Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. PHOTO | COURTESYNairobi Governor Mike Sonko. PHOTO | COURTESY
By JOHN MUTUA, [email protected]

Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko has made a U-turn on his free toilet directive after one week of defiance by private operators.

The governor instead asked the operators to end their internal wrangles and give city residents quality services or risk losing the toilets.

“The governor does not have any interest in the matter, but all he wants is that Nairobi residents get better service delivery, enjoy good facilities that are free from disease outbreak,” read a statement released by the Governor’s office on Tuesday.

SHARP CONTRAST

The statement is in sharp contrast to a declaration that Mr Sonko issued on Wednesday last week, ordering private operators out of the facilities and asking residents to use them for free.

The private operators who pay City Hall Sh6.2 million per month or Sh74.4 million annually had openly defied Mr Sonko and have continued to charge city residents for their services.

Under Toilet Association of Kenya, they questioned the Governor’s directive, saying it could return the facilities to the deplorable state and render hundreds of youths jobless.

68 PUBLIC TOILETS

There are 68 public toilets in the city with 17 located within the central business district and operated under the Public Private Partnership that came into effect in 1999 when the defunct Nairobi City Council engaged business community to find a solution to the deplorable conditions of the facilities.

On Tuesday, Mr Sonko said authorities were investigating issues raised and those found guilty would be held accountable. His change of heart came on the day Huruma Ward MCA, David Okello, filed a notice of Motion seeking to allow youths run and manage the public facilities supervised by the Environment department.