Clogged drainages, bursting sewers, open manholes and overcrowding have combined to create a permanent state of chaos in Nairobi. MCAs are doing little to give value to money paid as salaries and allowances by taxpayers
Just before he hosted the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) heads of state summit in Kampala in 1975, Uganda’s dictator Idi Amin tried to get rid of beggars and hawkers from the streets of Kampala. Idi Amin was anxious to have a clean and orderly city when his VIP guests arrived for the three-day conference.
This was also a moment of “glory” for the dictator as he would become chairman of the then influential OAU! Idi Amin decided allegedly convinced the beggars to board lorries allegedly taking them to comfortable houses full of free food.
Many fell for the wicked plan! Amin was one of Africa’s most brutal rulers of the 1970s and he proved it. He had no qualms dropping unsuspecting beggars into the waiting jaws of crocodiles at the Owen Falls dam in Jinja! Amin’s guests were later surprised at the clean streets and absence of beggars or hawkers and loudly asked him how? The chest-thumping dictator declared he had made Ugandans “rich” and nobody was poor!
The dictator was crowned OAU chairman and the rest is history. Several decades later the military head of Nairobi’s county government may not have such draconian plans.
In this day and age of democratic governments with civil liberties, such excesses belong to the dark ages! But the concern is growing over the disorderly state in Nairobi, a city that never sleeps thanks to the lifting of the night curfew. The night economy is booming but where are law and order? There is growing concern that the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) under General Badhi with a “Saddam” moustache needs to style up as the city is going to the dogs.
Clogged drainages, bursting sewers, open manholes and overcrowding have combined to create a permanent state of chaos in Nairobi. MCAs are doing little to give value to money paid as salaries and allowances by taxpayers. Trucks of county askaris spend most of their time chasing hawkers for bribes with every street required to pay “protection fees” or face dire consequences.
The askaris and police have become like road tolls picking money at every turn and giving little service. What would Amin have done if he were to call the shots in Nairobi today? Not take beggars to hell but adopt tough measures like Kigali in Rwanda to make it clean and orderly. That is not asking for too much, many disturbed residents say.
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