Ahmed Mohamed Asmali popularly known as the “Mayor of Eastleigh” is a Kenyan businessman and owner of Asmali Media. He has been a pivotal member of the Somali community in Nairobi County and other parts of the country.
He is renowned among the Eastleigh business community and is an active leader, hence the reference, “Mayor of Eastleigh”.
Eastleigh is known for the busy streets, shopping malls, one of Nairobi’s best clothing shopping hubs, blocked sewer lines, and littered streets among others. To change the face of one of the busiest business hubs in the country, Asmali has been a resilient advocate for reforms in the area.
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As a result, he is now an Eastleigh Business Community Executive Member and a renown social influencer.
During a previous interview with Citizen Digital, Asmali stated that the journey to reforming Eastleigh has not been easy and credited residents of the area for the relentless push for better services from the County Government of Nairobi.
“Eastleigh had the challenge of piled garbage, poor state of roads, blocked sewerage and insecurity which impacted negatively to the businesses therein.
“This has, however, changed with the county government responding positively to our call for better services,” he said.
Asmali took his campaigns to social media as well in a push for reforms in the Nairobi estate.
“I first started pushing for better service through the hash tag #EastleighNeglected because we thought it was unfair for Eastleigh, which accounts for 30 per cent of Nairobi County revenue, to be left in a deplorable state,” he said.
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“This campaign changed to #EastleighRising when we started witnessing a response from the county government to our calls,” he added.
Asmali is behind numerous campaigns in the area including #EastleighShutdown which was aimed at flashing hawkers out of the streets. During this campaign, businesses closed for three days as they urged the County Government of Nairobi to act on the rising number of street hawkers in the estate.
According to the Eastleigh Mayor, the move was necessitated by the disruption street hawking had caused to their businesses. By setting shop at their doorsteps, the business community argued that hawkers had cut their businesses off from customers.
He is also the founder and organiser of Eastleigh Business Summit which offers a platform for businessmen and women in the area to showcase their products to potential clients and customers. He believes that Eastleigh has one of the best business communities not only in Kenya but also in Africa.
Eastleigh is known for its low-cost products which have attracted clients from across the country.
On what is behind the low cost of prices, Asmali explained, “beside competition as a factor in determining the price of goods in Eastleigh, business people focus on selling their good in high quantity thus making the prices low. The cost of renting a shop is also not as high as other areas thus leading to low prices.”
By utilising his influence within the community and social media presence, Asmali has contributed to social change in Eastleigh and is a known philanthropist.
The Jomo Kenyatta Foundation beneficiary notes that relentlessly pushing for reforms in Eastleigh is a way of giving back to his community.
Asmali has over 411,000 followers on Twitter and notes that while others use social media negatively, he opts to use it as a platform of impacting the society by effecting social change.
“Kenyans on Twitter are very generous. When they were called upon to help the family of Salah Abdow Farah, the man who shielded non-Muslims during the Mandera bus terror attack, they responded and contributed over Ksh600,000 which was given to his widow.”
“Terrorists are hell-bent on creating a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims, but through anti-radicalization crusades we have been able to tame such schemes especially in Eastleigh where attacks had become rampant,” he said.
“There are countless cases where the main media has had to follow-up on stories that were first highlighted on Twitter thus showing has fast the media trends are changing,” he said.
“Twitter has also helped put some government officials on the spot over corruption allegations or ineptitude in service delivery.”
Asmali believes that youth in the country have a huge role to play towards Kenya’s development. He advices the youth to be vocal on issues affecting their lives and be active in trying to get what they deserve.
“Times are changing. Instead of Kenyans asking what the government is doing for them, they should ask what they are doing for the government.”
“There are several opportunities available that the youth could use to improve their livelihoods and effect change in society. They should play their part.”
Asmali is the owner of Asmali Media, a PR and communications company that handles advertising and events management.
He is active in the country’s political scene and had declared the intention to contest the Kamukunji parliamentary seat before he shelved his ambitions in favour of the incumbent.
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