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Kibera Mirror September

Kibera Mirror September

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Published by: vincent achuka maisiba on Sep 04, 2012
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 Real life stories from the slums
Issue 12
Do not buy
 Why frst upgradingproject collapsed
Rent strikes and incitement by local leaders killed the vision for a decent livelihood
A sanitation block at Mathare 4A in a sorry state. Most of them have non functional utilities.
The ushing systems do not work, the sinks are blocked and the drainage systems are not do
not work either.
Photo: Nicodemus Odalo
It has been about ten yearssince the residents last paidrent. Some residents blame theMinistry of Housing and theKenya Slum UpgradingProject (KENSUP) for thisimpasse.
By Nicodemus Odalo & Paul Owino
Corruption, tribalism, lack of proper communica-tion channels and ideological differences led to the down-fall of Mathare slum upgrading project that was meant toimprove housing and living conditions of the approximat-ed 25,000 residents of Mathare 4A, the Mirror can report.Among the causes of the collapse of the slum upgrading project that started in 1991 is incitement by local political lead-ers who owned structures within the upgraded houses. Accord-ing to the Case Study on Mathare 4A Slum Upgrading Project by Andrew Reback in September 2007, leaders and landlordsdisrupted the project by inciting rent strikes and urging crimi-nals to burn houses within the slum. This caused mistrust be-tween the slum dwellers and the project executors. Residents
came to believe that the project provided no benets to them.
Rent strikes meant that no resident was to pay rent. This
Continued on page 3
No cheers among the poor as constitution marks two years
the western side of the capital, claims the government want-ed the new constitution only to show a commitment to re-forms that it does not really believe in. “I thought there will be more jobs for the youth and better wages for those whoearn very little. But I think that people are even poorer thanthey were and nothing to create jobs in the country,” he said.Article 55 of the constitution says, “The state shall take
measures, including afrmative action programs to ensure that the
youth access relevant education, training and access employment.”Kenyatta further argued that the only improve-ment that is visible in the country is the judicial reforms.He said, “The courts have improved. But they can only beof help to you if you have a case that requires their attention.Without police reforms, the common man cannot feel this impact.I have seen the police arresting youth every now and then with-out any reason whatsoever. Yet I know this is against the law.”Article 49 of the constitution says, “An arrested person hasthe right to be informed promptly in a language that he understandsthe reason for arrest and be presented in court within 48 hours.”However in the slums and other poor neighbourhoods,youth are often arrested for no particular reason by rogue po-
lice ofcers with the intent of extorting money from them. The
By Mirror Reporter
As Kenya’s new constitution celebrates the second anni-versary of its passage, the nation’s poor say that the new lawhas done little for them. They accuse the country’s leadership
of watering down the benets promised by the new framework.
But most people have neither read nor under-stood the contents of the constitution, which was ap- proved overwhelmingly in 2010 by 67 percent of the voters.Paul Kenyatta, who sells roast maize at Waruku on
Men shyawayPage 3
 Banks nowscramble forslumresidents Page 4
Can be PreventedIf detected
early enough
Free screeningEvery Tuesday
Want more news as ithappens in the slums?
Kibera Mirror:
Issue 12
A publication of Shining Hope ForCommunitiesEditor in Chief 
Vincent Achuka
Graphic design
Paul Owino
The Team
Josephine Gisesa,Godwin Oyindo, Nancy Akinyi, BethAnyango, Sylvia Nekesa, David Otieno, Isaac Gomba,Kizito Nadebu, Nicodemus Odalo, John Okewa, PaulOwino, George Bush, Peter Ombedha
Technical assistance
Dan Whipple& Kathleen Bogan
Quote of the Month
Change will not come if we waitfor some other person,or if wewait for some other time.We arethe change that we seek.
Barack Obama
The editor welcomes articles on topical issues or the stories we publish andcomments on kiberamirror@shininghopeforcommunities.org. You can also drop
them at our ofce at Gatwekera-Kibera near PAG Church.
Wycliffe Ayaka
Today, hardly a month passes inKibera without hearing about a suspectedeither being stoned to death or lynched.Residents may argue that this is the onlyway to deal with the equally high number of robberies as the police do little but wemust also ask ourselves whether this isindeed the only wayThe perpetrators of this violent phenomenon take the law into their ownhands, act as accusers, jury and judgeand punish an alleged wrongdoer on thespot. The person accused of a crime hasno chance to defend himself or claiminnocence. This procedure often ends upwith the victim being beaten to death or seriously injured if the police arrive ontime. Mahatma Ghandi said ‘an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’ so if you cannot see what is wrong with mob justice then there is something profound-ly wrong with your moral compass.Willy Lynch an ancient viciousslave owner used inhumane methods
 An unjust law is not law at all 
to control the slaves. His method wasinjustice meant to make them physicallystrong but psychologically weak and de- pendent on the master. He would order for a male slaves to be tied each leg totwo different horses each facing opposite
direction then set him on re and beat
 both horses till they tear him in front of the other slaves. He would then beat and bullwhip the remaining slaves but never kill so as to instill fear in them. That ishow the name lynch came about and thisis exactly what happens in our slums. Welynch the accused in front of the people
so that to be a lesson to the unidentied
culprits.We cannot replace one opportunistmob with another. This needs to be a timefor calm and compassion, for conversa-tion and questioning. Neither the rightnor the left can afford to let themselves be blinded by prejudice and anger. Our instinctive responses are inadequate.History is full of dark warnings of whathappens when a broken society attemptsto use brute force rather than understand-ing to enforce stability and cohesion.
To x the damage to our society
those who are found guilty should behanded to the police who in turn handthem to the court so that they learn thevalue of respecting their neighborhoodsrather taking away their lives
An eye for an eyemakes the wholeworld blind. Theright and left cannot
aford to let them
-selves be blinded byprejudice or anger.”
Mahama Ghandi
In April it was agreed that peopleliving up to 10 metres from the cliffs atMathare 4A would vacate after eight peo- ple died when huge rocks tumbled downon their houses from the cliff during therainy season. Infact the government evendemolished some houses around the areato discourage the residents from occupy-ing the area again.However it appears the residentsliving around that area have forgottenthat lives were lost. If you visit the arearight now houses have already been builtand people are already living there. Theleaders of the area also stand accusedof accepting bribes from landlordswho want to rebuild their houses at theexpense of putting people lives in danger.Just recently a huge rock fell on a latrineand crashed it completely just a fewmetres from where people were killed inApril but no one paid attention.If you examine the cycle of trag-
edies since the rst one in 1992, it won’t
take a geologist to say that we have seenthe last of these rock tumbles because thewhole of Mathare sits on an abandonedquarry where stones for constructing Nairobi were mined after independence.To date more than a dozen people havelost their lives in more than three ac-cidents in just 10 years.Other people may argue that it is poverty that is driving people to exposetheir lives to danger in order to live butthat should not be the reason to risk your life. The landlords who are buildinghouses in those areas should not only bestopped but arrested for endeangaringthe lives of their tenants as they look for quick money. Furthermore instead of  blaming the government for not comingin time when a tragedy happens weshould ask ourselves what we can doto prevent the tragedy itself. Otherwisewe cannot tell how bad the next tragedywill be 
 Mark Omollo
 Residents of Mathare forget very quickly
It beats logic why the governmentis concentrating too much on non-issuesabout education when it is doing verylittle to improve the quality of educationand job creation for graduates. What itdoes not realize is that a lot of youth arelosing hope on the value of educationin the country since a high number of university graduates do not have jobsafter all.At the moment there is no bigdifference in the country between a uni-versity graduate and a form four graduateespecially when they both do not have a job. Some graduates even spend up to10 years looking for a job and worse stillthe ones who are lucky enough to get a job are paid poorly. University educationcosts at least half a million shillings. Thisis a big investment that parents make for their children and some even resort toselling property. The employers have alsodecided to capitalize on the situation andare treating their employees the way theylike. After all, there are a lot of people
without jobs with the same qualica
-tions.The ministry of education recentlythreatened parents who do not take their children to high school with imprison-ment. What the Minister failed to saywas how the parents will get money to pay school fees. He also did not say whatthe government is doing to increase jobopportunities for the children after they
nish school.
The ‘Kazi Kwa Vijana’ initiativeto provide jobs for the youth was a goodinitiative but the type of jobs they weregiving the youth did not make sense. Howcan you tell a university graduate to slashgrass or plant trees and say you havegiven him a job? What of all the skills helearnt at school? That is to mean all thetime spent in school was a waste of timefor this graduate.If nothing is done we are raisinghooligans and criminals. The signs are al-ready here with us. You saw in Mombasahow a small issue turned into a lootingfrenzy and youth engaging the police in battles for a whole week. It means theyouth are an idle and an angry lot justwaiting to be provoked.
Kevin Ogolla
We are educated, where are the jobs?
At the moment there
is no big diference
between a universitygraduate and a formfour graduateespecially if both donot have a job
We need to empower thewomen if we are seriousabout poverty eradication
Women living in slums by defaultshoulder most of the problems in their households. This is a known fact.Due to illiteracy, most of thesewomen do not get meaningful employ-ment so they are more vulnerable to pov-erty. The problem of not getting educationis because most of the families opt toeducate their boys more than girls. Ironi-cally the community has more womenthan men.On the other hand, they have proved to be key participants in proj-ects that develop the community. Theyare more than willing to improve their income generating activities like garbagecollection, group work and merry goroundsIf they are grouped together they
will denately play a major role in pov
-erty eradication and economical develop-ment in the society and the country atlarge. 
 Joseph Ochieng 
Should another round of education on the constitution becarried out in the slums?
It appears most of the people who voted for the con-stitution did so without even reading the document. Thereare some who say they voted for it because the politicianstold them so and even for those who read it, a considerablenumber do not fully understand the contents. Some justread the parts which they think apply to them.The politicians on the other hand are not keen onimplementing it from the look of things. It could be because they know alot of people do not know what is inthe constitution. A lot of bills have been passed hurriedly
while others still lie between the Atorney Generals ofce
and parliament waiting to be debated upon.One is the issue of police reforms that does notlook as if it will end any time soon. Meanwhile youth inthe slums continue being harrased each day by the policewithout any any reason by policemen out to make moneyfrom them. Since most of these youth do not know their rights as spelt out in chapter four of the constitution, theycomply and those who do not have money spend sometime in custody without being released. Their crime- loi-tering or idling.Meanwhile basic rights like right to a clean environ-ment, food and shelter are not even being talked about.Right now the slums are at their dirtiest states. In Kibera,murky streams full of dirt criss-cross the streets as peopleare sleeping hungry and parents cannot afford to take their children to school because they don’t have money. Theconstitution clearly states that everyone is entitled to thesethings but no one is talking about them as everyone isconcerened about who will win the next elections.This calls for a need to educate the people especiallythose in the informal settlements and rural areas on thecontents of the constitution. This is because most of themare getting disillusioned because they do not even see thefruits of the new constitution that they had expected. Somecannot even read so giving them a copy each will not helpeither. Otherwise most of them do not even know thatsome of their rights are being violated.
Kibera Mirror:
Issue 12
Who is telling the truth as the residents suffer?
By Beth Anyango &Isaac Gomba
Residents of Quarry area (Railavillage) have decried the lack of socialamenities in the area which has placedtheir lives in danger. Lack of toiletsand bathrooms have led the residentsto relieve themselves in the nearby Ngong forest where women are some-times raped. Furthermore there have been outbreaks of waterborne dis-eases because of lack of clean water.The area—which is located atthe far west of Kibera, next to the Ngong forest and just a stone throwfrom the slum upgrading project —is a home for many families withfew toilets. Most of the facilities areowned by institutions such as schools.As we paid a visit to the place, afew meters down the river women are busy washing clothes as others wash-ing utensils seemingly not afraid of any danger they are exposing them-selves. One of the women, JoyceAwuor said she was from the forest.That is where she usually relievesherself due to lack of toilets. She saysshe cannot afford to go Kianda village
 pay ve shillings each time for toilet
use. “But what can we do, we haveno option if I had the money, there isno toilet facilities around here we can
nd them at Kianda or Soweto, which
is about a kilometre away,” she adds.Mr. John Mangare, an arearesident, said Mr. Masheti workedclosely with the landlords, build-ing houses without toilet facili-ties. “Their aim is to make money but not concerned with those whoare coming to live there,” he said.The residents say the problemis brought by the village elder, Mr.Masheti, who gives the authority tothe landlords to build houses evenwithout toilet and bathroom facilities.Mr. Masheti, with whom we spokeon the phone, declined to meet us.Mr. Masheti said, ”Duringthe post-election violence, peoplegrabbed the land near Maono Edu-cation Center and started construct-ing their own houses,” he said. “Wedidn’t want to remove them becauseit could have brought chaos.” Mr.Masheti says he was not to blame.Commenting on the conduct of the village elder, Area Chief RichardJuma said he has known Mr. Mashe-ti for many years and he knew himas a chairman for peace in the area.“Only last month two girls wentto the forest to help themselves after which they were attacked, raped andleft unconscious ,“ Mr. Mangare says.
He adds that this is not the rst time
as last year a woman was raped therein the forest when she went to helpherself. “What Masheti is accusingme is that I gave you his number and telling you about what we in theQuarry residence are going through iswrong then let it be,” he said. Whatwe found out is that the landlordsare not living there they live in other neighborhood like Kianda, Soweto.Like Joyce’s landlord lives in Ki-anda that means that they do not un-dergo what their tenants go through.We asked the Area Chief Rich-ard Juma if he has come across thesame issues affecting his region.“Lack of social amenities isa common thing in all slums ar-eas, not only in Quarry but Kib-era as a whole,” he said. “I haveheard of the story but all we do wedepend on area elder leaders whoknows what is going on in the area.”He says the area has not hadany project for quite some time thatinvolved construction of toilet facil-ity, but now they have one which is being constructed by the Kibera net-work self help. ”All the landlordswith more than ten houses shouldgive one so that I can be constructedto make toilet facility that will helpovercome this problem,” he said. Headded that the construction of thesouthern bypass has also affectedthe construction of the toilet facility.The residents have also urgedlocal community based organisationsto sort them since there seems to beno lasting solution to the problem.
These women from Quarry wash their laundry usingwater from a stream just next to Ngong forest. Justlast month two women were raped when they had goneto relieve themselves in the forest.
Photo: Isaac Gomba
From page 1
handicapped the projectsince rents had been the internallygenerated revenue resource that paid for the mainentance and con-struction of roads with the slum.Initially the residents paid between 200 and 400 shillings per month as rent. This is according anagreement between them and the project implementers, Amani Hous-ing Trust. “We used to pay rents of Ksh 400 per month which changed,”Paul Otieno, a 20-year resident of T-area, said during an interview.“We were supposed to stop payingrent after 20 years as had been stat-ed by an agreement we signed withAmani Housing Trust,” he added.
T-area, which was the rst
 phase of the project, was initiallymeant to be occupied temporarily by residents whose houses had beendemolished to pave way for upgradedhouses. T stands for temporary. After the houses were complete they wouldthen move in to the new houses andanother lot would be brought in.
No rent paid in 10 years
It has been about ten yearssince the residents last paid rent.Some residents blame the Ministryof Housing and the Kenya Slum Up-grading Project (KENSUP) for thisimpasse. “I have been living in thishouse for ten years without payingrents,” Alfred Okello, a resident fromthe H (a section of the project), says.“No one ever comes for money,” headds. He said those who collect rentcurrently are those who rented outtheir houses. Some residents haveeven resorted to selling their houses.The Ministry of Housing doesnot even list the Mathare upgrading project among the slum upgrading projects it has done so far. How-ever a commemorative plaque at T-
Area says the project was ofcially
opened by the then Minister of Pub-lic Works on November 28, 1995.Leonard Nyambane, the public
communications ofcer of KENSUP
disagrees that there is an agreement be-tween AHT and the residents that wasallow them stop paying rent after 20years. “This was just an idea that wasnever implemented since the AttorneyGeneral did not write the agreement.”He also says the residents havenever paid rent and the payments theywere making were through coopera-tives as a way of saving so that theresidents would be able to own thehouses after some time and sincethey stopped paying KENSUP can-not satisfy their demands. “Someresidents are even demanding for title deeds, but there is no law inKenya that allows one to be given atitle deed for a 10-by-10 feet pieceof land,” he says. He also says theresidents only cry for KENSUPs at-tention when they want their housesrepaired but still refuse to pay rent.“Since the fall of Amani Housein 2000 no one ever comes for moneyand I won’t lie I live freely in myhouse,” area resident Sarah Oyiela said.
Non-functional facilities
Today the whole of the proj-ect is full of non-functional utilities.
The toilets and bathrooms are lthy
and old. There are hardly any work-
ing ushing systems, the sinks are
 blocked and the drainage systemsin the whole project are not work-ing. Some toilets are not in use sinceno one has come out to repair them.
When it rains, the alleys ll
up with water and the residents havewade in order to get to their houses.Some residents have even construct-ed 1.5 foot concrete barriers on their doors to act as dykes. Those whohave rented the houses complainthat the landlords do not care aboutthe tenants as no repairs are donewhatsoever. This is despite most of the houses looking as if they are inurgent need of repair. The landlordson the other hand blame the Minis-try of Housing for not stepping up.“We repair our houses by our-selves. Those without money have to persevere. ” Sarah added showing usthe almost falling of walls of her house.One resident claims that the project was initially for the wholecommunity but one community triedto hijack it in order to assert control,leading to a war that led to structuresand records being burnt. However the study by Andrew Reback says politicians who feared losing their 
inuence in the slum cheated the
community to choose only six in-dividuals to coordinate the project.Initially a total of 60 representativesacross the community were electedat “wet cores” toilet areas with ev-
ery one representing a specic area.
The six people who were electedto the steering committee ensuredthe community never participated.Statistics from KENSUP indi-cate that Mathare 4A has a populationof 25,000 people in an area of 17 hect-ares of land. The population densityis 1,470 people per hectare with anaverage monthly income of Sh 1,870 per month. Worst still is that 92 per-cent of residents are tenants and only7 percent are owners of the structures.The whole of Mathare valleyused to be a quarry. Like Nairobi’sother slums, it grew as a result of rural-urban migration, and govern-ment’s failure to provide them withcheap and better housing. It wasstarted in 1963 with ex-soldiersfrom World War II whom the gov-
What made the rst slum upgrading
project in the country to collapse
ernment gave the land to settle on.Mathare 4A slum upgrading project was funded by World Bank and the German government throughthe German Ministry of EconomicCooperation and Development. Localsupport came from the Nairobi CityCouncil which was given responsi- bility for infrastructure approval andapproval of all designs. They alsohad jurisdictions for building codesand were to also approve the board of Amani Housing Trust. International NGOs and local community basedCBOs helped in ensuring the successof the project which was facilitated by the Amani Housing Trust. Today
their ofces at T-Area are not in use.
Project dates to 1980s
The project dates back to the1980s when World Bank fundedthe project which at the time didnot include roads. It was however rejected as it did not meet the resi-dents’ needs. In 1991 the CatholicArchdiocese of Nairobi establishedAHT to execute the upgrading proj-ect. There was survey of site’s con-dition and resident’s needs in 1992.
Later in 1997, the rst phase
of the main road was completed. In2000 the project stopped after em- ployees were threatened, harassedand structures burnt. The project wasagain restarted in 2003. The struc-tures were purchased from existingstructure owners and rents reduced.By 2007, 98 percent of the roads had been completed with only 50 percentof housing upgrading complete. Thefuture of the upgrading plans then became uncertain as the executing
ofce became nancially unstable.
The government through KENSUPtook up from AHT but still no sig-
nicant change has been noted yet.
Houses broughtdown for by-pass
By Mirror reporter
Government bulldozers movedto demolish houses which the ownershad not demolished by themselves inorder to pave way for the Southern by pass road at Raila and Soweto villageson the last day of August. This is after notice issued two months ago expired.The demolition did not affect alot of homes since most of the own-ers had already demolished theirs inadvance. However some residents of the area still claimed that they had not been issued with the notice while oth-ers said the time given was not enough.The road which was commissioned onThe 30-kilometer road whichwas commissioned on March 4 byPresident Kibaki and Prime Minis-ter Raila Odinga is expected to link Mombasa road with Waiyaki way
in order to reduce trafc congestion
in the city centre. The constructionhas already reached the Kibera sec-tion. The project is expected to offer manual jobs for youth from Kibera
Pupils start termwithout premises
By Mirror reporter
Pupils from Kibera Hamlets willhave to search for alternative learn-ing premises as schools open for third
term. This is after a re gutted down
their school on the night of August15 during the school holidays. The
cause of the re at the school which
is known for the acrobatic prowessof its students is still unknown al-though some residents suspect foul
 play since at the time of the re there
was no one in the schools premises.The school which has 80 stu-dents from baby class to standardseven is fully sponsored. Accordingto Mercy Ondisa, a teacher at theinstitution, income from the acro- batic shows by the pupils also helpsto sustain the schools expenditure.
Although, the Nairobi re bri
-gade arrived on time, it failed to ac-cess the area since there is no roadnetwork to Gorofani village wherethe school is situated. The truck hadto turn back at Kamukunji grounds.
Resident decrypoor road repair
By Mirror reporter
Residents of Karanja and Maki-na have complained on the poor qual-ity of road repairs being carried outon the roads passing through the area.Though it is not clear whatthe terms on the contract for therepair of Karanja road and Maki-na road are, the contractor SinoeConstruction company has onlyrecarpeted the edges of Karanjaroad and constructed pavements.The repair of the two roadsfunded by the Kenya Urban Roads Network (KURA) is expected to be competed in January next year 

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