In this interactive series, we invite our readers to send in questions to select public figures. Answers will be published in the next print and online editions. This week, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko responds to your questions
1.Your campaign was quite articulate and addressed issues on restoring Nairobi. We came out in numbers to ensure your dream came through. Now that you are in office what jobs do you have for the jobless not necessarily youths?
Julius Mutai, Westlands
Thank you Julius and the people of Nairobi, for believing in me. First, I have embarked on cleaning up City Hall to free up money and opportunities that have been a reserve of cartels for a long time. The rot I found has denied thousands of Nairobians employment and business opportunities. Secondly, nearly all social and development programmes my administration is rolling out are people-centred, from waste management to infrastructure, thousands of jobs will be created in the next few months.
2. What plans do you have for the previous rotten lot at the county government which at some point became a dreaded force to the residents?
Julius Mutai, Westlands
As I pledged during the campaigns, I have already embarked on reforming the work culture of county employees, particularly the Inspectorate Department.
3. As the city’s senator, you created the Sonko Rescue Team which, it appears, you have carried into City Hall. What is it’s place in relation to the career county servants who have over the years toiled to make this great city clean and secure?
Dedan O. Alenya
The Sonko Rescue Team is a registered not-for-profit organisation with its independent legal mandate and has not in any way transferred operations to City Hall. My administration, however, will continue to partner with other local and international agencies to improve the welfare of Nairobians according to the law.
4. I understand that some National Environment Management Autority’s policing functions are now devolved to counties. By when can Nairobians expect less noise pollution from high-powered loudspeakers set up in residential areas by churches, mosques, clubs and hotels as well as KICC which turns into a noise den on most weekends depriving worshippers at the nearby Holy Family Basilica time for peaceful prayer and worship?
I have already issued a directive to the relevant departments and sought partnership with Nema and the Environment ministry in this regard. You will witness higher levels of enforcement.
5. You are on record accusing former Governor Evans Kidero of sitting pretty while corrupt cartels are busy calling the shots at City Hall. What strategies do you have in place that will dismantle the cartels?
Andrew Maranga Ratemo, Malindi
Dismantling the cartels began on my first day in office. I have embarked on a massive cleanup of City Hall. I have read the riot act to those who have been abetting corruption and incompetence. So far, arrests have been made and suspects of sleaze charged.
6. We have road contractors who have been doing shoddy jobs and taking long to complete projects, for instance, Enterprise and Likoni roads. The contractor has been on site for more than one-and-a-half years and the quality is really bad. What are you doing to end this?
Erick Njunge, Industrial Area
Most of the roads in Nairobi are under the national government. However, there have been many cases of shoddy jobs by contractors hired by the county. The era of briefcase and cowboy contractors ended the day I was sworn into office. Residents can be assured of getting value for their money.
7. Through our company, Romco Ltd, my friend and I did a job at Ngara Health Centre in May 2016 which was inspected and given a clean bill of health. We subsequently submitted our invoice in June 2016 for Sh2.1 million but we are still following up on our payment because some people were asking us to pay Sh400,000 for them to encash it, an amount we were unable to raise. How can we get our payment?
Raphael Mugah, Kangemi
I empathise with you Raphael, and many other suppliers and contractors who share in your plight. I have commissioned a comprehensive audit to authenticate all pending bills. I will ensure that every legitimate supplier or contractor will be paid, and send to jail those who have been earning from fictitious claims.
8. Although the national and county governments have some social protection programmes for poor children, elderly and the disabled, they do not cover all in need. How are you going to deal with this problem?
Tony Sisule, Nairobi
Corruption in the past has robbed the county of resources to undertake social welfare programmes, while denying many Nairobians opportunities to earn a living. We have put in place plans to establish homes for the homeless, rehabilitation centres and a fund to support income generating activities for the disabled, alongside a host of other initiatives.
9. What plans do you have for empowering millions of struggling women traders, entrepreneurs, home businesses and others who lack skills, knowledge, capital or markets?
Margaret Mbogoh, Nairobi
First, I want to guarantee our women, youth and the disabled up to 50 per cent of all procurement during my tenure. Secondly, my government will create capital funds to support special interest groups. Thirdly, we have a clear plan to establish resource centres to train our women, youth and the disabled on various skills. Some of these centres will be ready in under a year.
10. Many Nairobians relieve themselves in open places especially along the Mbagathi Hospital fence. There are also some vendors who fetch water from a drainage bordering that fence. Can the county government build more public toilets?
Yes, my government will build more toilets. Besides, you will witness strict enforcement to tame those keen on soiling our environment.
11. What plans do you have to help needy children especially those living in the Nairobi slums access educational opportunities?
Linus Ochieng, Bridgeville International School
I am keen on increasing allocations to the county’s bursary fund, while ensuring its management is transparent. We will also introduce school feeding programmes to keep more of our children in school.
12. I was a Jubilee MCA aspirant for Kariobangi South’s Uhuru ward in the just-concluded polls. Do you have any plans to involve unsuccessful candidates in your administration?
Nicolas Kagai, Buruburu
My government is for all the people of Nairobi, and opportunities shall be accorded to all without discrimination, as and when they arise.
13. I live in Komarock Estate Sector One. We rarely have water in our taps. What plans do you have in place to enable us to restore water in our taps?
The water problem in Nairobi is multifaceted. I am dismantling the cartels responsible for leakages and loss of up to 50 per cent of our water. We shall also drill boreholes in strategic areas to complement water from dams that have been running low due to harsh climatic conditions. In addition, there are ongoing projects to improve the overall water and sewerage systems to ensure more efficient distribution.
14. Tell Nairobians how you intend to tackle traffic jams in the city in the short and long term?
Stephen Yeswa, Kasarani
Last week, I held a consultative forum bringing together all actors in the public transport sector. The first step is to clear the CBD of the long queues of matatus that create bottlenecks. Secondly, we will ensure strict implementation of the “Michuki Rules” at the county level. Thirdly and more importantly, Nairobi is in partnership with the national government and Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority that shall see massive infrastructural development in the next five years to decongest the city.
15. When are you planning to lower parking fees as promised? If you are not lowering, would you consider eliminating or subsidising parking fees on Saturdays from Sh300 to Sh100?
Tony Bett, Nairobi
I already have proposals to amend the Finance Act once the county assembly commences its sittings this week. The outcomes will be communicated in due course.
16. The old sewerage system in Nairobi is always cited as one of the county’s biggest problems. What are you going to do about the system?
Githuku Mungai, Nairobi
There is already an ongoing project to upgrade the water and sewerage system in parts of Nairobi. My government is in talks with the national government and other development partners to overhaul the entire system to match the population needs.
17. I have heard of your intention to remove bumps on Thika Road at Drive In and Homeland bus stages. Considering that hundreds of pedestrians used to lose their lives at these spots before the bumps were erected, what are your plans before we start losing more lives since no foot bridges have been provided there?
Simon Mutahi, Githurai 44
I am in receipt of an advisory from the Transport ministry on the status of the development of footbridges in all affected areas. All actions by my government shall be in accordance with the law and in the best interests of all people, especially in preserving human life.
18. The revenue office at City Hall collects millions of shillings in cash daily. One wonders why the governor would expose innocent clerks, who had just collected Sh7 million, while you can run a sales report at the touch of a button and ask for a banking schedule. Secondly, is it true you want revert some of the county’s functions to the national government?
Davis Jung’a, Embakasi West,
The circumstances surrounding that expose resulted in a matter that is already in court, thus I cannot comment on it. However, you may want to know that there is no such “button” to touch yet, and that is part of the reforms I have initiated to automate all operations and transactions at the county government. Please ignore those unfounded rumours about reverting any functions of the county to the national government.
19. How are you going to deal with toxic vegetables from Ruai sewerage fields? It is a health concern.
In partnership with Nema, I will escalate controls on waste management and disposal. I will also seek the support from the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation, Kenya Medical Research Institute and other agencies to zone areas where food crops cannot be grown within the city.
20. What strategy do you have to give the youth opportunities?
W Mwaura, Nairobi
First, to completely eliminate corruption from the county government to free up resources. Secondly, employ our youth in most of the social programmes.
21.What are your plans for the public primary schools belonging to the Nairobi County to ensure quality equitable education available to all not forgetting social aspects like arts, crafts and sports? And could you help discourage boarding schools at such a very young age? Cedric Lumosi
Primary and secondary school education are functions of the national government. However, my administration will seek way to improve learning facilities and the surrounding environment for conducive learning.
22. I supplied and installed streetlights along Mara road since 2007. I have been going to City Hall chasing my payment yet some officers openly demand a bribe of up to 10 per cent of the amount I should be paid before they can process my payment. Sir, what can you do about this? George Muturi
Upon the completion of the ongoing audit, I shall share a payment plan for all legitimate pending bills. However, all those with fictitious claims must be prepared to go to jail.
23. What do you plan to do concerning the polluted Nairobi River and the buildings on the riparian areas that cause a lot of blockage to free flow of the water? Norbert Ochola
I have already held talks with the Ministry of Environment and the Urban Rivers Restoration Program about reviving the stalled cleanup project. In partnership, we shall relaunch the project on Saturday, September 09, 2017 and I invite you to join us. All structures encroaching on riparian land shall be removed in accordance with the law, and all those discharging effluent into the river shall be prosecuted.
24. How soon is it going to take the Governor to fix feeder roads in our estate especially new Donholm? Bernard Chuaga, Donholm
All roads under the county government shall be fixed. You will witness increased activity fixing our infrastructure in the coming months.
25. What are you going to do about the filth that has become Muthurwa Market and Markiti which is health hazard? Alloys Siganda, Komarock Estate
“Operation Ng’arisha Jiji” began before I assumed office, is still ongoing, and will continue until Nairobi becomes the cleanest city in Africa. My appeal is to all residents to play their part as well.
27. In 2014, Nairobi County enacted the Ward Development Fund (WDF) Act. Committees were formed in every Ward to help in identifying and implementing development projects. However, to date, that has never materialized. Do you have plans to operationalize the WDF Act? Cephas Peter
I am keen on development in every part of Nairobi and will see to the actualization of the fund, only under a clear framework of transparency and accountability.
28. I stay in Komarock Estate Sector One. We rarely have water in our taps. Water vendors sell to us at Sh100 per 20 litre container. What plans do you have in place to enable us have regular water? Alex Andabwa
The water problem in Nairobi is multifaceted. First, I am dismantling the cartels responsible for leakages and losses of up to fifty per cent of our water. Secondly, we shall drill boreholes in strategic areas to complement water from our dams that have been running low due to harsh climatic conditions. Third, there are ongoing projects to improve the overall water and sewerage systems to ensure more efficient distribution.
29. Please Governor, tell Nairobians how you intend to tackle traffic jams in Nairobi in short and long term? Stephen Yeswa, Kasarani Nairobi
Last week I held a consultative forum bringing together all actors in the public transport sector. The first step is to clear the CBD of the long queues of matatus that create bottlenecks. Second is to ensure strict implementation of the “Michuki Rules” at the county level. Third, and more importantly, Nairobi is in partnership with the national government and NaMATA that shall see massive infrastructural developments in the next five years to decongest the city.
30. When are you planning to lower parking fee as promised? If not lowering would you consider eliminating or subsidizing parking fee on Saturdays from Sh300 to Sh100? Tony Bett, Nairobi
I already have proposals to amend the Finance Act once the County Assembly commences its sittings this week. The outcomes will be communicated in due course.
31. When do you intend to address the corruption at City Hall and especially in human resources office touching in employment, fraud at the finance office, corruption involving tenders and contracts awarding and ghost workers?
Julius Mutai, Westlands Nairobi
As you might be aware, I commissioned investigations into suspect activities in our finance department. A few officers have since been arrested and charged in court. I have partnered with the National Treasury to undertake a comprehensive audit the finance and human resource departments. Legal action shall be taken against anybody found culpable in any form of malpractices.
31. There is this road in Industrial Area connecting Mombasa road at General motors right away through to Enterprise Road to Jogoo road. Either the contractor is a quack or has been compromised because the work has taken too long to finish yet the section is not more than five kilometres. What could be going on and what plans do have to directly intervene and have the section completed? Charles Kuboi, Nairobi
Thank you Charles for bringing this to my attention. I have taken up the matter with the relevant department and wish you assure that the road will be completed soon.