BY RENEE NGAMAU
The rains may surprise us but the consequences of poor planning should not. I recall having the privilege to interview then candidate for Nairobi County Evans Kidero and he had a very clear agenda on garbage collection, processing and recycling, on roads maintenance, infrastructure and ease of traffic in Nairobi. He talked about protecting riparian lands, cleaning up our rivers.
He convinced Kenyans and Nairobians that he had a Plan. It was a simple plan. But an effective one if implemented. He joined teams with the famous Nairobi Town Clerk John Gakuo who was renowned for his efforts in reclaiming Nairobi river and its tributaries.
Let’s not put the horse before the cart. The idea of criticizing Kenyan behavior without discussing enforcement is as naive as it is incomplete. All countries with clean, efficient, effective environments have clear, objective systems of maintenance, monitoring and enforcement.
In building construction, traffic rules compliance and environmental management, enforcement is everything. Singapore is not clean because its people are born that way. Rwanda is not plastic-bag-free because they suffer from a plastic bag related allergy. Switzerland is not efficient because the Swiss have an extra chromosome.
These countries all have a very strong set of laws relating to environment, transport etc a very effective, active, objective enforcement policy and very orderly clear systems in place to ensure standards are met.
The Kileleshwa bypass is an issue of compliance, enforcement and a NEMA who are not clear on their brief.
Blocked drains and potholes point squarely to a roads maintenance fail by KURA, KENHA and the roads alphabet soup.
Snarl ups at traffic hotspots including endemic over lappers and misuse of police to open roads for individuals and leave the majority stranded, are a traffic management failures from the NTSA, Traffic police and the county. They are also a mirror of the misbehavior of a myopic, self centered ruling group.
We cannot hope that our citizenry will behave different from other humans. Corruption free, professional enforcement of laws and regulations coupled with planning are the solution.
How long has South B been an issue?
When did T-mall first exhibit flooding?
Who signed off the environmental impact assessment report on the Kileleshwa bypass?
How long have we known about the state of our fire brigade and emergency services?
When was the last time the city county collected garbage or brought you a new bin?
Where do the drain cleaning crew dump the stuff they clean out of the drains?
What happened to the construction of the proposed Dandora recycling and dumping facility?
When was the last time our sewer services were upgraded to reflect current use?
Who approves complete concrete parking lots in drainage areas in this age where other countries require seepage friendly technology before construction?
Why is there ongoing construction in a riparian conservation area in lower kabete? An area Wangari Maathai fought to save? And how does the Nairobi city not know about it?
What is the consequence of hoarding fuel as a cartel, while sabotaging a nation?
Why are solar panels not tax, duty free and subsidized particularly for public institutions?
On whose hands is the blood of the people killed in the recent buildings collapses? Who bears the legal, moral and public shame for signing off their death warrants?
This is not rocket science. And this is not on the citizens.
Government spokesman is a thankless job. It is like being the kings whipping boy. When Dennis Itumbi says the cops are on the ground I have to ask two questions.
1. If they are, what are they doing since I have not moved in 9 hours? Is he implying they are incompetent? Or are they “monitoring” the situation.
2. I have not seen them in 9 hours 32 minutes save to extract a private vehicle escorted by beautiful British machinery and Japanese SUVS. Which ground specifically are they on?
I watched what looked like a police supported extraction followed by an army one of individual vehicles stuck in traffic. The citizens did not matter. Only the army truck and the individual. It was a clear “middle finger moment” to all the people on that road including the school kids and the ambulance desperately trying to get to hospital.
Let us stop taking flak for governance fail.
What is squarely in our hands is who we choose to put in charge of our city, our town, our country and how we choose to behave in the moment when we are stuck on the road/have litter etc.
I do not need another commission of inquiry. Another committee. Another appointee. Empty promises and tiresome platitudes. I need you to do the job YOU applied for. Talk is not just cheap. It costs lives. Action is where it is at. Hashtags and high handed statements will not get me home to my kids. Action will. Quit telling me what you are doing. Quit passing the buck on past regimes and print media. Show me. Let me see it. Send in the emergency services. The NYS. The traffic police. Manage this disaster. Show me!
I promise you this, I may have but one vote and one voice but my goodness, I shall remember Tuesday the 12 May 2015 when I go to vote. I shall remember 147 kids waiting for 7 hours for help that never came. I shall remember Baragoi. And Pokot. And Mpeketoni. And the kids from Makini school stuck in a school bus while you extracted one car. And the patient in the ambulance lying comatose as the driver pleaded with motorists to move so he could get to a hospital and save at least one life. Whether or not you were in last night’s floods, I hope you shall too.