Yes, do expand Nairobi

The hue and cry over the bloated Cabinet notwithstanding, it is true that some of the seemingly minor dockets were long overdue.

Minister Mutula Kilonzo has been charged with overseeing the Nairobi Metropolitan Region, an expanded version of Nairobi City Council.

On the face of it, this might look like a duplication of the role of the Ministry of Local Government. But in terms of the challenges facing the wider Nairobi, there is no arguing with the fact that radical measures have to be taken to remedy a dire situation.

Arguably, the resource-deficient satellite towns, which include Thika, Kiambu, Kitengela, Athi River, Ngong and Ongata Rongai, are part of Nairobi’s problems that include over-population and traffic congestion, pollution, crime and poor planning.

It is time coordinated efforts were taken to resolve the worsening problems in one package.

However, a number of issues have to be addressed before this dream can turn into reality.

One, the ministry has to be given legal teeth to eliminate any conflict with civic bodies, and the Local Government ministry.

Second, it is high time the city was divided into boroughs to ease administration. It would make no sense to enlarge one problematic entity without creating more efficient and manageable units.

Three, it is critical that the idea be properly marketed so that it is not politicised at the expense of the public good. Stakeholders here would include residents, who will be subjected to new levies.

If the matter is handled purely as a developmental issue, it should benefit all citizens.

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