The priority given to expensive bricks and motors as solution to fighting cancer shows how little thought goes into the basic needs required to help patients.

PRIORITY

In many cases, basic healthcare is missing in hospitals that go for big buck constructions or equipment.

A hospital that lacks a simple plaster or wheelchair would rather go for expensive curtains and cars as the latter have bigger financial kickbacks attached to them.

The project recently initiated on Mama Ngina Drive in Mombasa is a case in point. Mombasa is one of the counties with a serious shortage of essential services such as water, sewage system, healthcare and rubbish collection.

The need to serve tourists seems to have informed the construction of such an expensive project over the essential needs of the larger population of Mombasa.

If a proper feasibility study was done, I bet the few tourists around Mombasa’s CBD would not have justified such a project.

Mama Ngina Drive could have done with just maintained gardens, drinking water and public toilets.

It was a picnic site since time immemorial and should have stayed that way.

POTABLE WATER

Mombasa, like many parts of Kenya, suffers from prolonged acute water shortage, forcing residents to buy from mikokoteni (handcarts).

Kenyans have also wondered whether we needed oil exploration before water. Water is in such short supply across the country despite it being essential for our survival.

Perennial cholera outbreaks are not caused by witchcraft but due to lack of clean drinking water.

By not focusing on essential necessities, we end up creating situations where individuals who lack basic items for survival being forced to turn to criminal acts to avail such items for themselves.

Alternatively, essential items are used as pawn-chips to exploit vulnerable citizens who can’t access them formally.

Water has now become one such item where criminal gangs control its supply in places like Kibera.

BASIC NEEDS

The mad rush to import thousands of tonnes of maize and sugar from overseas is not inspired by shortage but by huge financial reward to importers despite the threat of such imports to local industries.

Therefore, punishment for corrupt officials should be made stiffer to deter many people from the practice.

The threshold for approval of big projects should be higher than current standards.

Most importantly, funds meant for key necessities for the citizens should be availed and protected to ensure smooth and uninterrupted delivery of key services.

Page 2 of 2