Nairobi Public toilets is a multi-million shilling business venture controlled by powerful individuals who run and manage these cash cows. These toilets, which are strategically located in different parts of the city, charge individuals Ksh 10 bob in order to use the facilities.
Here is the story of how Nairobi businessmen make millions from running these toilets.
The county government of Nairobi has a total of 150 public toilets with each making a daily income of Ksh 10,000 as reported by a local online news outlet. Combined, the 150 toilets in Nairobi collectively rake in up to Ksh 45 million per month.
As of the end of 2019, Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) alone had a total of 62 public toilets which translated to a whooping Ksh 620,000 a day and amounting to around Ksh 18 million every month.
Running Public Toilets
These Public toilets are managed by a few organized individuals who control everything from paying the staff to maintenance and cleaning costs.
In order to get a public toilet, one is expected to pay a monthly rental fee of Ksh 20,000 and cater for water and electricity bills to ensure the place is up and running.
In an interview with one of the local dailies, Iko Toilet owner David Kuria revealed that his chain of four toilets in Nairobi CBD would earn him Ksh 40,000 every single day.
His fierce competitor Tom Makale of Alika, made Ksh 70,000 every day from his chain of seven public toilets. However, this is not the maximum amount one can make from these toilets.
Some of the businessmen behind successful toilets that are strategically placed are said to be taking home as much as Ksh 1.8 million every month.
The Fight between the County government and the toilet ‘cartels’
The fight over control of Nairobi’s public toilets has been going on for quite some time now. On October 19th 2020, the businessmen dubbed ‘cartels’ behind Nairobi’s public toilets were engaged in running battles with police officers and county workers over the management of the facilities.
The police were forced to use teargas to stop the fight between the owners of the toilet chains and the county government of Nairobi.
In July 2018, the then Nairobi governor Mike Sonko had revealed that the county would reclaim the ownership of the toilets claiming that most of the handlers did not have valid agreements and contracts to enable them run the facilities.
The notice sparked resistance from the businessmen and resulted into a fierce battle between the owners and the county government which continues till date.
“We are the people who constructed these toilets, but when Governor Mike Sonko’s government assumed office, the county workers were forcefully coming to take over our facilities,” said Wangechi Simba who is one of the owners of the facilities.
On the other hand, the county government of Nairobi claimed that the toilet owners had not signed any contract or agreement whatsoever with the county and therefore they needed to surrender the facilities back to the county.