Governor Mike Sonko Takes Over Public Toilets

  • Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko successfully took over public toilets after facing fierce resistance from the operators.

    On Wednesday morning, police took over 68 public toilets in the city with 17 of them located within the Central Business District.

    A court order which was seen by directed police to provide backup to Nairobi County government until a petition before the court is heard.

    The order read: "The officers commanding stations at Central and Kamukunji police stations to provide backup to the Ist defendants officers to ensure compliance with the court order."

    [caption caption="Police officers manning a public toilet"][/caption]

    It further stated: "... effect the order by preventing criminal gangs from taking over the suit premises pending hearing and determination of this suit or further orders of this court."

    The toilet industry in Nairobi rakes in more than a billion shillings every year which is controlled by a few groups and individuals that operate like cartels.

    A single toilet in the CBD and markets, that charges Ksh10 per visit, can garner as much as Ksh30,000 a day while those in the estates raise between Ksh1,000 and Ksh3,000.

    From 63 public toilets, it was estimated that more than Ksh1.9 million got collected every day translating to Ksh56.7 million in a month and more than Ksh680 million in a year.

    The 517 private ones, with an average daily collection of Ksh2,000, bring in Ksh1 million every day, over Ksh31 million every month and Ksh372 million in a year.

    [caption caption="A public toilet in Nairobi County"][/caption]

    It is argued that this money explains why the sector was fiercely guarded with even politicians once in a while being roped in to protect the operators.

    The toilets are managed by individuals, youth groups, women groups and the Central Business Hawkers Association while some are run by supporters of influential city politicians, who “constructed” several toilets years back.

    In March, more than 300 armed youths attempted to forcibly take over five toilets at Muthurwa market, OTC and bus station but they were stopped by police.