Mohammed Badi

Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director General Mohammed Badi.

| Francis Nderitu | Nation Media 

What next as Nairobi Metropolitan Services exits?

What you need to know:

  • NMS has not launched new development projects in the capital city lately, a far cry from its first year.
  • Unconfirmed reports indicate that NMS’ tenure could be extended to August 2022.

Only three months remain in the two-year term of Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), which is in charge of four key functions of the Nairobi County government.

NMS, in March 2020, took charge of the health; transport; public works, utilities and ancillary services; and county planning and development services for 24 months.

And in the first six months, the national government entity implemented development projects in the county day and night.

Pavements for pedestrians on Muindi Mbingu Street, Wabera Street and Kenyatta Avenue; the recarpeting of roads; sinking of boreholes; rehabilitation of streetlights; and launching construction of health facilities, among other projects, were done in record time.

NMS has not launched new development projects in the capital city lately, a far cry from its first year, with the pace of development in the second year failing to live up to its initial glory.

Although unconfirmed reports indicate that NMS’ tenure could be extended to August 2022, no official notice has been published.

Be it as it may, the administration of Lt-Gen Mohamed Badi has little time left to turn Nairobi into the “Dubai of Africa” by delivering on promised projects.

In October 2020, Lt-Gen Badi pledged to make Nairobi an all-inclusive green, modern city of choice for habitation, investment and tourism before 2022.

Ambitious plans

In fact, according to the NMS director-general, Nairobi residents were to have a lit city to rival metropolises like Dubai by Christmas of that year.

Further, the Mukuru informal settlements were to be transformed from slums into a modern living estate within a year.

According to Lt-Gen Badi, the 24 hospitals would have been completed before 2022, major roads to estates completed, pedestrian walkways rolled out across the city, all matatus and boda bodas moved out of the city centre and commuter trains and BRT buses replacing them.

All these ambitious plans were to be achieved before 2022 and in the words of Lt-Gen Badi, through “burning the midnight oil”.

“I have been a resident of Nairobi and I have seen deficiencies, so I want to see change in Nairobi. This is my determination and I hope I will achieve it within the two years. There is nothing like ‘don’t’ in the military. You have to achieve it,” said Mr Badi in an interview on Citizen TV.

“Come Christmas, you will see a different Nairobi, with the 24 new hospitals operational, major roads to estates completed, NMT rolled out, and Nairobi will be lit like Dubai,” he added.

True to his words, that December 24, Nairobi was lit like Dubai, with the DG and President Uhuru Kenyatta presiding over a Christmas tree lighting on Mpaka Road, off Waiyaki Way.

A year later, bulldozers descended on houses in Mukuru kwa Njenga, leaving more than 40,000 families homeless as the government said the demolitions would continue to pave the way for road construction.

Infrastructural project

In the TV interview, Mr Badi had said the plan was to develop the area, now a ‘special planning’ zone, by improving the road system, water and sewer lines and installing electricity.

“We hope that within a year, Mukuru slums will be a modern living estate upgraded from a slum,” said the NMS boss.

More than a year later, the sight of homeless families endures at the slum even as no infrastructural project is yet to take off.

In an interview to mark the one-year anniversary of NMS, he also promised to revive the Nairobi River Waterfront Improvement project to modernise it, complete with public resting places as well as restaurants.

“We will light up the whole Nairobi River to have people enjoy the river’s front as it is in other cities like the River Thames in London. The restaurants will offer people the chance to talk as they enjoy their evening meals,” said Mr Badi.

In the financial year ending on June 30, 2022, NMS was allocated Sh27.2 billion to administer the four functions transferred from the county.

Despite this, most of the projects have hit a dead end, have not commenced at all, are proceeding at snail’s pace or are threatening to become white elephants.

The City Square footbridge is yet to take off, and Uhuru Park and Central Park renovations have been stopped by the courts.

Grand plans

The plan to introduce smart lights, smart cameras, underground automated parking and digital parks and open spaces have remained just grand plans.

The same case applies to plans to purchase new cemetery land to relieve pressure on the already full Lang’ata cemetery, renew and redevelop 10 county government estates and convert the Machakos country bus stage into an underground digital parking bay.

Regarding hospitals, not all are operational and some are yet to be commissioned. Mathare-Korogocho Level 5 Hospital, now renamed Mama Margaret Kenyatta Hospital, holds the record for many aborted planned unveilings.

“We have 100 days as the time frame for the 24 facilities and I intend to do them in the given time frame,” said Mr Badi then.

For public service vehicles, matatus and boda bodas were to be moved out of the city centre, with their new stations being six terminals being constructed by NMS.

But one such terminus, the multimillion-shilling Green Park, threatens to become another white elephant in the city. The Desai Road and Park Road terminuses have not been unveiled despite being completed over a year ago.

Other promised terminals, such as Muthurwa and Globe Roundabout, are yet to take off, with only noticeable work being done at the Bunyala/Workshop terminus.

“We intend to remove all matatus, including boda bodas, from the city centre. We will build six termini where all matatus and boda bodas will terminate without entering into the city centre,” said Mr Badi. 

“We have already built Desai and Park Road and we plan a modern one next to the Globe Roundabout to reduce traffic of all PSVs, including boda bodas.”

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