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 ofcially
opened by the then Minister of Pub-lic Works on November 28, 1995.Leonard Nyambane, the public
communications ofcer 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.
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
inuence 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 specic 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 ofces 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
ofce became nancially unstable.
The government through KENSUPtook up from AHT but still no sig-
nicant 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 trafc 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