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County Public Nuisance Bill 2021 Fuels Skepticism Among Nairobians

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The County Government of Nairobi recently signed into law County Public Nuisance Bill 2021 which is aimed at ensuring that the city is clean with those found breaking the rules to be dealt with firmly.  

Those found spitting on the footpath, smoking cigarettes in public places in the Central Business District or even found relieving themselves on the street will now have to part with 10,000 shillings as fine or sentenced to not more than six months.

But will this new law be enforced Keeping in mind in 2013 an anti-urinating squad was created to deal with notorious members of the public but that too evaporated into thin air?

A section of Nairobians have come out to discredit the order terming it a toll one citing previous by laws on the same but little had been effected.

“When you talk about sneezing without a handkerchief, I don’t know how that law is going to be implemented  or even take someone to court because of that , how will they provide evidence?’’ Timothy Kairu a Bodaboda Operator asked.

Choo za kanjo lazima ulipe na mahustler wengi hawana doo so county government lazima itafute safe place za kuambia watu waende na ikuwe free. One has to part with some cash before relieving him/herself in the county toilets. Most people especially from the lower class have no money to pay for the toilet services, it’s better for the county government to build specific toilets to cater for those who can’t pay,” Mcodingo from Babadogo says.

Reports do indicate that Nairobi county has a total of 150 public toilets as of the year 2018, Nairobi CBD alone accounting for 62 toilets.

It is alleged that the 62 toilets do wreck in 18 million shillings a month and about 620,000 a day income.

This kind of profits has led to numerous fights among the youths or even between the county government of Nairobi and the owners of the toilets, the parties wanting a control of the facilities.

On 13th April 2018, there was a two week standoff between youth groups, Toilet managers and Politicians over the management of the public toilets and which led to the closure of the toilets in Muthurwa market, OTC, and Number 8 which is next to Bishop Margret Wanjiru’s church.

The youth who were allegedly sponsored by MPs and MCA’s in the city were demanding jobs after they served them well during the 2017 general elections.

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On 19th October 2020, owners of the Public toilets were engaged in running battles with the police over the management of the facilities, the owners accusing the county government of Nairobi of trying to throw them under the bus and take over the management of the said toilets.

“We are the people who constructed these toilets, but when Governor Mike Sonko’s regime assumed office, the officers were forcefully coming to take over the facilities,” Wangechi Samba one of the Toilet proprietors said.

Such a scenario was also witnessed in Mathare slums in July 2019 where two groups in the said slum clashed over the management of a toilet in Mashimoni area.

The two groups one made up of youth and the other made up of the older people disagreed over who should take over the management of the toilets that were previously managed by the National Youth Service NYS cohorts.

Hizi ni choo zilikuwa zimejengwa na NYS, baada ya kumalizwa kujengwa zikapeanwa community na hapo ndio tulitake over kama mavijana lakini hawa wazae wanataka kutunyanganya manze. These toilets were built by the NYS. And after completion they were handed over to the community, we later took over the management of the facility only for the older men to show up in order to manage them,” one of the youths lamented.

On 13th May 2021, the Nairobi Metropolitan Service NMS did shut down all the Public toilets within the CBD; this is after several groups disagreed over the management of the Toilets.

Through notices which were pinned on the doors of the facilities at the National Archives, Koja Accra Road among others, the decision was arrived at after issues of security.

These allegations were refuted by the Nairobi county Public Toilet Association spokesperson Francis Macharia.

“We are law abiding citizens and we pay our rents and bills on time, we are not in breach of the contract that we signed with the county government. It’s mischievous for city cartels to portray us as goons,”Macharia said.

Overall it remains to be seen whether the new laws will bring back Nairobi’s lost glory.

BY WEMA TOYWA   #WEMA’STAKE

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