8 Common Nairobi Laws You Break Everyday

A photo of Uhuru Park in Nairobi County on June 2023
A photo of Uhuru Park in Nairobi County on June 2023
Johnson Sakaja

Nairobi consistently features among the top African cities in global rankings.

Despite not being as developed as other global cities like London, Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo, the city under the sun often holds its own, never seeming out of place alongside elite companies. 

Achieving and maintaining such status necessitates the rigorous enforcement of regulations and laws that govern the behaviour of both residents and visitors exploring the capital city.

Nevertheless, a number of these regulations remain relatively obscure, leading some locals to blatantly violate them in their daily lives. 

What most people don't know is that these laws are clearly spelled out on the official Nairobi County website, nairobi.go.ke.

An aerial view of a section of the Nairobi CBD
An aerial view of a section of the Nairobi CBD

When boarding a matatu or bus at the terminus, it's important to observe the stipulated rules, which include forming orderly queues as outlined by the laws. 

Further, it is important to enter the vehicle solely through its designated door. 

Regrettably, such safety measures are sometimes disregarded, particularly by touts and people attempting risky stunts on the road.

Additionally, traveling in an overloaded vehicle is strictly prohibited, and both PSV drivers and passengers who abet the Kenyan habit of sitting in undesignated areas are in violation of this regulation.

Moreover, it is against the rules to engage in spitting or littering while in Nairobi. To facilitate compliance, the county government has installed numerous bins throughout the county for convenient disposal.

In July 2022, the Suitable Waste Management Act was enacted into law under the leadership of former President Uhuru Kenyatta. 

The legislation imposes stringent penalties on individuals failing to properly manage waste. Offenders can face fines ranging from a minimum of Ksh2 million to a maximum of Ksh4 million or a prison sentence lasting not less than four years.

"Any person whose activities generate waste ensures that the waste is transferred to a person who is licensed to transport and dispose of the waste in accordance with the law," reads part of the act.

Further, creating disturbances through street noise is considered an offense in Nairobi, with the regulation also prohibiting the ownership of pets or animals that cause a nuisance to fellow residents.

Additionally, it is against the rules to engage in activities such as playing, riding, or driving on footpaths, a practice sometimes observed among young children.

If you find yourself in Nairobi County and urgently need to use a restroom but can't locate a facility nearby, it's important to refrain from relieving yourself on the street, as this is considered a punishable offense.

Moreover, the act of bargaining or making purchases from street hawkers in undesignated areas is discouraged by the County Government.

Notably, in November 2022, Governor Johnson Sakaja implemented a ban on hawking activities on city footbridges. This decision aimed to mitigate crime within the capital and alleviate congestion on these pedestrian walkways.

"If you want a space for trade, then we will find you one but not in a public utility like footbridges and flyovers," he stated. 

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja speaking on Wednesday July 5, 2023
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja speaking on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.
Johnson Sakaja