The city in the sun is no more. The place for cool drinking water has long dried up. It is now replaced by open sewage, traffic jams, garbage, noise, city council askaris and donkey meat. Previously, these things used to be a preserve of the sprawling slums such as Kawangware and Kibera. However, some of that chaos is now spreading to upmarket areas such as Kileleshwa and Upperhill.
The problems that Nairobians encounter are so many that a Nairobian typically looks much older than his age due to everyday stress. For its strategic location in the region, Nairobi should perform much better. One gets a feeling that Nairobians have somehow resigned themselves to fate; and that the leadership of the city has been left to the chair throwing councillors.
With the enactment of the new constitution, Nairobi has a chance for a fresh start, to be a bustling metropolis that is the centre of commerce in Africa. For those who have travelled wide, they get a feeling that there is something uniquely different about Nairobi.
Nairobians somehow seem one step ahead of the game; everyone seems in a hurry. It's one of the reasons that the East African community project has hit a cropper. Fear of domination, especially on the part of Tanzanians, that Kenyans-read Nairobians- will somehow dominate their respective countries.
When Google was looking for headquarters for its African operations, it didn't go to Johannesburg, the continent's financial capital and which accounts for just about 10 per cent of Africa's GDP. It settled on Nairobi. General Electric and a host of other multinationals too use Nairobi as the entry point to the region, if not in Africa. Perhaps, they have seen something which we can't seem to see.
The Nairobi governor would in effect be the chief executive of the county. The budget that (s)he will command will be enormous. With Nairobi accounting for close to half of Kenya's GDP, it would require a special person with prudent management skills to move it forward.