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No, residents of Nairobi county, Kenya won’t have to pay advertising fees for their cars

IN SHORT: The high cost of living in Kenya is already cause for public concern. Are residents of the capital about to be hit with more charges? No, a memo to that effect was an April Fool's joke.

Residents of Kenya's capital city, Nairobi, will soon have to pay an advertising fee for any vehicle with wording on it that reveals its model or manufacturer.

That's the claim made in an internal memo that appears to be from the Nairobi county government and was posted to Twitter by a Kenyan senator with more than 1 million followers.

“All vehicles with any form of advertising on them, will now have to pay the statutory advertising fees as prescribed by the Council,” the memo reads.

“Whereas branded vehicles have been paying, this bracket has now been expanded to include any vehicle that has any form of wording or signage that promotes a product.”

This, it adds, includes:

  • “Sold by XXX motors”
  • Any signage that states car make or model, for example “Toyota” or “BMW” 
  • Any wording that denotes a car make or model, for example “Toyota Corolla”
  • Any wording that denotes the specifics of the vehicle, for example “GLE”, “4WD”, “BlueTEC” or “Hybrid”

The memo appears to have been signed by the county government’s chief implementation officer, Major (Rtd) Hezborne Ogombeson. 

It says that the new fees will be “KSh 1,250 per advert, per annum, per vehicle” and come into effect on 15 April 2023.

This post was also published here and here. Are Nairobians about to be charged extra, just for having a car?


April fool’s hoax

A Twitter user asked the governor of Nairobi, Johnson Sakaja, about the memo.

The question read: “Bazuu @SakajaJohnson mnavuta nini huko City Hall?” 

This translates from Kiswahili as: “Big man @SakajaJohnson what are you guys smoking at City Hall?”

Sakaja simply responded “01.04.23” and let his followers figure out for themselves that they’d been pranked.

April Fools’ Day is celebrated around the world on 1 April, when practical jokes and pranks are the order of the day. Nairobians can breathe a sigh of relief.

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