Coastweek -- Kachumbari
came back from one of his routine visits to Nairobi the other
day and marvelled at how green the City was,
writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.
The Central Business
District or CBD was a lot greener that he remembered from the
last time he paid any attention to this aspect which was almost
ten years ago.
A former Town Clerk
of the then City Council had made it his business to plant trees
at suitable intervals on all the sidewalks in the CBD and also
in the areas adjacent to it.
That exercise was
pursued vigorously and we now bask in the fruits of his labour.
This exercise to
plant trees continued when the same official was moved to the
Ministry of Environment under the miracle worker – the late John
Michuki of the matatu “Michuki Rules” fame.
After working his
magic at the Ministry of Transport and Communications, he served
in various other Ministries during the political realignment
that happened in Kenya following the first five years of the
He was appointed to
the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources where he
started the transformation of the agenda of that Ministry with
the same gusto that he had operated with in the Ministry of
He started the clean
up of the Nairobi river as well as the City of Nairobi and it
was in this effort that he recruited the former town clerk of
the City of Nairobi to become his right hand man – and guess
what, the combination worked wonders.
The area around
Kipande Road and Kijabe street that used to be a garbage dump
was quickly cleared of the “chokoras” who were operating from
there and the rubbish removed.
There were also
myriad garages and vehicles workshops dotted on that landscape
that contributed to the eyesore that backed on to the Nairobi
River and create pollution through the garbage that was
generated from the activities of those establishments.
ruthlessly cleared and the area levelled and trees planted.
This was part of the
grand scheme of restoring the Nairobi river - and the other two
major rivers that trisect the city - into clear sparkling
streams with walkways as well as recreational areas along the
The section of the
river between the Museum bridge and Globe Cinema roundabout was
to have been widened and deepened to create a recreational lake.
However, this was
never to be.
The Minister became
very active in the International Arena in matters Climate Change
as well as Environmental Governance.
This was as a result
of the spectacular work that was being done by his wonder worker
– the former Town Clerk of the Nairobi City Council. Sadly, the
Minister took ill and three years into his whirlwind period in
the environmental arena he passed on.
But why all this?
The tornado that was
Michuki was able to transform anything that he touched.
He was not an expert
in transport and neither was he a dyed in the wool
He was a graduate of
Economics and Public Administration from Worcester College.
He had the Midas
touch that would turn anything that he engaged in into gold.
In it’s current
state Kenya sorely needs people like him to take the issues that
are ailing this nation and cure them to help start the
transformation of the country.
Our roads are
becoming a dangerous place to be in.
The population of
cars is increasing exponentially as the corruption money
percolates into the economy.
The behaviour of the
public transport sector (matatus and heavy goods vehicles) is
getting worse by the day and the carnage on the roads is nothing
to write home about.
The hardware on the
roads is being vandalised with wanton abandon and no arrests are
All the rules that
are supposed to govern the operation on our roads are purely
things that one reads to pass exams.
After getting the
valued driving license than the drivers begin to learn how to
We have issues about
Our rivers are
polluted with sewage and the water towers in the country are
The decisions on
what needs to be done to correct the deforestation are known but
there are so many political intrigues playing out that no action
Everyone all of a
sudden has a stake in the issue.
People have grabbed
and encroached on the towers and politicians have gone back to
the “watu wetu” cries in the battle for votes at the next
election forgetting that the same “watu wetu” will have no
livelihoods left after the deforestation and will become beggars
at the doorsteps of the very same politicians.
Land is a hot issue
and we see the intrigues that are playing out with the tussle
between the national Land Commission, the Ministry of Lands, the
County Governments – and yes the grabbers and wheeler dealers
whose job it is to create as much smoke as possible to allow
them to grab, sell, resell, on sell and transfer as quickly as
possible down the chain so that it will be difficult to unravel
the ownership once the corruption and prosecutorial agencies
catch up with the malfeasance that has been committed.
I could go on and on
about the simple things that are turning this country into a
nightmare of a place to live and work in – leave alone invest
What chance do the
people at the bottom of the pyramid have in this thieving grand
scheme of things ?
The corruption that
has found its way into the very fabric that is supposed to hold
our nation together ?
The political class
that has taken the Trump trumpeting of “Make America Great
Again” to “make politician X great again” ?
The obsession with
unjustified and unaffordable salary increases, greasing of hands
for action to happen and the proverbial “benchmarking” scams ?
In order to stop all
these actions that are a drain on Kenya Inc there is need for
strong Michukiesque hands on the rudder that is steering the
flotilla that is the government of Kenya.
The head of this
flotilla has laid down the gauntlet with his fight against
corruption which has been declared and is being followed
However, this is
never a one man show.
Secretary must do exactly the same in their Ministry and take
the fight down the line with the same ruthless and no holds
barred style that the House on The Hill has started.
It requires that
every single Governor in the country must do the same within
their country governments starting with themselves and then
again percolating down through the hierarchy at the county
transparent procurement, life style audits, wealth declarations
that are made public – the list is long.
It is telling that
the President is the only one currently making all the noise
about fighting corruption AND leading from the front by applying
everything that he declares to himself first.
Where are the
Cabinet Secretaries ?
Where are the
Why have they not
decreed the actions that they will take and acted starting with
Or are they afraid
that someone will spill their beans should they also start
shouting loudly and taking stern action ?
Only time will tell
who the true sons of this nation are.
Those who are
willing to stand up and be counted as the ones who made a
difference to the values of this country.
Those who were able
to emulate the late Michuki and take a no holds barred approach
to righting the Kenya Inc ship
I certainly look
forward to writing about the brave Cabinet Secretaries and
Governors who will step up and lead the fight against corruption
from the front in support of the Presidents push to change the
ethos of this nation.
fundamental change, any positive and transparent development
initiative will meet with hurricane force headwinds that will
stifle the true potential of this nation.
As Kachumbari says,
bold honest leaders with impeccable integrity are a rare breed.
Does Kenya have them
in the current crop ?
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