But all these have changed. And one man is taking all the CREDIT - the new Sherrif in Town, the Town Clerk Mr. John Gakuo.
The consensus is that through his dedication, commitment and hard work the city has been transformed. Kenya News Online Blog praising Gakuo talks of the new look Nairobi "Our capital city has improved in looks and feel over the last two years. The streets have been paved and many roads re-carpeted. Most noticeable are the roads in Eastleigh, Doonholm and South C. There are fewer potholes today and generally, there is a sense of order across town. The town clerk John Gakuo has certainly done his job and should be patted on the back for the effort. The government has invested heavily in infrastructure too. Keep up the good work".
Another blog, Kenyan Entrepreneur asks Who is this guy John Gakuo? It answers itself by saying, he's the Nairobi Town Clerk and every time I scan the Nation newspaper there's somebody praising the good job he is doing.
Recently the Daily Nation 4 January 2007 wrote "Nairobi provides a good example of what can be done in a sustained manner to bring sanity to a council. Getting a strong-willed character like Town Clerk John Gakuo and giving him a free hand to clean the mess in a council has seen the city completely transformed. Most importantly, allowing the systems to work without external interference is the best way to make the council thrive. This is what is required of other urban councils."
The government has also recognised and honoured the good job Gakuo is doing. On 12 December the President Mr Mwai Kibaki awarded him the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) medal for his commitment to service. He said Gakuo's efforts in improving service delivery, corporate governance and the ongoing beautification of the city are commendable. He has ably managed the affairs of the Nairobi City Council with commitment and zeal.
Gakuo is also praised for the transparent and accountable manner he runs the affairs of the city. A look at Nairobi City Website confirms why this man is receiving all the praise. In his message Gakuo gives readers and city residents a summary of what the council under his leadership has done. He says for example, the City of Nairobi is going through a momentous period, where it is faced with the challenge of providing quality services to the fast growing population. However, despite the challenges, the City Council of Nairobi has continued to improve tremendously in service delivery to residents of Nairobi. As most residents would agree, the Council has done quite a lot in restoring the lost glory of Nairobi. But to get the real feel of the happenings you need to read his entire message.
As the Daily Nation has said, other cities and urban council continue to suffer from the effects of mismanagement occasioned by corruption. The problem, however, is not restricted to the councils, numerous other institutions are not performing because of corruption. In a story by Peter Ngare "Wheels of Corruption Ruin Roads" the Daily Nation 4 January 2007, the writer says "rampant corruption in the heavy commercial road transport sub-sector is costing the country billions of shillings in road damage, high cost and loss of lives. Turning a blind eye on overloaded lorries, thanks to fat bribes offered to officers by transport companies."
If one officer like Gakuo can achieve so much, why are others not doing a good job? The answer of course is the calibre and dedication of the officers. Gakuo's success is an eye-opener. Just as we have argued here, the quality of our leaders determines our success or failure. Corrupt leaders cannot bring about success. Leadership both in appointed or elected positions requires clean, dedicated, visionary and hard working people. If we want to succeed we have to choose our leaders carefully and not through tribalism, party lines, friendship, or because someone tells us so. Evaluate what the candidates have done in their previous position no matter how low it was. If a person has not performed as school, church, sports, youth, community, or on other leadership position, he or she should not fool you that they will perform as an MP or councillor. If someone has not performed as an MP there is no way that person will deliver as a President.
In this year of elections our message is Voters be Aware and Vote Wisely.