I know there is a beatification event in that town today. But something more drastic need to be done to make the town grow. For those not in the know, Nyeri is a small, old-looking and rusty town. It is a one-street town that has remained the same since 80s. For many years, the town has been sustained by two things: being a provincial HQs and serving as the headquarters of Kenya power, mount kenya region. The main reason why Nyeri will not grow is hoarding of land by elite and those who own it and to a lesser extent, crime.
Most of the buildings in Nyeri and the undeveloped plots are owned by a few people. Among them is Ndegwa family and and an othaya cartel led by Kibaki. For those who have been to Nyeri town, that island of old buildings housing kasturi supermarket and family bank belong to ndegwa and also the building housing the consolidated bank among others. The stretch of buildings opposite KCB( from county bar to raybelles) belong to an othaya cartel led by Kibaki. These people have made it very hard for any new person or company to invest or start business in nyeri town. I know people will say there is a new Naivas supermarket. But that building belongs to Kibaki, his son Jimmy and another Nyeri tycoon called Maungu. Actually it is built on a grabbed land that was originally meant for expansion of the bus stage. The council had even gone to court to stop the construction. I am told these people also own a big chunk of naivas supermarket.
Nakumatt wanted to constuct a building for a supermarket but the rich people of Nyeri obstructed this. This was even before nakumatt opened stores in Nanyuki and Meru. Starting a small business even for small people is difficult. The goodwill for tiny shops goes for about 500K. Those able to pay this money see their small businesses collapse after a very short time under the weight of debts and inability to break even. What seems to survive in Nyeri are bars, pubs and butcheries. Nyeri has the highest concentration of bars, if not the highest number of bars and pubs, in Kenya. The stinky ones like benka do much better because they are patronised by old civil servants, teachers and business men.
It is expensive to live in Nyeri despite its small status. A one-bedroomed, poorly finished house goes for about 15K, but even this is hard to find. The shortage of housing in Nyeri is acute, mainly because nobody is willing to sell their plots or land around the town (you know kikuyus and plots). I think the county govermnet should make it very expensive to hoard plots and land in town without any construction in it. … to be continued…
Last weekend nilikuwa nyeri and did not see it as a one way Street town kama Rongai. Tried getting off a mat na karibu kila mtu anipige. Kushuka ni stage. On bar issue in town only got to see two bars. Though their wifi network was a letdown. The only turn off was on Sunday when i came across hawkers literally selling on a tarmac Road ni kama magari hayakimbii Sunday
You must have been to either Eland, White Rhino or Ibis. Those are the main joints in Nyeri town, excluding Ibis. They are mostly empty because they sell beer expensively, especially white rhino. There are other small but trendy bars but are only patronised on friday and saturday.
My pal once went to buy some stuff n his kyuk ascent is different since hes from Kiambu …u know wen he talked the trader hiked the price for commodities…so wen he raised the issue in the office the locals said its always like tht
From my interactions with Nyeri people, it even harder to start a business in Karatina if you come from outside Mathira. Mathira people are very nepotic. When Gachagua, who is from mathira, became governor, all the casual municipal workers in nyeri town were replaced by people from mathira.