The Governor of Nairobi City County is a failure. His predecessor was a failure. Their predecessors in the City Council of Nairobi were failures. Their failures are reflected in the impossible-to-manage mountains of garbage, the impossible-to-repair potholes, the death-dealing public transport sector, and the rising homelessness that leads to the expansion of the now-permanent "informal settlements". Nairobi's governments have been failing for as long as we can remember. The current Governor, promises and social media campaigns notwithstanding, is not its saviour. He is just another politician with a slick tongue, fate wallets and the imagination of a stone.
It wouldn't be so bad if the Governor at least understood what governing was about. He does not. His social media accounts are a snapshot of the capriciousness of his management style and the total lack of an understanding of planning as a tool of effective management. His government's executive committee is made up of insider-dealers and well-connected civil society activists whose understanding of planning is limited to private for-profit business affairs or limited social welfare campaigns financed from foreign sources. None of them has experience managing an unruly city like Nairobi is, with a deficit-plagued budget, an ungrateful population, and structural problems that have metastacised over decades.
Niairobi's City Fathers are led by the Governor. In order for his leadership to bear fruit for the residents of the city, he must pay close attention to the fundamentals of planning. It isn't enough for him to hire the right people to undertake the planning function for him, he must understand what the planning is intended to do, how it will do it, how much it will cost, and how long it will take. He must understand the need to prioritise specific planning needs over others, and how to ameliorate the suffering of millions of his residents while keeping costs down, improving revenue collection, attracting investors (both large and small), providing better social services and all this while improving the safety of his residents. Gimmicks like pothole-repairing equipment or militias masquerading as "free" water providers are not it.
So long as the Governor has a badly-resourced, badly-managed, badly-led planning department, his failures will continue to exacerbate our suffering. Potholes will mushroom. Flooded roads will continue to plague even "international standard" highways. Sewers will continue to block and drains will continue to overflow. I am afraid, though, that this Governor is not smart enough to know that he doesn't know how to govern. I am afraid that so long as he is a social media champion poster, he never will.