Politics

Why the capital city was transferred from Mombasa to Nairobi

Mombasa

The arrival of Portuguese, Arabs and British has given different twists and winds to the history of the Republic of Kenya. From the building of Fort Jesus to the current full glare of Nairobi as a city, history becomes very interesting.

At first, Mombasa was our capital city, if you never knew. The Portuguese had settled and decided to set it as their point of authority. They would command all the activities from the place. During the building of Mombasa-Kisumu railway line, they arrived and settled in Nairobi. Amidst the desert, the place had swamps and water in it. That makes you understand why it was called Nyirobi, a Maasai word for a place of cool waters.

After independence, the president had decided to have a central place of work and administration for the country. The central place had to be one that be easily accessed from any part of the country. Nairobi qualified.

There was another alternative to this, Nakuru. Nakuru would however fail to fulfill the conditions because of its location along fault lines in Rift Valley. Setting up tall structures as required for a capital city would have been a challenge. Today, Nairobi stands tall as the most developed capital city in our region.

There are numerous countries that also did the same. Tanzania changed their capital from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma. South Africa also changed theirs from Cape Town to Pretoria. All these were cities along the coast line, far from the mainland. It is better to have such changes to make people feel the ease while accessing the administrative and other government amenities.

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