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Kibera Mirror April

Kibera Mirror April

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Published by: vincent achuka maisiba on Apr 12, 2012
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 Real life stories from the slums to the world 
Issue 8
Cycle of disasters
Rescue personnel wereforced to demolishhundreds of houses to getmachinery to the landslidescene.
By Nicodemus Odaloand Kizito Nadebu 
Twelve people among them two children havelost their lives in the last four weeks after a cycleof disasters struck the two largest slums in Ke-nya leaving thousands homeless and raising ques-tions on the safety of the people living in the slums.In the latest incident nine people diedwhen huge rocks crushed into their hous-es in the early hours of the morning on April 4.The houses were built on a depression with large boulders hanging dangerously from a cliff above andit was suspected that the rocks loosened followingheavy rains that have been pounding the city recently.Felix Omondi was sleeping when he heard a loudthud followed by loud screaming from his neighbours.“I thought the city council was evicting us, butas I was leaving the bed to see what was happen-ing, several rocks tore through my roof,’’ he said.He narrowly escaped as he was already atthe door when huge rocks landed on his bed.
“My house was attened before my eyes in a
matter of seconds and I could not be speak-ing to you right now,’’ he told the mirror.Lack of access roads to the sight made rescue efforts
difcult with the rst body being retrieved at 9am,
Disaster response in slums on the spot as rescue teams struggle to reach affected areas
Red Cross personel retreive a body from the scene of a mudslide at Mathare slums Area 4A.
Photo: Nicodemus Odalo
Nubians still struggling for legal rights in Kenya
Hussein’s story is replicated in the lives of manymembers of the Nubian community in Kibera. Theyfeel they are regarded as second-class citizens, a dispos-sessed, downtrodden minority in their own country de-spite having arrived in Kenya more than a century ago.“I lost my ID during the post-election violence and whenI went to get a replacement, I was asked to produce my
grandfather’s birth certicate to ascertain my nationality,” he
says, adding that the fact that his parents were born in Kenya.
Can be PreventedIf detected
early enough
Is charcoalexpensive?
Women inKibera havecreated a cheaper form of fuelPage 4
He used to act for apacket of chips. Nowhe is the most soughtafter actor, comedianand radio presenter
Page 6
That didn’t help—even though he knows that the constitutionstates that children born in Kenya gain citizenship automatically.Being without an ID in Kenya pushes you to the fringes of 
society. You cannot get a job, own land, transact any ofcial
 business, be legally married or access some social services.Furthermore, you cannot gain access to many buildings, sinceyou will be required to produce one. The situation is worseif you are a youth. Young people, especially those from poor 
By the Mirror team
Hussein spends his time chatting with his friends at oneof the bus stops along Kibera drive. He earns a living fromcarrying luggage, which he has been doing from this particular spot for two years, waiting for anyone who will alight froma bus with luggage that will need to be carried. As he talksto us, his eyes rarely move from the road. He says he wantedto be a driver but he cannot get a driver’s license. He lost his
ID ve years ago. Attempts to get a replacement have been futile.
Want to receive aconstant feed of news &pictures or access theKibera Mirror fromanywhere in the world?
We really need better disaster response in theslums, not politiciansrushing to the scene
 In what has become a normal occurrence whenever disaster strikes in the Kenyan slums, Politicians streamin their numbers to the scene offering all sorts of politicalrhetoric on what they feel should be done. As usual, the political talk ends just there. Talk. After that everythinggoes back to normal until another disaster strikes.When huge boulders crashed on people’s houses inMathare, rescue efforts had to be disrupted each time a politician came to the scene as they had to be briefed on
the progress made. This happened like ve times taking an
average of ten minutes per each politician that arrived onscene so a lot of crucial minutes were wasted.Furthermore, like in each slum disaster, rescue ma-
chinery had a difcult time accessing the scene. Area lead
-ers had to plead with the residents to allow some houses to be demolished in order to create way for the machines to
 pass. When they nally made it, it was six hours after the
disaster was reported. Compared to other disasters, Mathareresidents were ‘adequately’ assisted during their hour of need.Other times, help never arrives. Two weeks before theincident, the people of Laini Saba in Kibera were left on
their own when a huge re razed hundreds of houses. Withno water and the re brigade not around, the situation got
so desperate that the residents decided to demolish some
houses in order to create a buffer to stop the re.
Indeed you can argue that lack of access roads
 prevented the re brigade trucks from reaching the scene
which is true. Whose problem is this? Should we point
accusing ngers at the slum residents who are so desperate
that they occupy every available space or the authorities
who let it happen in the rst place?
For a start, we should have a disaster committee inevery slum that would assess the risk of disaster that their areas are facing and train the people on how preventivemeasures and how to react. This would make responseto these disasters faster and this would go a long way inreducing the number of causalities.These committees would also have contacts for emer-gency response teams like the Police, Red Cross, Ambu-
lances and the re brigade.
Instead of rushing each time to a disaster scene, the politicians should begin with creating these committees andwork to ensuring there are proper access roads in the slums.
 write to us on kiberamirror@gmail.comor follow us on facebook.com/kiberamirror 
A publication of Shining Hope ForCommunitiesEditor
Vincent Achuka
The Team
Josephine Gisesa,Kennedy Inditho, NancyAkinyi, Michael Omuka, Raquel Oonga,Sylvia Nekesa, David Otieno, Isaac Gomba,Kizito Nadebu, Nicodemus Odalo, JohnOkewa, Paul Owino
Technical assistance
Dan Whipple& Kathleen BoganE-mail:
Quote of the Month
A pessimist sees the difculty
in every opportunity, anoptimist sees the opportunity
in every difculty
Winston Churchill.
We often preoccupy ourselveswith the symptoms,whereas if we wentto the root cause of the problems, wewould be able toovercome the problems once and
for all”
Wangari MaaathaiLate Nobel Laureate
Increase in tempera-ture, unfavourable rainfall,
increasing desertication,
and starvation have one thingin common. They are all arethe consequences of globalclimate change and the mostaffected continent is Africawhere the impacts are beingseriously felt. Survival is
for the ttest and the ttest
are usually the wealthiest.Those with money can affordto purchase food and have agood life. Those from humble backgrounds are dying ohunger and poverty.The most surprisingthing is that we are not yetlooking for solutions. Weinstead assume that all of thisis a day-to-day way of life:hunger, lack of clean drinkingwater for both humans and
Future generations of Africa at risk if the continent continues to do nothing to combat global warming 
livestock, and deaths.Most of us are waiting for solutions from outside our continent rather than solvingour problems ourselves.Africa is known as the greencontinent and it has always been so, but today the green na-ture is no longer there the greennature has disappeared.All those pictures showingAfrica green are myths today because all suffering of human-ity is found in Africa. Cuttingof trees and indigenous forests
has led to desertication. Today
the world’s largest desert, theSahara is spreading fast inAfrica. No clear measures have been taken to stop it, so in afew years Africa is going to be one big desert.Today our continent hasall it needs to correct our misfortune. We have the re-sources, professionals and thematerials needed. We have noexcuse whatsoever. What weshould do is to have visionaryleaders and have good plan-ning of our enter continent.“ For me, one of the ma- jor reasons to move beyond just the planting of trees wasthat I have tendency to look at the causes of a problem.We often preoccupy ourselveswith the symptoms, whereasif we went to the root causeof the problems, we would beable to overcome the prob-
lems once and for all,” as the
late Nobel peace prize winner Wangari Maathai said.But if we are still on theleft foot, we will be sorrytime is running out. Changeon our continent starts withyou and me. If we don’tdeal with our environmental problems, we will no longer  be in existence in genera-tions to come. So think twiceevery time you pollute our environment. Let us all come
together to ght for our envi
-ronment to rescue the futuregenerations from destruction.
Isaac Gomba
Women queue to fetch water from a water point inKibera. Despite the rains thre slum has beengrappling with an acute water shortage 
With the current politicalarena in our country, I keepwondering if this was createdas just another ministry toadd more cash into the pock-ets of our legislatures. Theother close to forty ministriesare doing very little to attainthis vision that Kenyans livefor.The ministry of vision2030 should be the highestand the most valued institu-tion in our country’s cabinetand leadership. It should actas a supervisory docket tothe cabinet and the govern-ment at large. Since thisministry was created after thecontroversial elections in our country in early 2008, four years have passed yet notmuch has been realized interms of development.W e still have a long wayto go as a country consider-ing what we expected to haveachieved in 2030, our coun-try’s “development ladder, “has not been climbed to themiddle. The only world classroad dubbed “Thika Super In a lifetime one decidesto choose the kind of lifehe wants to live. The only problem is that majority of  people do make it to their destination while othersdon’t.Decision making aboutlife begins immediately after  birth. To some, their livesare decided by their parents.Many though make their own decisions.‘Diverging from an elderlydecision, means divertingfrom life’ But from a child’s perspective, it’s the duty of the parents to take note of the development of their children, failing to do so willruin the future of that child.Education has been andstill is the major eye opener to most people in the worldthough some people do makeit through other avenues likesports, music and art.However education stillremains the greatest basicneed a parent should give toa child. It does not end with paying school fees. Some parents do tend to leave theresponsibility of educatingtheir children to the teachersentirely.A t school, there aredifferent types of teachers.There are those that do nottake note of the child’s un-
Vision 2030: mirage or reality?
Highway” is so far the only
infrastructure developmentwe can see.In terms of education,the system to be used is stillunder crucial debate. Whether it should be 8-4-4 or 2-6-6-3,we are not sure about com-munication and technology,the Konza Technology Citythat is expected to attain thathas its construction still under  planning; health care services,our hospitals and health cen-tres are still far from worldclass health care services asour leaders can be seen goingfor treatment abroad, in termsof economy our country isstill below par.This is well proven by our  political leaders who politicizealmost everything concerningthe country’s economy.Citizens and the leadersof Kenya need to wake up before it is too late and makevision 2030 a reality not adream that it remains to be.
Kevin OgolaNairobi
derstanding. There are thosethat are just there becausethey get paid for it and thereare there are those who takechildren’s matters seriously.As parents it is thereforeour duty to take care of our children and make sure thatwe give them all the best wecan, but it would be worthlessif love is excluded.
Kennedy Inditho
We need to assist in shaping the future of ourchildren.
From what we haveseen here a bulldozer is required for almostevery disaster in a slumso each of the disaster 
ofces I am proposing
should be equiped with
Fedinard WaitituMP- Embakasi
Slum residents unite againstforced evictions
They demand thegovernment torespect their housingrights throughsigning a petition
By John Okewa
Amnesty International pitchedtent at Kamukunji grounds in Kib-era to collect residents’ signa-tures on petitions to present to thegovernment asking for an end toforced eviction in African slums.This campaign was conductedon March 24, simultaneously in other African nations, including Nigeria,Ghana, Zimbabwe, Chad, Egypt andKenya. “We want to show the Afri-can leaders that the slum dwellersmust be involved in the decisionsand recommendations they makeand that they are not doing us a fa-vour, it is our constitutional right to
 be sheltered by the government,”
said Marcus George from Nigeria.This African ministerial con-ference on housing and urban de-velopment (AMCHUD) was be-ing held at the KICC Nairobi.The meeting that brought togeth-er African housing ministers from 54countries from 20-24 March, agreedthat the government should consider 
the following before evictions: rstly
the government must respect the pro-visions of article 20 of Kenya’s newConstitution; secondly every personmust have a right to live; thirdly theremust be an eviction policy and reset-tlement guidelines; and lastly com- pensation of victims in some mini-mum degree and security of tenure.Speaking to our reporter during theevent, Daniel Valls, the regional cam- paigns coordinator at Amnesty Inter-national, said, “Amnesty Internationalis a human rights organization, it wasfounded 50 years ago the organizationstands for the oppressed, those notable to speak and express their ideas.We have also included the rights of those oppressed economically, so-cially and cultural rights violation.“This road show is in solidarity withthose affected by housing rights viola-tion and to demand from the govern-ment, local authority from Kenya torespect housing rights and stop forced
evictions,” he said. “The petition be
-ing signed shall be presented to Afri-can governments in September. Thiswill compel them to involve the slumdwellers in their decisions beforeevictions. They should be given an
alternative place to reside,” he added.
“The idea is good. The problemis that our African leaders just see theslums as votes. After electing them
they forget our grievances,” said Mary
Auma, a resident of Gatwekera whenasked about her views on the event.The Amnesty International crewwere dressed in t-shirts with differentmessages, all trying to persuade thegovernment to stop forced eviction.The event attracted a mammothcrowd. They were entertained bythe energetic gospel musician Ju-
lius Owino “Juliani” who was the
Amnesty International ambassa-dor against forced eviction in Ke-nyan slums that is Kibera, Mkuru,Mathare and Korokocho. The musi-cian also led the crowd in observinga moment of silence in respect to the
 people who lost their lives in a re at
Mathare. The crowd was also enter-tained by outstanding comic perfor-mances from the Zangalewa dancers.
Water shortagepersists despitethe onset of rains
By Paul Owino
Residents of several villages inKibera are facing severe water short-ages, even after the formation of a task force to oversee disconnec-tion of illegal water connections.Long queues, some as long as 500metres, are being witnessed at water  points, many of which have run dry.Though the rainy season hasstarted, there is no possibility of harvesting the rain water as it is un-safe for use because roofs are rustyand clogged with debris and trash.The Kibera Mirror discoveredthe problem was being caused by wa-ter vendors who were sabotaging eachother last month. A meeting betweenall the water vendors was convened
at the District Commissioner’s Ofce
on March 14, in an effort to come upwith a simple and long-lasting solu-tion over the Kibera water shortage.Those attending the meeting, whichwas also attended by the area chief John Mutai and the Regional Tech-nical Co-coordinator of the NairobiWater Company’s southern region,Mr. Masinde, accused the companyof being reluctant to effectivelydeal with the water problem in Kib-era especially illegal connections.Lugunga, a water vendor from
Makina, pointed an accusing n
-ger at the company saying that itwas colluding with the people whohave water in their taps. “My taphas been dry for ten years now but
each month I receive a bill,” he said.
As this continues some residentsare blaming two NGOs that providewater to the residents. The comingof the NGOs led to the numerousillegal connections as they offeredemployment to idle unskilled Kib-era residents who took advantage of 
the situation to benet themselves.
Meanwhile long queues are still
seen with the price now averaging ve
shillings in Gatwekera. The situationis even worse in areas like Karanja,where the residents are paying as muchas ten shillings per 20 litre jerrican.
Week-long policesearch results inarrests, mob kill-ings of suspects
By Mirror reporter
A week-long, door-to-door  police search for criminals at Lindihas resulted in several youths de-serting the area, and the executionof other suspects by angry mobs.Several of the youths who were ar-rested protested their innocence.The search, which was conducted by the Kenya Police with the help of residents, resulted in several youths being rounded up, accused of be-ing criminals. This occurred after aman was shot dead in broad daylight by gun-toting thieves. The victimhad refused to let them steal his car.The area has been perceived asone of the most insecure places tostay in Kibera because the crime rateis high. Even people who sell veg-etables have been robbed at gunpoint.The week-long operation was
intended to recover illegal rearms
which are said to be in plentiful inthe area. Some suspects were killed by angry mobs during the operation.
Nubians still struggling for legal rightsin Kenya
neighbourhoods, are subjected tofrequent harassment by the police.The Nubians originated fromthe Nuba Mountains in central Su-dan. They were press-ganged into the
British King’s African Ries in late1800s to ght during the scramble
for Africa. After conquering Kenya,the Nubian soldiers were offered landin Kibera on the outskirts of Nairobi.Here they could keep cattle, growcrops and settle with their families.According to The Carter Report,
a 1933 document written by British
colonial administrator Sir MorrisCarter which urged justice for the Nubians, the area which was gazetted
in 1918. It originally measured 4,197
acres and was assigned to ex-soldiers
from The Kings African Ries to live
with their families. Today only about500 acres remain. It has become Af-rica’s largest slum, where the govern-ment regards everyone as a squatter.The Nubian community is theonly community that does not havecommunal land and its people do nothave a rural home. They thereforecannot do any meaningful develop-ment because of the constant fear of demolition. The effect of this is awhole community living in poverty.Article 63 chapter 5 of the new con-stitution states that community landshall be vested and held by communi-
ties identied on the basis of ethnicity,
culture or similar community interest.Ironically, Kibera comes from Ki- bra a Nubi word for forest or jungle.Mzee Mohamed is in his latesixties. He says that their problems began immediately after indepen-dence when the government brandedthem as foreigners. Since then it has been a multi-generational struggleagainst poverty and alienation.“Sometime after independencethe then governments started carv-ing out several pieces of land origi-nally allocated to them by the Brit-ish for developing present dayestates around Kibera, like Jamhuri,Otiende, Southlands and Ayani. Wewere pushed to the area around Kara-nja that later turned squalid, con-
gested and overpopulated,” he says.
Despite the existence of a state-ment in article 15 of the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights of 
1948 on nationality that states that
“Everyone has the right to nation-
ality,” the Nubians in Kenya are
faced with a myriad of challenges.They lack land rights in Kiberaand other settlements that they oc-cupy. In Kibera, for instance, therehave been incidents of confrontationswith other communities. They livein a constant fear of being evictedwithout notice or compensation.When the slum upgrading projectstarted in Kibera, most of the Nubiansdisapproved it because of this reason.“The only piece of land that the Nubian community owns is the cem-etery. It is very sad that you are onlyaccepted as a Kenyan when you
die,” Mzee Mohamed says sadly.
They not only have a hard time get-
ting ID card but also birth certicates
and passports. In fact they were con-
sidered as foreigners until 1990 when
the government created vetting com-mittees to establish the nationality of each one of them. Those who did not pass the vetting still live in legal limbo.The community also faces con-stant discrimination with regardsto their identity. Mohamed saysthat he feels bad whenever hehears others refer to them as ‘Mnu- bi’ which he says is derogatory.Furthermore the Nubians arenot factored by the governmentwhen it comes to resource shar-ing and allocation. The commu-nity is probably the only one with-out representation in parliament.With nothing being done to ad-dress their issues by successivegovernments and political leaders,the Nubians are no doubt Kenya’smost vulnerable and underrepre-sented communities in social, eco-nomic, political and cultural levels..
Hip hopartist JuliusOwino ‘Ju-liani’(in a black t-shirt)holdshands withresidentsof Kiberain solidar-ity againstforcedevictions atKamukunjigrounds
Photo:David Otieno
Members of the Nubiancommnityduring apast meetingin Kibera.There havebeen com-plains thatthe commu-nity is beingmargina-lised by thegoverment
 photo:Latah Sabah

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