The second City Residents Convention aimed at seeking solutions to the problem of insecurity in Nairobi kicked off on Monday with calls for greater participation from leaders and citizenry in enhancing safety.
The three day convention titled “Towards A Safer Nairobi - Crime Prevention in the Age of Insecurity” was organized as part of the joint Safer Nairobi initiative between the Safer Cities programme of UN-HABITAT and the City Council of Nairobi. The convention seeks to review the implementation of the Nairobi Crime Prevention and Urban Safety Strategy.
Kenya’s Local Government minister Musikari Kombo officially launched the convention with the announcement that plans were underway to set up a Metropolitan Police unit, aimed at boosting security in the city. “The unit will ensure that Nairobi as an international centre is safe,” the minister said. The planned unit would go in tandem with plans to boost community policing which the minister said had shown impressive results.
Mr. Kombo revealed that some of the city by-laws which he described as archaic would be reviewed to enhance service delivery to city residents. Many residents have queried the city’s inspectorate department’s handling of hawkers as well as handling of what are deemed illegal structures.
In her speech, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka said there was an urgent need to step up efforts to ensure safer environment in Nairobi adding that people and institutions must share the vision of a safe city. A safe city could not be achieved through gated compounds and walled residences but rather through dialogue and interaction, she said.
Mrs. Tibaijuka introduced Tim Challen, a UN employee who was shot by robbers in Nairobi but has turned his misfortune round and has just come from an expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness on the crime situation in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
Since 2001, the Government of Kenya through its Ministry of Local Government and the City Council of Nairobi have been engaged in the development and implementation of a citywide crime prevention and urban safety strategy. UN-HABITAT has provided technical support, and UNDP, financial support.
The UNDP country representative Paul Andre De La Porte appealed to the government to involve the people in reforming the city while in a speech read on his behalf, Nairobi Mayor Dick Wathika said his council was keen on winning the fight against crime.