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We Need A Radical Changes To How We Manage The Important

Coastweek -- Governor 001 is busy pushing the beautification of Mombasa. This is an effort that is long overdue and is one that should not need the boss to push, writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.

A city’s overall health can be demonstrated by the fact that is always in a state of good repair, looks really spruced up, clean and lively and when its citizens are happy – even the beggar on the street would beg with a smile on the face rather than the look of grief and suffering that we often see put on to elicit sympathy.

However, does any resident of this city of ours remember the last time such an effort was made?

I do and I was part of the team that helped this to happen.

The last time an effort was made to clean up and spruce the city was twenty years ago.

The city had a sprightly young chairman of the then Mombasa and Coast Tourism Association or MCTA.

The MCTA was unhappy with the lack of action by the then Mombasa City Council in its mandate for keeping the city clean and repaired.

It was time to take action so that we would not lose our status as a preferred tourism destination.

At that time we had just had the elections in 1997 and the Likoni debacle was still fresh in many minds.

The key outcome was that tourism had been seriously affected and the city of Mombasa needed to get back onto its feet and liven up in order to attract tourism.

It was for this reason that MCTA leadership decided that the best was to get the residents to liven up and get back to self belief quickly was to focus on sprucing up the city.

The model adopted then was driven by the private sector and not by the city authorities.

They were however a very strong partner in the process and had to use their muscle to kick start a lot of things.

The process then was that the owners of each of the buildings on the key roads in the city signed up to painting the building.

So it was up to the registered owner to decide how to get the job done – they could do it themselves or spread the pain across the tenants.

They also had to pay a small fee for the rehabilitation of the paving on front of the premise as well as for the construction of new flower boxes in the central divide of the road.

The city administration’s role was that of co-ordination and permitting.

They also undertook to clear all the garbage that was on the streets.

This partnership worked very well as it was embraced by the business community as a whole.

Even the contractor that was engaged by the MCTA to do the rehabilitation and construction on behalf of the city administration and the building agreed to do the work at very favourable terms as part of their contribution to the beautification effort.

Fast forward twenty years later and we have a similar action in County 001.

We ask  - why wasn’t this done earlier? Why now?

Kachumbari was in fact the one who got me interested because he pointed out that there is a similarity in the motivation for this.

This change would dignify the rider and driver and make them an important and well controlled and drilled part of the economy.

I am sure that the return to the GDP of Kenya would be huge in terms of the lower costs of operations, the reduction in the number of debilitating accidents which also reduce the cost of damage to vehicles.

I could go on and on about this opportunity.

As Kachumbari says, we need a radical change to how we manage the important but as yet to be characterised vocation that is the professional carriage of goods and people.

 

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