Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Numbering Kenya

I know its tough to be thinking out of the box right now when it seems we can't even do the basics. Like feeding ourselves. But thinking about it, isn't part of the problem that we don't have a full grasp of the food security issue? Where did the 10m figure come from? Was it made up as a ruse to attract international attention or is it known from figures? How does a planner WORKing in city hall plan how many rubbish collectors there should be in various parts of Nai on various days when he/she doesn't know how many occupied houses he is dealing with?

How do u plan? Start simply. Do you know that by law every piece of land in Kenya has to be adjacent to a road or path? So if you wanted to plan, you’d pass a law saying that every piece of land and or building must have a number attached to it. There is nothing original about the idea. UK, US, Canada and most of Europe operate this way. Even the billion full China does it this way.
Given the pin was more complex and was implemented fairly seamlessly, this should be a dodo but with greater economic benefits. Having a number on each property will be a step change in planning. You can easily say 1-250 on Ngong Road don't have piped water or electricity. Number 5, 15 on Runda Grove are apartments. Number such as and such on Othaya Road have reported attempted break ins and then plan how many cops you need to be walking around the area.

Right now, you hear GoK saying there 10m people who are hungry. In which districts, divisions? The 8 lane Thika road is a good idea, but when do they plan to do Ngong Road, Mombasa Road or even Lang’ata Road all which may need the same numbers lanes? But who knows given nobody has any idea of the number of cars going thru any of these roads?
How about the step-change in the distribution system especially in the big towns where population thresholds allow for profitable distribution systems for newspapers, post, milk and other products with short shelf-life.
It may not seem as life changing, but if we can't the big stuff, we can start small...


bankelele said...

You probably won’t believe but there was a building numbering program led by Dr Alf Mutua about two years ago – and all building in downtown Nairobi now have numbered (at the entrances) with numbers like ‘29’ or ’44’ (but which hardly anyone uses or knows about). They don’t tie up with street signs however so a building is just ‘29’ instead of 29 koinange street (as it would be in the US)

On land, that is another mess altogether. When I was in Kampala it was impressive to see plots of land, idle/ under construction with the land registration number (L.R/plot No). identified on signboards, here you can hardly know what the L.R. number is unless you hire a surveyor to map it out

On numbers, you’re right – the Government, NGO’s , politicians are fond of making these up, and the media chew & spit them out without verification. This road will cost 12 billion, 10 million are starving 6 million have AIDS etc.

MainaT said...

Banks-tx. When I put some of these posts, I think they give the impression of some westernised Kenyan. Yet some things are as obvious as noses...

Mystery Shopper said...

I wholeheartedly agree.

Its not even necessarily a 'west' thing. Harare has a great numbering system (or did as of two years ago...don't know if that has changed)...though thats probably more the white man's legacy rather than Comrade Bob's.

Generally, I prefer to make decisions based on numbers....I once tried asking a salesman at Subaru Kenya what the approximate running cost per km for one of their vehicles was and he didn't know...I tried asking approximate cost per page for printers..again no printer sales people could answer me...we seem to operate in a society that takes comfort in vagueness...probably because embracing numbers would prove many claims to be false.

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