Kenya: Nairobi Residents to Use Public Toilets Within CBD for Free

Nairobi residents will now be able to access public toilets in Nairobi's central business district (CBD) free of charge ahead of the issuance of new operation guidelines next week.

This after the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) took over the management of the facilities from the hands of private entities.

The Major General Mohamed Badi-led administration said National Youth Service (NYS) officers have been deployed across the facilities to man the toilets.

"Yes, NMS has taken over all the public toilets in the CBD and we closed them yesterday for renovation. Public toilets are meant to be free. The National Youth Service will be deployed at the public toilets," said NMS.

According to NMS, a roadmap on how the toilets will be managed will be made public in the coming week.

A public notice plastered on the toilets read: "Kindly note all public toilets have been closed due to security reasons. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused. Ordered by NMS."

Running of public toilets is a highly charged business that has perennially attracted running battles from different groups fighting for control over the facilities.

Politicians, private toilet proprietors, and youth groups have been at the centre of tug of war for the control of the multi-million industry.

It is estimated that a single toilet is able to make at least Sh15,000 a day after deduction of operational expenditure with residents charged between Sh5 and Sh10 depending on the service sought.

Nairobi city centre plays host to more than 18 public toilets which have found themselves under the management of private entities after being sub-contracted by the county government.

Though there is no reliable data, City Hall said there are 68 public toilets in the city with 18 located within the CBD.

The facilities are operated under the public-private partnership that came into effect in 1999 when the defunct Nairobi City Council engaged the business community to find a solution to the deplorable conditions of the facilities.

Many others were privatised during the regime of Nairobi's first governor Evans Kidero with the former governor saying they lacked capacity to run them.

To regain their investment, the operators were allowed to charge a small fee from residents to use the toilets.

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