Experts Explain Why Kenya's Capital City, Nairobi, Must Relocate

  • A businessman last week came out in the open and exuded confidence that he would trounce President Uhuru Kenyatta in the much awaited 2017 General Election. Cliff Mboya also declared that upon being elected President, he would move Kenya's capital from Nairobi to Isiolo.

    The idea of moving the Capital City is what caught the attention of many who wondered whether it was even possible.

    Though Mr Mboya's proposal may seem outrageous to the ordinary citizen, he actually borrowed his idea from Kenya's biggest project – Vision 2030.

    "We will roll out immediate plans to move State House to the new capital as proposed in the vision 2030 agenda. We will nominate our cabinet secretaries before assuming office and they will be known to the public," Mboya noted. sought to find out why this suggestion that would leave Kenya's Capital in any other random town category was made in the first place.

    In 2007, the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) recommended that Kenya ought to shift its capital from Nairobi as the "master plan for the city that guided its development had expired".

    According to AAK, the relocation of Nairobi was imperative because the Capital was never built to accommodate the tremendous growth it had seen.

    AAK Chairman Gideon Mulyungi highlighted that “roads serving Nairobi are too narrow to contain the kind of population explosion being witnessed in the city. The cost of housing in Nairobi has also shot up leading to high inflation because demand for housing has outstripped supply and now needs immediate measures that will forestall the rapid and unplanned growth”.

    At that time, Mr Mulyungi urged Kenya to emulate countries like South Africa, Nigeria and Tanzania that had decentralised administrative capitals and relocated them to adjacent areas.

    At the same time, the National Convention Executive Council (NCEC) CEO Cyprian Orina made the same proposal stating that the Capital should move to Isiolo because "Nairobi has no future prospects for development. It has diminished imaginative thinking and institutionalised exclusion of the rest of the country".

    According to the Vision 2030, Isiolo was set put as one of the cities to be developed into resort cities which will have 5-star hotel facilities, national parks, golf courses, leisure parks theatres and amusement parks.

    Also, the Isiolo Airport was foreseen as one of the projects to set apart the county.

    Whether this proposal will ever be actualized remains a matter to wait and see, as on Thursday Senate Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura published a Bill that seeks to change the Constitution to remove Nairobi from the list of Counties.

    The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, which is set to be introduced for discussion in the Senate, will transfer the management of the City to the National Government.

    According to the new proposal, Nairobi will be established as a National Capital City with the President being mandated to nominate a Cabinet Secretary to manage it.

    “There shall be a National Capital City known as Nairobi which shall be the seat of the National Government,” reads the Bill.

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