Nairobi News


Water cartels in this day and age? Ridiculous!

It has become a way of life for the typical Nairobian to buy water from the thousands of vendors who have set up bases in almost every city estate.

Authorities have always been quick to blame the perennial water shortage in the capital on low levels in the dams that feed Nairobi.

Whenever this happens, the authorities, whether the defunct Nairobi City Council or the firm charged with providing residents with water, Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company, will resort to the all-too-common water rationing campaign which entails whole estates receiving water on specific days of the week and going without for the rest.

In some parts of Nairobi, the taps flow only at night and go dry during the day.

It is not uncommon to hear Nairobians telling how they remain awake the whole night to collect water.

What authorities do not want to admit is the existence of powerful cartels that control not only the supply of water but all manner of services in the county.

So powerful and entrenched are these cartels that no authority dares interfere with their illegal trade. The water cartels are largely responsible for the frequent disconnection and even outright vandalism of water pipes.

In most slums, these cartels control the supply not only of water but also electricity to households.

They are in charge of security in their areas and force each household to pay for their services. The cartels are a law unto themselves and exact severe punishment on those who refuse to cooperate.

It is very likely that these cartels collude with the authorities, including rogue forces within the security apparatus.

Otherwise how could one explain the impunity with which they go about their illegal business?

Former Nairobi Town Clerk Philip Kisia is on record as admitting that the city is virtually run by these cartels.

Nairobi as the biggest and richest county in the country deserves better than this.

It is high time the County Government streamlined its services and eliminated them.

Nairobians can hold only the County Government to account.

For the residents elected it — and not these faceless, illegal yet ruthless cartels.