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Kibera Mirror May

Kibera Mirror May

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Published by: vincent achuka maisiba on May 23, 2012
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 Real life stories from the slums
Issue 9
Rich man vspoor man
The slum upgrading project for the poor now going to the wealthy
Residents of the slum upgrading project in Kiberaare accusing the supervisors of letting in some tenants who are not real slum dwellers at their expense.Notice the number of parked cars in the parking lot and a satellite dish on Block C.
Photo: Vincent Achuka
By the Mirror team
Corruption and underhand deals are threatening to erode thegains made through the ambitious slum upgrading program carriedout by the government and the United Nations in Kibera slums, theMirror can report. Just like highrise estate in the 1990’s, the 600 newhousing units Soweto slum upgrading project in Lang’ata that were letto slum dwellers in 2009 is slowly being let out to able tenants for afee. During our investigation, we counted at least 15 vehicles parkedat the apartment blocks, including a top of the line Toyota Prado.Residents say that wealthier tenants are mov-ing in as older tenants are evicted. Project manag-ers declined to comment to the Mirror on the accusations. 
Boydrowns inKibera asheavy rainscontinue
By Josephine Gisesa
A ten-year-old boy drowned in a ooded
river at Kibera Soweto following heavy rainsthat lasted throughout the whole night and the better part of the morning of Saturday, 5 May.According to eye witnesses, the boy was playing with his age mates swimming in themurky waters but on this day the river was wildand swollen from a heavy downpour that hadlasted the whole night. Heavy rains around
Kenya have resulted in ash oods in some parts
of the country including Nairobi leading to the lossof several lives and thousands being displaced.A search for the body of the boy had not pro-duced any fruits three days later by Monday, 7 Maywith eyewitnesses saying the Police had not as-sisted the family in any way. According to residentsof Soweto, the boys’ body had not yet been found
as the river ows further into the Nairobi dam.
Margaret Kerubo was seated outside her houseon the banks of the river when she saw a group of children running along the river saying they werelooking for their friend who had been swept away.“I was sitted at this spot and sud-denly some children ran past me shout-ing, he has gone this way.” She recounted.Soweto’s residents are also also with thethreat of landslides. A number of houses havesank as a result of the heavy rains. Residentsof the area however go on with their activities.Margaret who lives too close to theriver and near the spot where a house waswashed away however feels her houseis on a safer side though it is downstream.“What I fear is if the river breaks its banksand not my house being washed away.” She
said. In Mathare ash oods claimed the life of 
one woman displacing hundreds of people liv-ing along the banks of Nairobi river at MathareArea 4A and 4B. Last month nine people losttheir lives in the same area after a landslide
There have also been unconrmed re
- ports that a number of people have been elec-trocuted in Kibera as a result of the rains. Mostof the residents use illegally tapped electricitywhich can be dangerous especially when it rains.
Join the movement: 
Densoutnumberschools andchurchesPage 3
 You throwthem away;they makemoneyPage 4
 Join the
KIBERA MIRRORonline audience
A publication of Shining Hope ForCommunitiesEditor
Vincent Achuka
The Team
Josephine Gisesa,Kennedy Inditho, NancyAkinyi, Michael Omuka, Sylvia Nekesa, DavidOtieno, Isaac Gomba, Kizito Nadebu, Nicode-mus Odalo, John Okewa, Paul Owino
Technical assistance
Dan Whipple& Kathleen BoganE-mail:
Quote of the Month
When we are no longer able tochange a situation, we should be challenged to changeourselvesVictor Franklin
We welcome letters on topical issues orthe stories we publish and comments onkiberamirror@gmail.com
Why do we like buildingwalls after they come fallingdown on us instead of just
lling up the cracks when theyrst show up? Think? HIV and
AIDS! Hunger! Corruption!All these are things that wouldhave been effectively tackledway back when they were stillin wet paint state. Now we have a newlooming catastrophe, a 21stcentury catastrophe. We all,either have a poor or nega-tive opinion about young menin skinny jeans, with plaitedor curl-kit hair styles and of course the pierced ears. Whatexactly are we faced with
here? Today in Kibera we are
seeing a different version of this 21st century catastrophe.Right now I care less about theskinny jeans, those femininehair styles and the ear-pierc-ing. Not that I have given intothem but because I have real-ized that we are missing a verycrucial point here.Think of this. How manyyoung men today grow in the
authority of their fathers? Today
it’s easier for a young man totell you what his mother likes or dislikes but not his father. Amnot complaining that mothers arenot doing a good job, no! Moth-ers are doing an excellent job but
where are the fathers? Seriously
in the life of a young man, amother cannot extend beyond acertain boundary.Fathers in Kibera slumshave failed the society. I see alot of young men lost and torndue to lack of effective father-hood. They only have fatherswho show up at the middle of the night demanding ugali andwell fried chicken when therest of the family has slept onugali and boiled cabbages. Whatfollows is always a ruthlessdomestic violence. What does
this tell the young men? Now if 
you are an elderly man next timeyou hear a young man calling alady ‘ malaya’ please before youcondemn him, just ask your-self…what have you done to be
a male gure in –rule that man’slife? The stakes are high; we
are losing a lot of young men to both feminine glitz and glamour or worse a limbo of violence,irresponsibility and suffocatingfatherhood.Skinny jeans, plaited hair,curl-kit hairs, pierced ears andmany more are a direct reac-tion to feminine over effectsin the lives of our young men.Violence, irresponsibility andself-indiscipline come directlyout of the fall of fatherhood.Today I won’t talk of homosexuality. Gayism is one of thedestinations that the road calledmale identity crisis leads to. Itis time we addressed the maleidentity crisis before it blows outof control.
The writer is an author 
 Are we having a male gender crisis in theslums?
Fathers inKiberaslums havefailed thesociety.There area lot ofyoung menlost andtorn due tolack of
Dennis Orek 
 Lovers of fast food...Beware!
Sanitation and healthcare are veryurgent issues that need to be addressed but the Ministry of health and sanita-tion is not considering this as serious. Itis always said that ‘prevention is better than cure’ but many people have nottaken this as the greatest impact in their lives as they still sit back and wait for therepercussions that are to come their way.One of the geographical featuresindicating the straining and open povertyis the river that runs down to Nairobidam that is always full of garbage. Thereis also a river that is a mixture of raw hu-
man waste and water that ows through
Gatwekera area. Combined with theabsolute lack of sewers, Kibera is sittingon a time bomb.Ironically, the residents are leastconcerned if the numbers of businessesthat run along the river are anythingto go by. Women cook Mandazi andChapati for sale without considering theamount of health risk they are puttingthemselves and their customers in.
Also along the lthy ‘green river’
there is a water point where peopleun-disturbed, fetch water for householduse as well as a well where busy womencarry out their laundry without consider-ing the kind of illness that might erupt insuch dirty places.We should not always lean on our own understanding but also seek helpfrom different sources on how we shouldcover and protect our health statusamong other things.
Eric Ouma
We are sitting on a time bomb
Incase you are wondering wherethe 7 billion people in the world are,look no further than rush hour in Nairobi
 – On a bad day it feels like a good num
- ber of the world’s population is livingright here. Meanwhile, what are these
7 billion people eating? Can the earth
 produce enough food to keep up with
demand? Apparently not.
In August last year the Kenyangovernment gazetted existing legisla-tion that allows for the importation of 
genetically modied crops. Environmen
-tal groups and small-scale subsistencefarmers, all of who fear that the GMseeds could contaminate existing seedstocks, met this with opposition. But itwas done, nonetheless.Our virgin market has just begunto attract the big boys of the world’s fastfood chains. Ever wondered why it’s
taken them so long to get here? Why arethey only beginning to come in now?
Well, it turns out that concernover the supply chain has kept themaway. Can a supplier ensure that thechickens they supply are all a certain
size? Can they breed and drug them togrow so large that they can’t even walk?
And once this chicken is big and juicy,
and slaughtered, what do they put on it?
This is what you happily stuff your face with every weekend. This is whatwe feed our kids. Is it any wonder that
the girls are menstruating earlier? Hello
obesity, diabetes and God knows whatelse!What scares me the most aboutGMOs is that the choices we haveright now will be limited in the future.Industrialized agriculture will drivesmall-scale farmers into factories and
city slums. Make no mistake; GMOs
will eventually collapse rural economies.How many small-scale farmers will
manage to compete against the big boys?
One after the other they will fold up. Theones that hang on will eventually haveto sell their organic vegetables and kie-nyeji chicken at ridiculously high prices.Small-scale farmers are the backboneof a community, nation and society as awhole. Watch GMOs destroy them, right before our very eyes.
Joshua Manwa
 Most of the problems we are facing asa country are local and need local solutions andfor such solutions to be effective, we need an en-vironment which is effective to implement them.We have skilled personnel, the best in East
and Central Africa; enough resources though we have
not exploited them. The major problem in Kenyais grand corruption. Seriously we have to curb thisvice. Reliable observations have noted that countrieslike Singapore have experienced massive economicgrowth because of their zero tolerance to corruption.Look at us, we had the same rate of economicgrowth as Singapore back at independence. yet theyare now so miles ahead of us in terms of development.
Maxwell Abuto
 Development canonly occur if we stopcorruption
What is wrong withthe slum upgrading project
On March 6 President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister 
Raila Odinga ofcially commissioned the second phase of the
slum upgrading project at Soweto. This paved way for theconstruction of 912 housing units, 230 business stalls, a nurseryschool, a social hall, a youth centre, three solid waste handlingsheds, three toilet blocks and a boundary wall at a total cost of 3 billion shillings. This is a very positive step taken by the govern-ment to solve the housing problem in Kibera.However even before all the construction materials are brought to the site a lot of issues have begun to emerge concern-
ing the rst phase that was occupied in 2009 at Lang’ata that
absorbed the residents of Soweto. It is very disturbing to hear that people are being evicted and replaced by non-slum dwellerswho are able to buy off the vacant houses.To them it is an opportunity to stay in a cool environ-ment in Up Market Lang’ata where the rent charged can beequated to pocket change. To the slum residents though this isa chance to stay in a respectable house that is a great contrastto the structures they have been living in. A chance to use water closet toilets and get piped water. A chance to use legally con-nected electricity and not having to worry about power surges,dim bulbs or being electrocuted. A chance to arrive at their workplaces without having their shoes discoloured with mudwhenever it rains. It is actually a lifetime opportunity of livingin dignity
Worse still this is being done without fear and even a rst
time visitor can easily notice that some of the houses are beingoccupied by middle class citizens. At any given time one cancount not less than 10 cars in the parking lot including top of range ones. There is absolutely no way you can own a 3 millionshillings car that you fuel with over 1000 shillings per day andstay in a house that you pay only 500 shillings as rent.Something is wrong somewhere in this whole slumupgrading thing that needs urgent attention and it is corruption.If nothing is done we are facing a situation where all the slumupgrading projects will be perceived as a deliberate plan to buildmiddle class housing estates.For those who don’t know High Rise Estate was once aslum upgrading project in the 90’s that was constructed for theresidents of Kibera. Today no one wants to talk about it and eventhough the Prime Minister reassured the residents that the second
 phase would be transparent the government should rst solve theissues of the rst phase. Otherwise this slum upgrading thing is
 just a hoax
By the Mirror team
Faith Mugambi is the new MissGhetto 2012. She was crowned after  beating nine other models pickedfrom Nairobi’s 18 slums at a beauty pageant organized by Kiamaiko Tal-ents Initiative on April 28 at Kia-
maiko slums in Huruma. The nal
-ists were selected after a round of auditions that took place in all theslums in Nairobi, Kibera included.The models had to competein seven different categories includ-
ing ofcial, casual, dinner and cre
ative wear. The ofcial and creative
wear categories appeared to be themost conspicuous in terms of cre-ativity and boldness. Fifteen-year-old Jecinta Moraa, for instance,stepped onto the catwalk in a topmade of green cabbage leaves, amatching skirt and carried along a‘chapatti’ to complete the picture.
In the ofcial wear category,
18-year-old Mary Nduta wore thelook of a casual labourer at a construc-tion site. She promenaded in rugged blue jeans shorts, black gum bootsand a grey vest. She was even carry-ing a spade on her right hand and anempty blue triangle cement bag. Sheattracted cheers from the audience.Mary Nduta was also no-table in this category with her security guard look donning aG4S security group uniform.Apart from modeling, eachmodel gave a pledge on peace andhow they will promote peaceful co-existence in the slums this electionyear, in line with the theme of the event
Tuepuke tudumishe amani
’ (let’savoid violence and enhance peace)“Imagine a situation where your  parents are butchered, your home de-stroyed and you are forced to live in a
tent for ve years,” Leah Akinyi said
when it was her turn to give a pledge.“This is what is happeningright now to many families across
Kenya. Is this fair?” she asked.
Speaking to press during theevent, Mike Mutai, president of Kia-maiko Talents Initiative, said the annu-al event—which is in its sixth year—ismeant to provide a platform for aspir-ing models to showcase their talents.“Initially, we started as a lo-cal beauty pageant for Kiamaikoslums but we decided to include allthe slums in Nairobi as a way of  bringing together the youths so thatthe models in the slums who donot have access to modeling agen-
cies or the nances to start off can
get a chance to showcase their tal-ents on a bigger platform,” he said.“This year, our main focus is on peace as this is an election year so wewant all the youth to speak out on elec-tion violence. In 2007 it is the youthwho were used to perpetrate violenceand as you know without peace ev-eryone in the community is affectedin one way or another.” He added.Mary Nduta and Samantha
Muigai emerged rst runners-up and
second runners-up respectively. Asoverall winner, Faith Muigai wasrewarded with 10,000 shillings cashvoucher, a scholarship and a supply of  beauty products from Darling cosmet-ics who sponsored the pageant. The2nd and 3rd runners-up 5,000 shil-ling cash vouchers and scholarships.Other sponsors of the eventincluded aspiring Nairobi city gover-nors Lee Kinyanjui, Assistant Minis-ter for water and irrigation FerdinandWaititu, Timothy Mariucci, Top brasscommunication, the city council of  Nairobi, Classic Yaki salon and Air-tel who infact provided 1,000 shil-lings free airtime every 30 minutesto members of the audience whowere subscribed to their network.Musician Charles Kanyi ‘Jag-uar’ entertained the audience at theend of the event with his songs vuka border and kigeugeu. The East Afri-
can artist of the year though had to n
-ish his performance because of rain.
Nairobi’s slumshave a newbeauty queen
Faith Mugambi- the new Miss Ghetto onthe runway for the Casual wear category during the beauty pageant at Kiamaikoslums. Some of the models pose during the introductory round where each modelhad to match red and black. 15 year old Jecinta Moraa was most conspicous interms of creativity with her cabbage leaves top and tomato necklace in the creativewear category.
Photos: Kizito Nadebu
Chang’aa still rules
By John Paul Okewa& Michael Omuka
The number of drinking densin Kibera outnumbers schools andchurches. This is a fact and althoughthe Alcoholic Drinks Control Billwas passed in 2009 to regulate the production and consumption of al-cohol, in the slum little has changed.With large families and lit-tle income, many parents prefer to return home drunk rather thanface their starving children sober.“It is very hard to raise thisfamily with no stable source of in-come,” laments Mbithi, a father 
of ve from Lindi, pointing at his
gloomy children. “You just haveto drink to get the courage to facethem every evening when there isnothing for supper, there are severaltimes that we had have fought withmy wife at times we even separate.”The Alcoholic Drinks Con-trol Bill was passed in 2009, requir-ing the premises on which alcoholic beverages are distilled and sold to be in a clean and wholesome condi-tion.They should have proper sani-tary arrangements and be locatedat least 300 meters from schools.In Kibera, however, theseregulations are largely ignored.Mr. George Omongweso, as-sistant chief for Gatwekera and amember of the district alcoholicdrinks regulatory committee, whichis responsible for implementing thelegislation say implementation inKibera has been slow. “People fromKenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS)came and took samples. They havenot brought the results. Neither havethey told us what the standards re-quired. We still don’t know how or where the packaging shall be done.The only law operational now is thatregulating working hours of the bars.”The demand for the drink is toohigh that some brewers like Sharon of Gatwekera say they produce up to 400litres per week sometimes workingthroughout the whole night. Besidesmiti ni dawa, chang’aa is the mostabused alcoholic drink in Kibera.Due to unhygienic brewingconditions and adding of unwantedchemicals, it has claimed lives inthe past and, in other parts of thecountry, even left people blind.Chang’aa is pro-duced by distilling ferment-ed yeast, water and mollases.
The demand is so high that some distillers produce 200 litres a day
KILLER BREW: Pots of chang’aa being distilled at adistillery in Gatwekera
Photo: John P. Okewa
 Nubiansmove to courtto stop slumupgrading project
By Mirror reporter
Members of the Nubiancommunity have moved to court tostop the slum upgrading project inKibera citing an infringment of their constitutional rights on land owner-ship. Through the suit the communitysays it fears losing its rights over landin Kibera which belongs to them.
The suit led by Sha Ali
Hussein, Khadija Yunis Ali and Fa-tuma Abdulrahman on behalf of the community says despite the factthat they have inhabited Kibera for over 150 years, the governmenthas failed to recognise their rightsand issue them with title deeds.If the community wins the case itmeans the slum upgrading project thatis in its second phase will be stopped.

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