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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. Among the core functions of the county government include the following:- Garbage Collection (Cleaning of the town), markets and trading centres, Solid waste and drainage system management, Road and existing infrastructure maintenance, Building and maintaining markets - Street lighting, Approval of development plans, Housing, Provision of recreational facilities, Health and human services (schools, dispensaries -health centres) etc.... 

As a resident of Kiambu County, I feel that our county government has failed dismally. I want to particularly focus my argument 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 confiscating and impounding items from rate defaulters, clamping and towing away vehicles found without parking fee tickets etc. In simple language, there is no way one will find peace within their jurisdiction if they are rate defaulters. 

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 all over 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 are forced to incur heavy costs digging septic tanks and regularly disposing the solid waste through private waste collectors. 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? Isn't this is broad daylight robbery?

Public primary schools are supposed to be sponsored by the county government as evident even in their signboards which bear the defunct Municipal Council of Thika Logo. Long time ago when I schooled in these institutions, the then municipal council paid their bills (water, post office box, electricity etc). They employed subordinate staff to maintain hygiene within the school environs, wash the toilets and work as office messengers. What happened to all these employees? How can the devolved government still claim to sponsor these schools?

Who doesn't remember how well our residential estates were all networked with tarmac roads? They were also well lit with street lighting, maintained and paid for by the then Municipal Council of Thika. Fast-Forward 2015, the estates are in deplorable and pathetic state. The only evidence left of their long lost glory 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 sprouted later are just a total mess. No proper planning, very poor drainage, no sewerage lines, no defined road network or street lighting. Whenever 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. This begs the question; Does the county government still have a town planning and engineering department? If it still exists, what is is role then?

Within the CBD, parking is a nightmare. One can hardly secure parking space for their vehicles. Traffic jams have now become our trademark where some of our roads have been turned into forced parking bays. That being the sole responsibility of the county planning department, shows failure or lack of vision for those responsible. A good town planners sees 100 years ahead and starts the journey now.

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 hygiene and infrastructure too. Unfortunately, the good story just 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 at most. All expensive drugs are unavailable. What happens to the consignments the county government claims to procure, nobody knows. 

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 taking care of the sick just as it happens in private hospitals. What changed now? If a very sick patient happens to be alone, he/she is left at the mercy of fellow patients or volunteers to feed and clean them. This begs the question, why then are patients charged for services at these facilities? 

The only area I think Thika is doing quite well is the provision of clean, safe and adequate water. Obtaining a business license and also setting up shop in Thika too is quite easy compared to other places. County government services within the CBD and the neighbouring estates is above board too. For that I say Kudos. 

In this fiscal year, Kiambu County Government procured 72 state-of-art vehicles, promising prompt and quality service delivery. Ward administrators are now littered all over the place. The national treasury just released its share of the county's allocation, not forgetting that each day, we are topping up this money through rates and levies. I also believe that three years down the line is enough time for the county administration to have learnt the nitty gritties of the new devolved system. This is enough reason for Kiambu residents to start demanding value for their money. For the next two years to the next polls, the Kiambu taxpayer demands nothing less but the best value for their hard earned cash.

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