Before Badi: Meet First Military Officer to Rule Nairobi

  • Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director-General Mohamed Badi. On May 16, 2020, he decried the lack of a budget as a crippling issue in Nairobi County.
    Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director-General Mohamed Badi. On May 16, 2020, he decried the lack of a budget as a crippling issue in Nairobi County.
    File
  • Kenyans were taken by surprise when President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Major General Mohammed Badi to take charge of the capital. 

    A dig into the history shows that Nairobi was first ruled by a military person during the colonial government, and  for the same reasons President Kenyatta chose Badi; discipline, efficiency and competence. 

    Colonel John Ainsworth took charge of Nairobi in 1864, when it was nothing more than a swamp with uncoordinated tin shops serving the workers of the railway line. 

    Colonel John Ainsworth
    Colonel John Ainsworth
    File

    With time, the population grew and the semblance of a town started to form, albeit without any planning.

    Ainsworth was tapped from Machakos Town which he had helped establish. From his fort in Machakos, he produced approximately 400,000 pounds of food a year for caravans. 

    A lover of the environment, Ainsworth oversaw the planting of thousands of eucalyptus trees which apart from helping reclaim the swamps which extended to the present day National Archives, helped beautify the city. 

    The colonel, aware of the possible conflict between the Europeans and Africans, divided the area into two; the Westlands which consisted of the leafy suburbs where his compatriots had already started settling down, and Eastlands, for African. 

    The downside to this is that Eastlands was not prioritised in terms of the overall town plan, which explains the unplanned settlements.

    The first roads were demarcated in 1900 when Nairobi was incorporated as a township.  

    Like Badi, Ainsworth got rid of the informal tin structures in Nairobi and laid the foundation for the development of permanent structures 

    Plans were properly laid out to have business premises assessed to enable a taxation rate to be fixed and adopted. 

    The funds procured would go towards forming a police force, a system of street lighting and conservancy purposes.

    His first budget was about 7,161 rupees which when converted and adjusted for inflation, was Ksh 150,000. 

    Fast forward to 2020, and armed with a budget running into more than Ksh30 billion shillings, only time will tell whether Badi was the best choice to run the city. 

    Nairobi Metropolitan Service Director General Mohammed Badi (Blue Berret) and Parklands MCA Jayedra Malde (In a white shirt) pictured at a construction site in Parklands, Nairobi. July 13, 2020.
    Nairobi Metropolitan Service Director-General Mohammed Badi (Blue Berret) and Parklands MCA Jayedra Malde (In a white shirt) pictured at a construction site in Parklands, Nairobi. July 13, 2020.
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