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It is your duty as a constituent of a county to pay its rates. Likewise, it is the mandate of the county government to provide essential services to its people. The core functions of the county governments include the following: - Garbage Collection - Cleaning of the town, markets and trading centers - Solid waste and drainage system management - Road maintenance - Maintenance of existing infrastructure - Building and maintaining markets - Street lighting - Approval of development plans - Housing - Provision of recreational facilities - Health and human services (schools, dispensaries -health centers) etc.... As a resident of Kiambu County, I feel that our county government has failed dismally. I want to particularly focus my arguement on Thika Town where I reside. The County government's revenue department is very efficient in the collection of levies and penalties from its residents and business community. Their askaris act as a lynch squad when consficating items from rate defaulters and clamping/towing away vehicles found without parking fee tickets. In simple language, there is no way one will find peace within their jurisdiction if you are a defaulter. However, that is where the story of efficiency ends. Going round the town's residential estates, you will encounter a myriad of challenges these same financiers of the county government have to live with. Tonnes and tonnes of garbage litter allover uncollected. Those who are unable to live with the filth take it upon themselves and assume the role of the county government by employing the services of private garbage collectors, thus paying twice for garbage disposal. Most areas within Thika Town lack a sewerage network. These developers incur heavy costs to dig septic tanks and regularly dispose the solid waste through private waste collectors at further costs. This is despite of the county government charging them for the same. Public toilets are supposed to be an essential facility provided by the county government to its public places. Though they have been made available, this is one 'cash cow' for county MCAs and senior county government employees. Why should a resident pay sh.10 to use a facility of which you pay for in levies and rates? Why shouldn't the county government assign its employees to man and clean them just like it was originally done by the defunct municipal council? This is broad daylight robbery. Public primary schools are supposed to be sponsored by the county government. Long time ago when I schooled in these institutions, the then municipal council paid their bills (water, post office box, electricity etc). They employed subbodinate staff to maintain hygeine within the school environs, wash the toilets and work as office messagers. What happened to all these employees? How can the devolved government claim to sponsor these schools? I remember quite well that our estates were all networked with tarmac roads. They were well lit with street lighting, maintained and paid for by the municipal council. Fast-Forward 2015, the estates are in deplorable and pathetic state. The only evidence left are a few patches of tarmac and neglected electric poles. The famous council houses in Ofafa, Starehe & T.O.D.C. are all neglected some only existing as mere sheds. The estates that came later are just a total mess. No proper planning, very poor drainage, no sewerage lines, no roads or street lighting. When it rains, some of the inhabitants of these areas wade through dirty water into their homes. Some worse cases end up seeking refuge elsewhere till the rains subside for their houses are usually sub-merged in rain water. Thika Level 5 Hospital, all county hospitals, health centres and dispensaries fall under the county government. One thing I would give credit is their streamlining of their services and systems. They have quite improved on hygeine and infrastracture.Unfortunately, the good story ends at that. The staffs' negative attitude towards patients and visitors is still the same or even worse. The only drugs available in the hospitals' pharmacies are those that we buy across the counter for sh.10 or sh100 atmost. All expensive drugs are unavailable. What happens to the consignments the county government claims to procure, I don't know. I won't hesitate to once more to walk down memory lane. There was a time that one didn't have to be accompanied by a relative on admission to hospital so as to take care of them. Nurses did their work of looking after the sick just as it happens in private hospitals. What changed now? If a very sick patient happens to be alone, he depends fellow patients or volunteers to feed and clean him. The only area I think Thika is doing quite well is the provision of clean, safe and adequate water. For that I say Kudos. Otherwise, it is the high time Kiambu residents demanded value for their money. Amkeni kumekucha!

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