First of all, let me say that the new Constitution of Kenya allows me or anyone else for that matter to picket and so I will exercise that right and protest against the City Council of Nairobi.
The council is at it once again… more than doubling fees for on-street parking.
From next Monday, city motorists will be required to part with Sh300 every single day to enjoy (lol) NCC services up from the current Sh140.
And the reason given is to redevelop the infrastructure and cater for the increased salaries of their employees (ghost workers, I guess).
Last year, the council increased the parking fees from Sh70 to Sh140 and the reason given was to decongest the city…what a clever way of doing things!
If I can evaluate what has happened since then, the council has not succeeded in any way in decongesting the city. Instead, the traffic is still insane, probably worse than it was then and securing parking within the Central Business District is a nightmare for any motorist.
And when finally you get one, you have to part with at least Sh100 to self proclaimed "parking vendors" in full view of council attendants in addition to the current Sh140 that you remit to the council.
If you do not, be sure to find a side mirror or indicator lights missing when you make your way from the office in the evening.
Now that the council rate will be Sh300, I can bet that the "parking vendors" will make you part with almost half that to secure a spot.
Which average earning Kenyan who wants to lead a decent life free of the insanity that characterises the public transport system will afford this?
And even if they did, what assurance on safety and access can the city council give? This should be a give and take – it should not seem like the council is just doing a favour to the motorists and Nairobi residents in general. It is within our rights to demand accountability. Nothing changed when the fees increased from Sh70 to Sh140. I bet NOTHING will change from Monday.
The council needs to justify itself. They need to give a clear tabulation of all the revenue they collect from city residents – from the parking fees to market charges, house rent, stall charges etc – and state what they have done and then offer a valid explanation why they need to increase the rates because as it is, the reasons given are not valid at all in my opinion.
On what basis was this increment made, what was the rationale, what was factored in and what was not? As a Nairobi resident, what changes should I expect to see within the next few months or one year?
Have they even put in place proper mechanisms to ensure that the parking attendants remit all the revenue they collect in a day?
If a motorist parks in the morning and leaves in the afternoon then another parks in the same spot, how will they know?
Why again should a motorist wade through a rough road, full of potholes and flooded with water because of a poor drainage system if the council is collecting revenue from them?
I have said this once before and will say it again: The council and the Ministry of Local Government need to understand is that in Western countries where parking fees go for an equivalent of up to Sh1 000 per day, very few people use their private cars. Not because they can\’t afford it, but because there is an effective public transport system.
When they start equating Nairobi to New York, I can only say they are in dreamland or may be are already living the Vision 2030.
But then again don\’t they want to milk more from motorists? It would not be in their favour to have a well established public transport system.
The impression I get from this increment is that the council does not want to think. It does not want to explore other options of making revenue. Every time there is need for increased revenue, the one and only easy option is to increase parking fees.
I demand that if I am to pay Sh300 per day, I must see tangible evidence that the council has improved the parking system, has put ample security for cars on the street and I no longer want to see that disclaimer of "vehicles parked at owner\’s risk."
I want assurance that I will get parking without being coerced by the "parking vendors" to part with extra coins to get a slot.
I demand value for what I remit.