Monday, August 27, 2007

LGI News: City Grinding to a Halt

From Daily Nation (8/28/2007)

"Of late, great concern has been raised over the state of Nairobi which is bursting at the seams, and a number of solutions offered.

One of the issues that have emerged is that the city does not have a masterplan, the last one having been formulated and ignored back in 1973.

It has also emerged that the capital city’s boundaries have never been revised since those days when it was populated by a few thousands, to a situation where the population is approaching the 4 million mark.

Without a development plan, and with a bunch of somnolent city fathers being ‘‘elected’’ to office after every two years to do everything but think about their city, Nairobi has continued to grow rapidly, in a haphazard fashion, and with very undesirable results.

Nairobi’s woes are interminable. Right now, its slums accommodate at least 60 per cent of its dwellers, which means at least 2.5 million souls have no proper shelter, food, water and sanitation.

The second major problem is more immediate; the city has become impossibly congested. Even after hawkers and street families were moved, one can still not walk the pavements comfortably.

Now, people cannot be wished away, and nor can the huge number of vehicles which make traffic jams all around the city a daily nightmare.

Even before a masterplan to solve these and many other problems is formulated, some ideas being floated are worth considering.

There is no reason why a brand new capital city cannot be built as the seat of government while Nairobi remains the commercial centre. It has happened in Tanzania and in Nigeria. Why can’t it be tried here?"

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