Nairobi Is A Mess Beyond Repair, Bold And Visionary Solutions Will Save The City

By Empraim Njega

The idea of saving Nairobi should just be abandoned. We should focus on developing brand new planned cities especially in the northern part of our country.

The recent demolition of illegal structures is treating the symptoms while the real cause remains unattended.

The government’s own economic survey 2018 reads thus “A total of 897,800 new jobs were created in 2017 with 787,800 new jobs created in the informal sector. Employment in the informal sector accounted for 83.4 per cent of total

employment in the period under review.”

With the informal sector creating over 80 percent of the jobs where does the government expect these people to operate from? Unless the government creates infrastructure for MSMEs or ensures commercial rent is affordable, illegal structures will continue to sprout.

Furthermore, most of Nairobi is unplanned. If order were to be established, nearly all the structures in the entire of Eastlands where millions live would have to be brought down.

In short, Nairobi is a mess beyond repair. Victimizing owners of illegal structures without creating legal alternatives will solve nothing. The population is growing fast and opportunities are drying fast. Bold and visionary solutions are needed urgently.


Ouma Olum In environmental economics, we say Nairobi is “locked in” a dirty/polluting growth trajectory, and reversing the cause is economically unfeasible. Any meaningful change can only happen in the next 2 decades when the country’s growth is at such a level that concerns over environmental health issues are the norm rather than a preserve of the “few elite”.

Mickey Ode What bewilders me is that the informal businesses are not treated as investors rather as a menace. The county the hopes to attract investors from elsewhere all the while disregarding the small businesses. I reckon a planned upgrade of the informal business infrastructure is possible with professional planning and implementation.