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Is Nairobi Becoming Toxic For Working Class?

3 min read
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Nairobi undoubtedly is Kenya’s capital and the largest city with mega infrastructural masterpieces, impeccable skyline, seat of the government and hosts thousands of conferences in the year. The city is among the few African cities with UN agencies headquarters. Almost 60% of GDP is generated in the city making it the consequential player in the economic growth.

Nairobi being the center of government agencies and corporate entities is essentially home to thousands if not millions of working people and thousands more who are looking for opportunities. The facilities available or lack of it affects these people in one way or another and the city is increasingly becoming unbearable for decent, quite and frugal lifestyles. Its organization from streets to avenues to the structures is messy and disorganized and bring about incessant traffic jams.

“Two years ago, I left Nairobi albeit saddened but ready to explore other towns and I must say that NBO(Nairobi) is a cesspool of dust, broken dreams, horrible urban planning and everything whack that comes with it. If you ever get a chance to skip this place, please do”
tweeted a twitter user @julleberry in a tweet that has since gone viral with many Kenyans supporting and applauding her.

Evidently, the young professionals are giving wide berth to the city as its amenities are a disaster, public transport system is in shambles, living standards are exaggeratedly very high and not sustainable and growth saddled with all this baggage is extremely hard.

Ranging from those who wish to travel outside or move to other towns once the opportunity strikes, Nairobi is losing its glamor very fast and the whispers have now grown to loud choruses which ultimately will lead to action. People are held in the city because they have no choice, just imagine with the growth that is bound to happen in other remote towns like Nanyuki, Nakuru, Nyeri and Eldoret among others which working professionals finds it tenable, Nairobi city can become ghost city.

If the rent and expenses does not commensurate the income, if the town is dusty with no sanitation and grappled with water shortages always then definitely, the ongoing discussion couldn’t have come at any better time as the city is marred with dirt, filth, insecurity and endless traffic jams which are making the lives of urban dwellers and working families at a disadvantage as there is no value of the taxes and the basic conducive environment.

“Growing up, I thought Nai (Nairobi) was the place to be but now I have realized that you lose more than you gain” a twitter user Kevin Omondi quips responding to Julleberry referring to the very high cost of living that does not commensurate to the wages.

With exponential growth of the city, the bare minimum for the urban dwellers is the working and effective light rail or subway system to mitigate commuter challenges, working solid waste management system and rapid expansion of road networks. The proper planning of the infrastructure and housing which are currently in deplorable state.

The bottom-line is Nairobi is bleeding profusely, the slum is engulfing the city due to high living standards, reduced wages, population growth and unemployment. The crime in the city pushes people away as many others wishes to work and live in safe and secure environment. The reorganization by the president for county government to be replaced by NMS is a welcomed move and my hope is, it will yield the dividends and restore the hope of the city.

Stagnating city is an existential threat to itself and attracting the venture capitalist is not possible. Kigali has been bagging several startups and entrepreneurs due to their proactive, sanitation and order a phenomenon which is hardly found in Nairobi. The dirty streets, chaotic traffic and matatu menace the working people having second thoughts may be right.


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