By Jevans Nyabiage
Gachiengo said he would have wished to join the former Town Clerk Philip Kisia in celebrating City Hall’s new ISO status, but he just couldn’t. He isn’t convinced that the council deserves one.
“What do these ‘certifiers’ look for before bestowing the supposed prestigious standards certificates? Don’t they bother to look at the end product of the processes being inquired into or customer satisfaction?” he asks.
Gachiengo says he is not the only one not celebrating City Hall’s new achievement, most residents, he claims, aren’t amused. And for sure the award to City Council has elicited public uproar on whether it really deserved it.
Statutory bodies such as the Kenya Accreditation Services (KENAS) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and lobby groups such as the Nairobi Central District Business Association, Motorists Association of Kenya and Consumers Federation of Kenya have all said the award is suspect.
The ISO 9000; 2008 certification by German firm DQS GmbH was awarded on the scope of service delivery to the public and local communities within Nairobi County after an audit verified that the council has implemented and maintains a Quality
|Nairobi’s City Hall|
However, the council, in the public eye is synonymous with poor services with complaints ranging from heaps of garbage, poor street lighting, bad roads, land grabbing and runway corruption.
They say it beats logic that the council is ISO certified when critical issues such as health services, water provision, environmental conservation, garbage collection are deplorable.
Also there are claims of rampant corruption, crowd of shady dealings and scandals, particularly through selective payment of suppliers, which is a window of corruption.
The award raises serious questions about the relevance as well as the criteria used to award ISO certificates, currently as opposed to previous years.
These days, although inspection firms insist that ISO is a strong benchmark tool, it has lately ‘lost credibility’ as it seems anyone who applies for it gets it under a criterion that is not very clear.
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) managing director Eva Oduor says she was surprised how the council could be given a clean bill of health when it cannot offer basic services. “If the scope was service delivery, what can be certified within the council when even the markets under it are so filthy?” she asks.
Although, Kisia insists that the council genuinely met all the set requirements, but State accreditation body, KENAS, says it is investigating the council and DQS Kenya, a company whose parent firm is headquartered in German, which gave the certification on whether the process was a sham.