Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi has ordered an immediate cleanup of Nairobi, a once-manageable city that is bursting at the seams.
"There are chances that Nairobi could soon be hit by plague and other disease like cholera and typhoid if it is not cleaned," Moi warned in comments published in newspapers Saturday.Moi returned Friday from a U.N. conference on improving cities to a capital of mounting piles of garbage, unlit streets, disintegrating roads, rampant armed robbery, and city leaders who seem unable to deal with any of the problems.
Mayor John King'ori told reporters recently that the fast-growing city of more than 1 million has neither garbage trucks nor fuel to run them, despite a service fee that the city assiduously collects from all residents.
The mayor was among the welcoming committee at the airport Friday that applauded Moi's order to send unemployed people in a national youth service project to pick up the trash.
Although Moi ordered King'ori to "take charge, have the authority and face the problems," he named former defense attache Col. Frank-lin Roosevelt Nziga to lead the cleanup.
At his speech Wednesday to the Istanbul conference on urban problems, Moi urged world action to deal with rapid urban growth, particularly in African cities.
While Moi was in Turkey, much of downtown Nairobi was without running water because of distribution problems, while torrential rains turned city streets into rivers of mud.