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MALITI: Public input was little in master plan meetings

It was informative sitting in on one of the public meetings the Nairobi County government organised to discuss the draft master plan.

The county-wide meetings end on Wednesday.

At Jericho Community Centre last week I found a sizeable group of people in attendance.

I got there after officials had made a Powerpoint presentation and participants were lining up for tea and snacks County Hall had laid out for them.

After the tea break, they joined their thematic groups, which were to report their deliberations to the larger gathering.

I listened in on the governance group. Most of its participants were women and people above 50 years old, some grey-haired with walking canes.

They quickly got into what was at the top of their minds: the proposal to build blocks of highrise flats in the Jericho, Maringo, Makongeni areas.

They were concerned about what would happen to them because they had lived in city council houses for decades and been assured that after between 10 to 20 years they would be entitled to own the houses.

But to date they had not heard back from County Hall. Some said they even had cards to prove this.

The public meetings are not meant to resolve anything.

Check list

It is clear though that there is much more that people would want to say. They may even make more informed contributions if they had copies of the draft master plan to refer to and reflect on.

No one in the meeting I attended had a copy of the draft master plan.

It is as if someone at County Hall is in a rush to tick off public participation from a check list.

It seems the quality of public participation does not matter. The master plan is too important a document to be subjected to such a casual approach.

tom. [email protected]