Filth, floods and dry taps stymie Kitengela municipality growth

Kitengela Garbage

Uncollected garbage near the Kitengela retail market.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

When Kitengela, a populous town in Kajiado East Sub-county, on the outskirts of Nairobi, was elevated into a municipality last year, the residents expected that the change of status would translate into booming business and economic growth.

However, the town has instead grown filthier and its once rapid growth has stunted somewhat.

The town, which hosts upwards of 500,000 people, today chokes with uncollected garbage and disorderly traffic.

The town has also been hit by an acute shortage of fresh water.

  A spot check by the Nation on Monday revealed 50 streets where stinking heaps of garbage stuffed in gunny bags had been abandoned.


Garbage in gunny bags lie along the Kitengela slaughterhouse -Kitengela GK prison Road on April 10, 2023.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

A feeder road stretching from the Kitengela Slaughterhouse to the Kitengela GK prison was also strewn with uncollected garbage, with swarms of houseflies buzzing around at least six butcheries housed in the slaughterhouse building.

"We fear for our health as the garbage sometimes goes uncollected for weeks,” said a butchery operator.

A similar eyesore awaited us on Midas lane, all the way to Miriam road junction and at the temporary Kitengela open-air market. The ongoing rains have worsened the situation, with an awful odour spreading from the rotting garbage and several businesses marooned by floods.

“We pay taxes and licence fees to the county government of Kajiado but we feel short-changed when it comes to service delivery," said Mr John Munge, who runs an eatery in the town.

In 2021, the Kajiado County government privatised garbage collection ostensibly to improve collection and waste disposal.

However, residents now want the private firms investigated, claiming there was no value for money.

Kitengela Water

Kitengela residents queuing for fresh water at a public water kiosk in the past. 

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

The national government's much-hyped Sh3 per 20-litre jerrican of fresh water programme has since collapsed.

On Monday, the Nation found the taps dry and the county government-run water kiosks deserted. Residents said the kiosks had not been selling water for the past six months.

Fresh water vendors sell a 20-litre jerrican of the commodity at Sh30–Sh50. Salty water goes for between Sh15 and Sh25 per 20-litre jerrican.