As contemporary Kenyans, we continue to ponder over what ever went wrong for the once very beautiful, clean, relatively safe, meticulously-planned and organised model city of Nairobi. When we all reminiscence the past glory of the city, the general question that pops up in everyone’s mind is – ‘why can our city not be just as quiet, humble, simple and stress-free as it was decade back, even only up to the 1980s?’ A city was built from a mere swamp that it was, to a thriving little town as a result of the building of the historic Uganda Railway (1896-1901) as it snaked its way from the ancient sea town of Mombassa to the centre of of East Africa, Kisumu. Today, besides its admirable high-rise skyscrapers, Nairobi’s denizens decrying of countless unnecessary headaches makes one wish that there was a way we could return to the past and replace the present with it.
I personally think that back then, we all worked together – regardless of our differences and status. We trusted the city’s godfathers and they also in turn believed that whatever they came up with, we would all love it. These days, development is overly commercialised and even scandalised. We are divided in all spheres. That is what I believe has been our bane. If we still dream of a Nairobi that it was for almost 7 decades, we can turn that dream into reality and build on the laurels of our historic achievements – only if we learned to co-exist as one, free of politicisation of our affairs. We can one of the most admired cities in the world, sitting pretty in the ranks of even the best of Europe and the Americas, only if we could work hand-in-hand with our leaders and the leaders with us. I have no doubt that if that could happen, nothing could stand in our way back to greatness.