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NMS to clamp down on illegal car washes in city

Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) is set to commence a major crackdown on all illegal car washes operating in Nairobi County.

This follows an outcry by residents over the proliferation of the car wash business across the county with the popular trade extending even to upmarket areas on the capital city.

NMS Director General Major General Mohamed Badi said the plan is to reduce the number of car washes in the city.

He decried the explosion of car washes which he termed as fast-expanding and unregulated and which has found its way to posh areas including Muthaiga, Karen, Lavington and other areas where they should not be.

Mr Badi blamed politicians for being behind the growing menace, accusing various Nairobi County MCAs of being behind the business.

He pointed out that it is the politicians who push the county government to license the car washes as reward for their “boys” who supported them during elections.

“The car washes are many, not only in Ngumo but also in posh areas like Muthaiga, Karen, Lavington where they should not be. It is something political; a kind of payment to boys who probably voted for them,” he said.

As part of plans to control their numbers, the NMS boss said he will reach out to Nairobi County Assembly to reach an agreement on how to rid the county of the car washes.

This, he said, is since Trade is not one of the transferred functions and so they have to rely on the county assembly in order to achieve the plan.

Maj-Gen Badi said that it is the department which issues the licences making clampdown on the car wash businesses difficult as they can sue because they have valid proof of their operations.

Consequently, NMS is left with only the enforcement mandate, which is part of the four transferred county functions, to ensure that the approved by-laws are adhered to.

“We are fighting two-fold; one is to ensure that the rule of law is applied to everyone but in order to enforce, we also have a challenge as these people are licensed by politicians who control the county assembly and set by-laws which allow some of these operations to operate illegally,” he said.

“It is not an easy task since Trade is not a transferred function and a majority of the car washes are owned by the politicians who expect to vote in favour of the process,” added Mr Badi.