to take up space in The Hub, Two Rivers, Thika Road Mall, Garden City, Sarit Centre, the Westgate, Galleria, or The Point in Buru Buru.

Second, an infrastructure programme that deals with the problem of public transport and pedestrian walkways. On public transport, we may or may not have overcapacity in PSVs, but we definitely are under-resourced when it comes to where they can park in the business district. The zone between Moi Avenue, Ronald Ngala Street, River Road and the Khoja Mosque Roundabout is overcrowded for the most part of the day by stationary buses, minibuses and fourteen-seat vans because the Central Bust Station can no longer accommodate all the buses, minibuses and fourteen-seat vans that enter the business district every day. The exclusion zone between Uhuru Highway, Harambee Avenue, Moi Avenue and Kenyatta Avenue either has to be opened up or the other zone reserved for the exclusive use of PSVs.

In tandem with the management of PSV traffic in the business district should be a programme to provide for adequate and safe facilities for pedestrian Nairobians, what we call "pavements" in Kenyan parlance. These should not be car-free spaces for motorcycles or bicycles, but spaces for Nairobians who must walk and those who cannot afford public transport. (Yes, there are Nairobians who cannot afford public transport.) These should also be spaces available to Nairobians living with disabilities, especially those who are in wheelchairs or crutches as well as those who are visually impaired and must rely on white-tipped canes.

Third, a programme to professionalise solid waste management. Nairobi City's contract with Creative Consolidated and the awarding of zone-specific contracts for solid waste management (garbage collection) in Nairobi City has not been well-executed. Garbage mounds are a permanent fixture in the City. If Nairobians are to continue to both pay rates and pay private waste handlers, they must get value for their shilling.

Fourth, public safety should also be given priority. Even taking into account that policing is a national government function, it is still possible for the County Government to contribute immensely to the safety of its residents. This includes the rehabilitation of street lights (and not just the erection of floodlights), the proper marking of roads including the erection of proper signs, the proper naming of lanes, the clearing out of drains and sewers, the provision of rubbish bins including large capacity ones to be used as solid waste transfer stations, the trimming of trees and bushes and the enforcement of the traffic rules enforceable by the county government without bias or fear. The county government must break free of the shackles of assuming that public safety only includes safety from criminals or criminal acts but also those things that give people confidence to venture into all parts of the city, especially all parts of business district.

Finally, together with the national government and its ministries, departments and agencies, including with parliament and the National Police Service, the county government must take visible efforts to be inclusive and welcoming and not discriminatory and hostile. This asinine programme of roping off pavements, allowing business premises to use spikes on what are clearly benches and the violence directed at people who sit on flower pots must be jettisoned.

These are just some of the things I'd love my county government to do for me, whether I vote for the governor and his running mate or not. None of the candidates so far or the incumbent have addressed their minds to these things, or if they have, like Miguna Miguna, they're keeping their ideas a closely-guarded secret. I wonder what they will do for me.

1 comment:

mat kabutha said...

Comprehensive. Well done.