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
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
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
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
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.
administration’s role was that of co-ordination and permitting.
They also undertook
to clear all the garbage that was on the streets.
worked very well as it was embraced by the business community as
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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