By EVELYNE MUSAMBI
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has ignored warnings from the weatherman on imminent heavy rains that will pound the city from October through to December.
Two weeks to the expected flooding, the city’s drainage is still clogged despite early warnings by the Kenya Meteorological Department of unusually high rainfall.
Underground drain lines in the city centre are heavily silted following decades of neglect, while manholes are clogged with solid waste.
Flooding hotspots like South C, Ruai, Thome and parts of Kasarani drainages have not been attended to and drainages there are filled with plastic waste and vegetation.
During the March rains, Governor Sonko apologised to Nairobians for the unclogged drainage, but blamed Evans Kidero’s led administration for misappropriating funds meant for the same.
“Rains are supposed to be a blessing and not a curse. Towards this end, my government has hit the ground running to mitigate against the adverse effects we have seen since the rains started. As a start, I have today directed the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company to hasten the process of unlocking the drainage system all over the county.
“In the same vein, I am shocked that some Sh10 billion set aside by the previous administration for unblocking the drainage system did not go to the intended use but ended up in the pockets of some unscrupulous characters,” he wrote on Facebook.
The directive was never enforced.
During the same month, Nairobi’s Roads and Infrastructure County Executive Mohamed Dagane said the county had allocated Sh32 million for improvement of drainage system in the county.
The money was meant for procuring additional equipment as well as paying casuals who would unclog drainages across the county.
In April, the county government received drainage unclogging machines from the Ministry of Transport and Urban Development.
The cabinet secretary John Macharia, during the handover ceremony, said the equipment was part of the World Bank-funded Nairobi Metropolitan Services Improvement Project (NAMSIP) worth Sh500 million in which 75 per cent of the funds (Sh375,000) have been allocated to Nairobi to solve its drainage problem.
No works have been carried out yet.