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Ghetto Mirror October

Ghetto Mirror October

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Published by: vincent achuka maisiba on Oct 08, 2012
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hetto Mirror
 Real life stories from the slums
Join the movement: 
Poverty Tourism
THIS IS HOW YOU LOOK: A tourist in Kibera showing a toddler a his photo that he had just takenin Kibera as the mother looks on delightedly
Photo: Peter Ombedha
Slum tourism is picking upin Kenya’s informalsettlements and attracingmixed views with claims
that it benets only a few
unculprous people.
By Paul Owino & George Bush
“Experience a part of Kenya unseen by most tourists,” readsa tagline on Kiberatours.com. “A visit to Kibera takes you to thefriendliest slum in the world,” reads a tagline on another tour web-site, African spice safaris. The website‘s catalogue boasts it alsoconnects tourists to renowned destinations like Mt. Kilimanjaro,Mombasa and Maasai Mara and for Ksh 6,800 shillings, an inter-national visitor can get a half-day tour of the largest slum in Africa.“Slum tourism” is increasing in Kenya’s informal settle-
ments, attracting mixed views with claims that it benets only
a few people. Critics say dehumanises people by equating themto animals watched by tourists. Like the national parks, thenumber of visitors is determined by the popularity of the slum.Kibera, the largest, also receives the highest number of tourists.“How are you!” young children from Kibera shout ev-ery time they see a white person. They’ve been corrupted
 by the number of tourists who ock the slum all year round.
Kibera has long been an obligatory stop for Hollywood
Continued on page 6
Victims of Sinai re sue for damages one year later
 because of this negligence, 119 people lost their lives when
re broke out in the slum a year ago on September 12, 2011.The victims accuse KPC of deliberately allowing am
-mable products to run through a waste water drainage con-
structed by the city council of Nairobi sparking a re lead to
the 119 deaths and damage to property. They claim that the
re completely changed the lives of some of them. They also
say the government is not committed to compensating them.Sarah Njoki, one of the victims who suffered se-vere burns on her arms and part of the face says her life has totally changed. “I don’t have the same face Ihad last year because of the burns I suffered.” She says.“Furthermore I used to rear over 100 pigs
which were consumed by the re.” She addsBefore the re, Njoki was making over 200,000 shillings
annually from pig sales to Farmers Choice but today she has less
By Kizito Nadebu
Sinai re tragedy victims have moved to court to seek 
compensation for damages, loss of lives and property. In a joint case through their lawyer Paul Muite they want the KenyaPipeline Company (KPC), National environment ManagementAuthority (NEMA) and the City Council of Nairobi be held ac-countable for negligence and breach of duty. They allege that
 Why slum residents
are spending moredespite seven month
fall in ination
Tired of textboooks? New technology ismaking pupils lovereading again.PAGE 6
Do not buy
ISSUE 1facebook/ghettomirror
The government is aware of its existence but there have been no attempts of regulation
A publication of Shining Hope ForCommunitiesEditor-in-Chief 
Vincent Achuka
Line editor Graphic design
John P. Okewa Paul Owino
Eric Ouma,Godwin Oyindo, Nancy Akinyi, Sylvia Nekesa, David Otieno, Kizito Na-debu, Nicodemus Odalo, George Bush, Peter Ombedha. 
Stephene Onyango, DennisOnyango, Maurice Otieno, Godwin Ouma, Mercy Ayu-mah, Okello Beryll, Gladys Akoth, Oginga Chris, JosephOchieng , Irene Odhiambo
Technical assistance
Dan Whipple& Kathleen BoganE-mail:
Quote of the Month
Bob Marley
We welcome letters on topical issues or the stories we publish and comments on
theghettomirror@gmail.com. You can also drop them at our ofce at Gatwekera near
PAG Church, Kibera.
 Sinai - 1 year later 
obless youth being funded bythe politicians to cause chaos as weapproach the general election shouldhave been arrested by yesterday. The politicians too who are thought to be promoting violence should also belocked up and banned from participatingin politics again. We are remaining withsix months to the election but alreadysigns of violence have started showingup.There have been rumours that theviolence in in Tana River, Kisumu andMombasa were politically connected but no arrests have been made so far.Enough blood has already been lost andit will be cruel if it happens Kenyanshave not learnt anything from what hap-
 pened in 2007 and previous elections.
The affected have not yet fullyrecovered. Children do not have parentsand there are some who are still lan-guishing in IDP camps and to date therehave been no mechanisms to try the perpetuators of the violence during thelast election.The statement by the Chief JusticeDr. Willy Mutunga that the courts willnot allow anyone who is accused of causing violence or harming the votersto vie for any post is highly welcomeand it shows the commitment of the judiciary to end impunity in the country.Likewise the Independent Electionsand Boundaries commission should be
 Stop political gangs before we reach the elections
We are remainingwith six months tothe election butalready signs of violence havestarted showing up.
commended for saying it will block anyleader associated with a militia groupfrom contesting in the general election.The only stumbling blocks are parliament and the police who appear to be keen on maintaining things as theyare. If you can remember parliamentintentionally blocked attempts of havinga local tribunal to try the perpetrators
of the violence in 2007. The house also
stands accused of watering down thenew constitution by creating laws thatare centred in keeping them in power.The police on the other hand have been seen to apply the law selectivelyand it is like as so long as you are politi-cians you are above the law. There aresome politicians who have turned intowar lords who can do anything to stayin power. Such leaders have no placein society. After all they are threats tonational security and should be lockedaway.
 John Warui 
 Please secure Riverside bridge
The bridge between Mathare North and Riverside has generated a lotof debate lately because of gangs thathave decided to make it their hot spot.It is becoming dangerous to cross it aseven as early as 8 p.m. you can easily berobbed.The weirdest thing is that mem- bers of this gun totting and trigger happygang rob their victims with so much
condence as if they are very sure that
they will never be arrested. This hasmade the residents wonder if the policeare aware of this acts but have inten-tionally failed to respond. Numerouscomplaints have been made but nothingis being done to improve the situation.In paint of the logic those whouse the bridge past eight evening arenever sure of their safety. The more onecrosses the bridge, the faster and clear one gets to being robbed or shot at. Itis so sad that the police who shouldguarantee the residents their safety are busy collecting bribes from illicit brew-ers in the neighbouring Korogocho sluminstead of maintaining law and order.
Kevin Ogola
Headteachers in many schoolshave resorted to many schemes to extortmoney from parents.As we are approaching the na-tional examinations some schools havereintroduced extra tuition especially onthe weekends and the evenings. Thistuition is compulsory and students whoare unable to pay are forced to stay atr home during the week.What happened to the ban MutulaKilonzo imposed or it was just a by theway. 
Grace Akinyi
 Just how free isfree education
A new dawn forthe Mirror is here
During the chaos caused by the general election in
200 8, the TV cameras and batteries of journalists conce
trated on the slums and for the rst time in Kenya peoplereally got to see rst hand how life is in Kenya’s slums.
After all most of the violence was taking place in theslums more so in Kibera.After the violence subsided and peace was restored,the slums were once again given a media black out with journalists coming back whenever there is calamity or when they are looking for a bad story. We saw that during
the mudslide in Mathare, re in Mukuru, Women making
alcohol using ARVs in Korogocho, demolitions in Kiberaand the list is endless.Realising this, a group of youth from Kibera de-cided that the people of Kibera should also get a chanceto read stories about themselves that are fair and objec-tive. With no media skills whatsoever, The
 Kibera Mirror 
was started as a monthly newspaper that focused only on
the issues of Kibera and for the rst time residents had a
chance to read stories that are unbiased and gave the other side of the Kibera Story. Better still, the newspaper has been free all along.Despite all the challenges faced, the Newspaper out-grew itself and became a powerful source of news about
Kibera with a lot of inuence showing that indeed it is
 possible to have a community run media house operatingfrom inside a slum.Soon residents of other slums began to take noticeand it was only a matter of time before the
 Kibera Mirror 
moved to ll in the vacuum left in all the other slums in
 Nairobi that just want to be heard.In the light of this, the
 Kibera Mirror 
has now beentransformed to the
Ghetto Mirror 
so as to reach all theslums in Nairobi. We have correspondents from both sidesof Nairobi and a bigger team of journalists and photogra- phers working for the new
Ghetto Mirror.
With time wehave a target of reaching all the slums in Nairoi. Welcometo this new beginning.
Life is one big road with
lots of signs, so ee from
hate, mischief and jealousy.Just wake up and live.
By Sylvia Nekesa &Peter Ombedha
The on-going slum electrica
-tion project by the Kenya power com- pany in Kibera may be counterpro-ductive if the targeted residents don’tapply for legal power connection.
The project which started in 2009 to
make electricity connection afford-able to a targeted 65,000 residents
is in its nal phase at Gatwekera.
However numerous cables of illegally connected electricity stillrun in the slum raising questions onthe success of the project which oncompletion will cost Kenya Power 195 million shillings. The plan wasto subsidize the cost of applying for legal electricity to 1600 shillings for the people living in the slums. Cur-rently it costs a minimum of 35000shillings in the rest of the country.This has made the residents toopt for cheaper yet dangerous waysof getting electricity through cartelsthat tap the main lines and distrib-ute power at a low cost of around500 shillings per month. In June,
The Kibera Mirror 
did an investiga-tive story on electricity cartels that
make up to 200,000 shillings per 
month from distributing electricity.Hannington Ojijo says he sup- ports the company for coming up withthe project because he expects the pow-er connection in his area to be stable.He says, “I know one reasonthey (Kenya Power) are doing this project is because they are losinga lot of power in Kibera but it will
Project may not reduce electricity theft
Sinai victimsgo to court
Politicians warned against incitement
By Mirror reporter
Politicians have been warnedthat the government will not allow arepeat of violence caused by incite-
ment like it happened in 2007 after 
the general elections. The KasaraniDistrict commissioner Evans Mtariwas speaking during the Mathare peace day on September 13 atMathare AREA 4 where he was thechief guest. The DC reiterated hiscommitment to promoting peace-ful coexistence within the slums.“I will work hand in hand withall the chiefs and the peace committeesin Mathare and Korogocho to ensurethat any politician who incites the pub-lic against members of certain com-munities will face the law.” He said“Those politicians who holdmeetings at night have also beenwarned. Why don’t you cam- paign during the day when ev-eryone can see you?He asked.The DC also raised the issueof insecurity in the district tellingthe residents to provide informa-tion to the police on anyone thatthey suspect is a thief among them.“We have reports that some plac-es are no go zones during the eveninglike Lucky Summer and the fact isthese muggers live among us and youshould help us catch them.” He saidThe event was meant tostrengthen unity between the com-munities living in Mathare and thesurrounding slums in Kasarani. Itwas attended by all the chiefs and
divisional ofcers in the district
 plus local leaders. Ironically lo-cal politicians kept off the event.
From page 1
than ve and she claims she does
not have another source of income.Her hands and face are covered withscars that require surgery to remove but she cannot afford the money.“When I went to the hospital, I
was required to deposit 20,000 shil
-lings but where do I get the money?”she asks. She lost her two nephews thatshe was taking care of as her sister wasat work and is yet to come to terms.18 year old Nahashon Mainawas a form four student at AquinasHigh School at that time last year.He lost two uncles and his sister whowas pregnant at that time. His fa-ther suffered severe burns that madehim spend six months in hospital.“Our family has suffereda lot since my father is the sole bread winner. The government onlygave out 60,000 shillings to cater for burial expenses only.” He says“To make matters worse the gov-ernment refuses anyone to constructin the area so those ones who surviveddo not have anywhere to go.” He adds.A visit to the area was greeted byvacuum silence and charred remainsof the houses that were burnt duringthe inferno. The residents claim thatsometimes there is a smell of petrolfrom the drainage but no one comesout to scoop the fuel. A small pig stystill stands next to the river bank anda black post near it that residents of the area say is a stark reminder of thedarkest hour in the history of the slum. 
Mukuru residents in court over land
By Mirror reporter
Residents of the slums aroundindustrial area have moved to courtover the right of the land on which
the slums seat. Under the umbrella
of Muungano wa Wanakijiji- a hu-man rights group, they want the titledeeds of politicians and companiesthat own land on which the slums seatto be cancelled citing public interest.Their suit which was men-tioned in the Milimani law courts on
September 12 claims the land own
-ers have no right to claim any of the lands in question since the slumdwellers have lived there for years.The residents claim thatsince the owners of the landshave failed to use them for the purposes they were supposed tothen their titles deeds are invalid.Some of the companies en- joined in the suit include Orbit Chem-icals, Embakasi developers and NashMotors. A presidential aspirant whoowns several parcels of land at MukuruKwa Rueben has also been enjoined.The companies sued on theother hand claim that it is the resi-dents in the slums who have pre-vented them from developing their lands terming them as squattersand want the courts to interverne.The residents say theydo not want to live under threatof eviction by the land owners.All the slums in Kenya are as-sumed to be sitting on public land or  private land and there are no clear  policies on that. The suit which is
the rst of its kind promises to be
an epic court battle between the richand the poor. The hearing continues.
Two killed after deadly re
razes houses in Kibera
By Peter Ombedha
Two people died after a deadly
re tragedy at Laini Saba in Kib
era on the night of September 23.
Among the dead was a 93-year-old granny. Although the cause of the
re is still unknown, eyewitnesses
say 93 year-old Alice Mbaira and her neighbour Ken Onyango perished because Alice is blind and could notsave herself. Onyango died as he was
trying to save her from the ames.
Cellar Wanjiku, the daugh-ter OF Alice said she had goneto the chemist to buy medicine
SWEATY AFFAIR: Casuals hired by the Kenya PowerCompany pull a pole to be used in the new power project tomake electricity affordable for Kibera residents
Photo Peter: Ombedha
KasaraniDistrictCommis-ioner EvansMtari speaksduring theMatharepeace day.He warnedpoliticiansagainstcampaigningat night
Photo:Vincent Achuka
Some residents say they like the idea, but 1,600 shillings for a connection is still too high.
 It costs 500 shillingsto get electricityconnection throughcartels
0728 367 674
for her mother at around 10
 p.m. only to nd their house in ames.
Their house is among 30 housesthat were burnt to the ground in the in-ferno. It has not been established howmany people were affected but doz-ens spent the night in the cold yester-day as the city council of Nairobi did
not send any re trucks to the scene.
Red Cross personnel cameto the scene the next morning toassist those who were affected.They provided them with ma-tresses, clothes and food as theywaited for government assistance.
Arsoted crafts
help the businessmen who alwayscry whenever there is a black out.”According to Engineer JaredOtieno of Kenya Power, the com- pany loses up to 3 million shillingsworth of electricity per year in Kib-era alone with 54% of the residentssaying the high cost of getting con-nected to the national grid is pre-venting them from applying for le-gal electricity. he says some of thefactors affecting energy demand inKibera are coercion by local provid-ers who threaten would be customers,wiring costs and goal incongruence between tenants and land owners.Some of the residents inter-viewed by The Ghetto Mirror sayalthough they like the idea, the1600 shillings charged for connec-tion is still too high. David On-yango, a barber says the power company ought to reduce the cost.“However, I will still apply to getconnected for safety reasons.” He says.Another engineer of the compa-ny who requested anonymity becausehe is not allowed to speak to the presssays the company does not expect areduction in electricity theft but therewould be enhanced safety measures put in place. The company is usingconcrete poles which cannot be de-
stroyed in the event of a re outbreak.
Those who will apply to get connect-ed will use a prepaid model of pay-ment for in order to minimise losses

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