Rain started beating the city before the advent of devolution
A number of articles have been written on the myriad of problems facing the city and attributed to the leadership of the city without any slight effort by the writers to revisit the origins of the problem. A recent article in Sunday Nation titled “In The City” and subtitled “Mike Sonko’s tough talk fails to deliver Nairobi from garbage, traffic and potholes” was written without bringing to light the genesis of what ails the city.
The rot in Nairobi started way back in the 1970's and since then, there had never been no serious interventions to right up things; until now that the county and the National governments are undertaking a comprehensive programme on the regeneration of the city.
To entirely portion the mess in the city to one, Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko's administration simply because he chronicled the problems facing the city in his campaign manifesto is unfair.
Since the times of Nairobi City Council administration, the city has faced challenges ranging from shambolic financial systems, water shortages and sanitation, traffic congestion, garbage just to mention but a few from one regime to the other.
Today, Governor Sonko is faced with the same dilemma, for example a pending bill of over Kshs 58 billion inherited from the previous regimes including Kidero's administration is a case in point. In the meantime, the governor has formed a committee under the Chairmanship of PLO Patrick Lumumba to scrutinize the bills and procurement processes.
Why Sonko should not carry the cross for the state of City right now
The truth is that the City Government and other counties usually run on five-year County Integrated Development Plans broken down into annual plans. The County of Nairobi engaged residents of the city in a participatory approach for the preparation of the CIDP 2018/ 2022 which is almost complete. The preparation of the 2018/2019 estimates is also on course following the same participatory approach as provided in the constitution. The success of Sonko's administration will largely be pegged on these important documents which will guide his operations.
However, routine works which include the filling of potholes, the unclogging of drains, and provision of water, reorganization of hawking and street families and control of traffic have been ongoing.
During his short stint at City Hall, Governor Sonko has ensured that the provisions of the Public Finance Act are adhered to. County revenue that used to be collected and used at source is now safely banked into the county revenue account at the Central Bank. Secondly, 36 revenue streams have been digitized up from 13. The administration intends to digitize the remaining streams before the end of the financial year.
It is a fact that before August 2017 prior to Sonko setting foot in the capital office, almost everything was at a standstill. All contracts on our roads and other infrastructure projects had stalled due to non-payment.
To some who are privy to the budgetary processes of the County governments, it is completely premature to judge or blame Sonko in his first year in office.
To many people, it seems the Daily Nation Newspaper has assembled a journalistic cum political arsenal to taint the Governor’s name and the city of Nairobi as a place where nothing positive happens. It is worrying and one may assume the onslaught on Governor Sonko smacks of a ‘special project.'
While it is appreciated that it is the duty and responsibility of the media to inform, educate and entertain, the latest literary altercation on the Governor’s person and the county in general may be seen as calculated strategy to rivet the attention of Sunday Nation readers.
Though the writer did own up and state clearly that Nairobi’s problems predate the Governor’s advent at City Hall, it is questionable, why; the Daily Nation appear to underestimate the magnitude of the challenges that managers of this city have to grapple with and display a gross misunderstanding of the Governor’s campaign rallying call to Nairobians.
Fixing the many problems facing the city needs a concerted multi- urgency approach like the ongoing regeneration programme. It important to also focus and highlight the positive areas that County has delivered to truly accord readers a balanced and fair story.