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No, Kenyan governor didn’t order Nairobi’s buildings painted green and yellow

This article is more than 4 years old

A viral story on Kenya’s Ghetto Radio website claims Nairobi governor Mike Sonko has “directed” building owners in the central business district of the capital to repaint their buildings in yellow and green.

They are the colours of the Nairobi city county flag.

The story was posted on Facebook, where it was widely shared. A screenshot has also spread, on Facebook and WhatsApp. One Facebook user who shared the screenshot mused that “Nairobi is about to look like… a clown's pair of socks.”

Nairobi is known as the “green city in the sun”, but did Sonko order property owners to paint their buildings green and yellow?

We checked.

‘Repaint and renovate’

A statement from city hall said the governor directed building owners to repaint and renovate their buildings in line with his government’s efforts to spruce up the city’s image.

“Sonko has said the Nairobi City County Government will now start taking action against property owners who fail to comply with the directive to repaint and renovate their premises in the CBD,” it said.

Other county officials quoted in the statement also refer to renovations, but don’t specify colours.

In a minute-long audio clip that his office shared with Africa Check, the governor can be heard during a city inspection tour on 28 May 2019 urging building owners to comply with the regulation on repainting.

According to the statement, county bylaws require property owners to repaint their premises after every two years.

“We need to partner with all landowners and by repainting all our buildings in Nairobi to make our city look beautiful just like all other great cities in the world,” he said.

‘Our beautiful county colours’

In the clip, he does mention the two colours.

“We are using our beautiful county colours. Our Nairobi County colours are green and yellow… You can see our bollards [short posts] over there are painted with yellow and green… and it looks beautiful,” Sonko is heard saying in the clip.

Does that mean every building in the city will be decked in green and yellow, like the bollards and roundabouts?

The call was for owners to touch up their properties with a fresh coat of paint in whichever colour the buildings were, county director of communication Richard Bosire told Africa Check.

As for the green and yellow, Bosire said, the governor meant that the “county is repainting roundabouts and the bollards using the county colours”.

It is not the first time Sonko has pushed for owners to repaint buildings. He gave a similar directive in March 2018 and again in December 2018.

It is however false that building owners in Nairobi will have to repaint their buildings in green and yellow.


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