July 25th 2017

Top Stories / Counties

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Sonko can beat Kidero - if he focuses on the basics

While the two politicians are expected to present to Nairobians a catalogue of promises on transforming the city, they should focus on some of the basic problems the city residents face, most of which have grown worse under Dr Kidero.

By Priscillah Wanjirupwanjiru@kenyafreepress.comSunday, 30 Apr 2017 15:33 EAT

Governor Kidero and Senator Sonko.

Now that ODM and Jubilee Party have settled on Governor Evans Kidero and Senator Mike Sonko as their candidates for the Nairobi governorship seat, the two can be expected to resume their tough battles that have seen them brawl publicly over city politics, as happened during a senate committee hearing in June 2016.

While the two politicians are expected to present to Nairobians a catalogue of promises on transforming the city, they should focus on some of the basic problems the city residents face, most of which have grown worse under Dr Kidero.

First of these is rising army of street beggars. Where pedestrians used to think about cars, one now has to mind their steps in the city lest they be hit by a boda boda or run into a beggars. Even the most kind-hearted Nairobians are at a loss how to deal with street beggars; should one give money or not, and if yes, how much and at what interval given that streets are teeming with beggars?

Apart from the beggars, the number of street children is increasing at an alarming rate. Many are the children whom we find all over in the streets, with some disabled. These children used to inhabit the east of Tom Mboya street but now they roam allover, including Kenyatta Avenue and Koinange Street. Some are forcefully imposing themselves as car parking attendants when they is obviously no such role in Nairobi.

While one can think that giving money to such operators is solution to their unemployment, the reality is that it is not. Indeed it could do big harm rather than good to them and society. Some just use the money in buying drugs and food, but the money is a real incentive for them to continue doing what they do, which is create non-existent public jobs and demand money from the city residents.

According to me, this issue of handing money to street people should be banned by the government because giving out money could not be the best way to help the child either. If a person feels that he or she is generous enough he should provide money to a local children’s home or even a church which will help these children.

I believe that Sonko can make a big difference by proposing simple ways of addressing this issue. If Sonko can figure out a way to begin addressing the street families' issue comprehensively, he would get maximum votes. The same applies to the hawkers, garbage collection, and other ills.

Given that Mr Kidero has been in office for five years, he would be hard-pressed to offer an alternative to whatever plan Sonko presents.

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