25 January 2013

Kenya: Campaign Posters Turn Tourist Haven Into Environmental Eyesore

Mombasa is a favourite destination for holidaymakers from all parts of the globe. However, as Kenyans gear up for the March 4 elections, the town - like other major towns of the country - has been turned into a rainbow as campaign posters of various colours are plastered all over the city.

The posters, flyers, banners, placards and other campaign materials have been distributed along sidewalks, fences, walls, trees, bus stops, private and public doorways as well as public toilets.

In an effort to popularise themselves, aspirants have splashed money around and conducted road shows that have set many tongues wagging as such extravagance has never been seen before in Mombasa politics.

Kenyans are waiting to vote in the first elections since the promulgation of the new Constitution in 2010 and many people have showed interest in contesting for various posts on offer.

Aspirants for governor have taken the game a notch higher by mounting light boxes, huge billboards and even paid up documentaries on TV to sell their candidature.

Though a tiny county which can easily be accessed by road, some aspirants are using helicopters to move from one point to the other in an attempt to intimidate their rivals.

Within the port city alone, the campaign expenditure is expected to run into hundreds of millions of shillings.

Despite the colourful display, the posters have become an eyesore. Tourists and locals are complaining that Mombasa is going to the dogs as posters have littered the town. The posters have also been turned into sleeping material for street families.

The same is the case in Nairobi. This has forced a local NGO has sue the City Council and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for failing to control the distribution of campaign posters across the capital city.

In an application certified urgent by Justice David Majanja, Rongai Environmental Action has asked the court to issue a declaration barring IEBC from receiving nomination papers from candidates who have littered the city with posters.

An official, John Ochola, says councils and IEBC had failed to take effective action to control the proliferation of posters or measures that may lead to the restoration of the environment.

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