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Nairobians can now enter restaurants, drink free water and leave

Nairobi County Assembly has passed a controversial motion to allow residents to drink water at any hotel or restaurant in the county whenever they feel like it.

Roysambu Member of County Assembly Sospeter Mumbi says that his motion seeks to emphasise the rights of every person to access clean and safe water in adequate quantities as envisaged in Article 42 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

According to the member, some of the public areas that were designed to provide free clean drinking water to residents within the county are no longer working, raising concern over the rights of residents whenever they are in town doing their work.

“Part Two of the Fourth Schedule to the constitution provides for county public works and services including water and sanitation services as a function of the County Government; cognisant that the County has various public areas that were designed to provide free clean drinking water to residents within the County; concerned that such designated areas stalled and are no longer in operation,” Mr Mumbi said.

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He said that to ensure that the right to access clean water is reinstated, hotels, restaurants and eateries around the town should open their doors to residents to get free clean water.

In his argument, the member said that most hotels and restaurants do not provide free clean, drinking water to their customers, hence infringing their rights.

“This Assembly urges the County Executive to develop a policy compelling hotels and restaurants across the county to provide free and clean drinking water to clients at their premises,” Mr Mumbi said.

Further, the motion will ask the county government to rehabilitate the existing stalled public points designed to provide free and clean drinking water to the residents of Nairobi City County.

During the debate, some of the members argued that the motion should be recalled and allow the members to rework it since it would interfere with the private businesses in the county.

Karura Ward MCA Kamau Thuo said that it would be impossible to enforce the motion once it is implemented by the county, despite the constitution stating that every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment.

“I’m opposing this motion because part two is misplaced and cannot be enforced even if we use the GSU officers or recce squad. It cannot be enforced,” Mr Thuo said.

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While dismissing Mr Thuo’s argument, the mover of the motion stated that hotels, and restaurants in the county must comply with some of the requirements whenever they are renewing their operation license, among which should be availing clean water to residents.

“Even for hotels, for them to access a license, the first condition that is set is that they must be able to confirm or assure the government that they are able to facilitate that particular right to the people.”

He stated that enforcing the law will be a matter that should be handled by the executive side through the inspectorate department.

The motion was supported by the majority of the members during the sitting and now awaits implementation from Governor Johnson Sakaja.