You are on page 1of 8








Do not buy


Ghetto Mirror
Real life stories from the slums

To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Post election violence, this whole edition is is dedicated to the need to preserve peace in the slums which were hotspots

Violence is not an option this time

With less than 60 days to the general election most of residents in the slums are yet to forget what they witnessed in 2007. This time round their only wish is that no blood will be spilt.

By the Mirror team

On this month five years ago, Kenya was literary burning. A bitter dispute over who had won the presidential elections on December 30, 2007 sparked widespread ethnic inter-communial violence fuelled by joblessness among the youth. This quickly degenerated into killings, looting and displacements. After the violence died down on February 28 following mediation efforts led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, over 1500 people had lost their lives and over 600,000 displaced. With less than two months to the first general election after the violence most of the residents of the slums are yet to forget what they witnessed. Apart from saying they wish their favourite candidates won the election, those who spoke to the Ghetto Mirror say peace is their number one wish for the upcoming elections. George Muli, a resident of Kiberas Lain Saba area is among the thousands who were displaced and is yet to recover from the effects of the violence. My shop and house were looted and my family was just lucky not to have been around at that particular time. He said.

Continued on page 6

Ghetto Mirror

very election year in Kenya is welcomed with fear and worry due to he expectation thet there will be some violence. Already we have witnessed sparks of violence in Mathare, Dandora and Huruma which raise a lot of concern. Is this an indicator of the violence we experienced five years ago? Even though Kenyans would like to forget what happened in 2007 , the trail of death and horror is not something that we can easily brush aside. Over 1000 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands were forcefully displaced. 2000 women were gang raped. This happened in just 60 days. The UN says Kenya was on the brink of having a genocide while some international media houses termed the violence civil war. Government statistics indicate the country lost 1 billion dollars during the violence. Interestingly, five years later the government has not adequately compensated those who were affected. Thousands are still languishing in IDP camps and no legal action has been taken in Kenya against the main suspects. What should concern us right now is whether we have learnt from the last election and if we are ready to undergo the same process once more. This is a question that all Kenyans need to be asking themselves right now? Everyone has got a responsibility to advocate for peace regardless of his position in society. As Yehudi Menuhin says every person has a stake in maintaining peace. Peace may sound simple - one beautiful word but it requires everything we have, every quality, every strength, every dream, every high ideal. Keep peace


We welcome letters on topical issues or the stories we publish and comments on or You can also drop them at our office at Gatwekera near PAG Church, Kibera.

Every Kenyan has If Obama suddenly decided to run in Kenya a duty to stand up for peace

Quote of the Month

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Mother Teresa
A publication of Shining Hope For Communities
Vincent Achuka Line editor John P. Okewa Graphic design Paul Owino

n the early 90s, Mathare river-as its well-known by the locals, was just a good sight to watch. Children used to swim in it, with older ones with their hooks, fishing in it. The river was full of activities, with women washing their clothes or fetching water from this river. Since it was in the middle of the slum it was a very resourceful river to the locals. Today, the river that originates from Karura Forest presents a different picture. All the sewage pipes around the river have been turned loose facing the river. The river now serves as a dumping site for the slum and its environs. Local clinics that are full of quacks that are found in every

Someone please save the Mathare River

corner of the slum dispose their needles and aborted babies into it at will. Changaa brewers have also turned it into a source of distilling water and their customers have turned the banks into makeshift bars. Last year the government tried to come to the rescue of this river but did too little for a short time. The ministry of Environment under the National Environmental Management Authority (NEEMA) founded a programme of employing youths to clean this river but it didnt take long due to corruption in the ministry. So this river continues to be a dumping site for many becoming worse and worse. The government should sensi-

Jackson Yewa

tize the community on the importance of the river. They should also restart the cleaning program that involved the youth. This should be a permanent job that even involves planting of trees on its banks. The youths should be provided with proper tools and materials for this job. If the government can invest in this, then we would have help the existing and the new generation to come, causes of lungs infections will decrease drastically among this poor slum dwellers and the helpless children. If this river can be restored to its original status, then not only humans will be happy but even animals would have appreciated this gesture.

Crack down on fake rehabilitation centres Come out and vote

It is such a shame that the number of street kids or Chokoras as we like referring them keeps growing even as the government insists it has succeeded in removing them from the streets. In a way it appears the government is blinding us by taking them from the streets when they carry out swoops but take them to hostile institutions like Joseph Kangethe where it is said life is too hard so after some time the kids get back to the streets again. This cycle continues and that is why the num-bers will never reduce. A good question to ask is why we have never been shown any street kid who has been fully reha-bilitated and is living a normal life with a job an a house. Why? It is because actually no rehabilitation n takes place in these rehabilitation centres as they have been turned into mini-juvenile prisons for holding the street kids just to keep them off the streets. Life on the streets is not pleas-ing either as they lack food, shelter and face constant harassment from the police and members of the pub-lic who view them as filthy. The government needs to do something before the situation gets out of hand Kenyans have a tendency to do things the last minute. This was evident during the just concluded voter registration exercise where very long queues were witnessed on the last day. This is even after the IEBC spent millions of shilling on advertising campaigns. Ironically most of the Kenyans still complain that the country has got bad leadership. I hereby appeal to all my fellow Kenyans to wake up on March 4 and take the chance to help in deciding the future of this country. Let us avoid the hustle of waiting in long queues during the evening when time for voting is almost up.

KIBERA NEWS TEAM: Eric Ouma,Godwin Oyindo, Abuto Rashid, Sylvia Nekesa, David Otieno, Kizito Nadebu, Nicodemus Odalo, George Bush, Peter Ombedha. MATHARE NEWS TEAM: Dennis Onyango, Geofrey Mimas, Irene Adhiambo, Maurice Adienge, Berryl Okello, Joseph Ochieng, Crispine Oginga, Gladys Akoth, Juma Onesmus, Mercy Aymah

Matilda Adhiambo

David Ogolla

Technical assistance Dan Whipple& Kathleen Bogan E-mail:

Dont wait till the end of the month for news

Join our online audience @theghettomirror



Ghetto Mirror

We do not want a repeat of the violence ever again

Participants of the violence speak about their roles and say they are sorry

Kimaiyo talks tough on criminal gangs

By Mirror Correspondent
Newly appointed Police Inspector General David Kimaiyo has ordered all police chiefs to deal with criminal gangs operating in the slums within the city to ease tension as we approach the election. This is after a wave of violence hit Dandora, Mathare and Huruma during the festive season. The police have a duty to maintain law and order and also to ensure that there is peace during the election and after. He said. I have directed the police to use necessary force as stated in the police standing orders and deal with any gangs that are sprouting in the slums taking advantage of the election period to cause terror. In Dandora hundreds of residents took to the streets on New Years Day protesting over rising insecurity in the area. This is after three people were shot dead in the area and two others seriously injured when armed robbers ran amok in the area shooting at will. The residents say six armed men who had two AK47 rifles and pistols raided a shop at Dandora Phase 3 and shot Victor Kyanguli the shopkeeper before stealing an unknown amount of money. The protestors marched to Buruburu Police station and demanded to be addressed by the OCPD Hassan Barua who had to leave a meeting to address the protestors. The police insist it a case of a normal robbery but the Inspector general said they have placed adequate police measures to stop sparks of violence in the slums. He said police patrols have also been intensified in areas hit by insecurity as police crackdown down on all gang rated activities. He was speaking at Police Pavilion grounds when he met senior police chiefs to strategize on

Young boys play on a section of the Kenya- Uganda railway line that was uprooted during the post election violence in 2008. The economy of Uganda which uses Kenya to import its goods was severly affected. Photo: Peter Ombedha By the mirror team
23 year old Maurice Muthee serves customers at a water kiosk. It is mid morning in Kibera and water being one of the most traded commodities in the slum, it is a busy day for him. On most days, the queues start getting short as it approaches mid day, but whenever there is a shortage, queues are endless. This is one of those days. However, deep inside, his heart is full of remorse. Five years ago on this exact month, the hardworking water vendor was actively participating in the post election violence. In fact he was one of those people who uprooted the Kenya Uganda railway line at Gatwekera shutting down an international rail link between the two east African country for weeks. I cant say I have a particular reason for participating in the violence but at that time all my friends were part of it, so it made me feel good. Interestingly, Maurice did not even vote as his age did not allow him. He was 17 by then and out of school. I can remember on January 2 just a day after the winner had been announced, some very influential people in the community went round saying Raila Odinga was going to be sworn in at Uhuru Park and I was among thousands of people who attempted to walk from Kibera to Uhuru Park chanting. The procession was so huge stretching over a kilometer. He says. On reaching, Kabarnet Gardens just outside Kibera we met over a hundred General Service Unit officers who sprayed us water that made your skin to itch on impact from a green police truck that had cannons on both sides. The truck sped right in the middle of the protestors spraying us with water immediately stopping our quest to reach Uhuru Park. He adds. Maurice, whose two neighbours lost their lives in the two darkest months of Kenyas history after independence says he does not want to see a repeat of the same. Personally I would not participate if there is ever a repeat of violence in my life time. After seeing my uncle get displaced together with his pregnant wife, I felt their pain. I will never. He swears. However he feels that unless people do away with the mentality that elections are always rigged in Kenya, the country still has a long way to go. According to a report by the Kenya National Human Rights commission about the violence, in Nairobi Kibera and Mathare were the epicenters because of the high rates of unemployment and poverty. Just like Maurice, Jackson Ochieng who works with a local NGO also admits to have participated in the looting which was widespread at that time. I looted anything that appeared valuable to me; TVs, radios and any electronic equipment I came across. He says. Although he refuses to admit that this is the same as stealing he says he was only taking advantage of the situation and is not sorry. Why should I be sorry for stealing? Those who rigged the election, are they sorry? He asks. However he expects the elections would be peaceful this time round. Just a day after the election day on December 28, I was part of a group that lit bonfires all over the slum. There was a rumour that the elections were being rigged in favour of one candidate and we chose not to wait.Says Michael Owino who is in his late twenties. He admits seeing people being killed by some of his friends.

He however feels nothing much has changed in the slums. If there was real change, those who were displaced should have returned to their houses by now. He says. The absence of violence does not mean that there is peace. Look at all the slums right now, some areas are synonymous with specific tribes. He asserts. Likewise our leaders are trying very hard to hide the fact that the violence was caused by two main things; ethnicity and the gap between the rich and the poor. Instead of tackling these two issues they are busy dividing the people along tribal lines. Let these political coalitions not full you. They are all based on tribal arithmetic. He warns. Nonetheless, he feels sorry for those who lost their loved ones. A ring leader of the violence who speaks to us on condition of anonymity as he is very influential in Kibera says he was leading a group of around 500 who did most of the looting and violence during that period. Immediately the results were announced we mobilized around 2000 people and we walked to KICC where the results were being tallied. However, the police blocked us from entering the venue. He recalls. That was day one. From there onwards I cannot recall how many times we demonstrated. We just kept on doing it and us time went by, the number of demonstrators kept going down until we could not demonstrate anymore. He says. Some people broke their legs when the railway line was being uprooted and they have never walked again. He says sadly. He disagrees that they forced people to join in their demonstration. But he says this time round he just want people to accept whatever result would come out of the election as a lot of blood was spilt in the last one. My vote is both for change and peace. He proclaims.

Reports by Nicodemus Odalo, Paul Owino & Peter Ombedha

2013 when he officially took over as inspector general.

Our experience during that moment of madness

Saidi Mbuvi Mary Auma Mildred Achieng Dennis Owino Pamela Adhiambo

Both my house and shop were looted. I sought refuge at a wellwisheras house. The shop was my only source of income although those who lost their lives or relatives had a bigger loss. My advice to the general public is that your neighbours will always be there for you unlike the politicians who only come to look for votes and disappear.

Before post-election violence, I was selling vegetables and fruits. When the violence broke out, I was not able to transport my groceries to the market as matatus did not operate for a whole month causing them to rot. My children slept hungry most of the time because the price of food was way above reach for a whole month.

My neighbours daughter who was supposed to join high school that year was shot dead. If she was alive today, she would have finished high school by now. I wish people in the slums were accommodative with each other and accept the results of the elections. The government should also provide adequate security and IEBC conduct a free and fair election.

Just as the results were almost being announced at 6:30 p.m. there was a total black in Kibera which lasted for three days. Soon food supply ran out and people went to the extent of picking vegetables that grow along dirty streams. Without electricity we had to walk for 10 kilometres up to LungaLunga in Industrial area to buy kerosene.

My family depends on the proceeds I get from my cereal business and with free movement being limited we really struggled financially. There were gunshots all over and my children did not go to school the whole period. In other places, children were able to go to school but in Kibera everything literary came to a standstill. It was bad.

4Ghetto Mirror we have a collection and paintings on Pic Speak: This monthby our photographersof graffitiNairobi peace shot around


Dandora phase 4

Kibera DC


The business effect of the violence

Residents bear the brunt as investors fear the risk of investing in the slums citing insecurity
or cooked food, like githeri, or cooked rice, she said, pointing to cooked rice in a stall next to hers. However, slum dwellers are optimistic that the security situation will improve and that supermarkets and other large investors will serve the local residents. Anne Wambui, who runs a wholesale shop in Kibera, urged residents to embrace peace. She says violence is the greatest enemy of development. Mrs. Anne narrated how she lost valuable goods as a result of the past postelection violence. Most of my goods worth millions were looted and some burned in the year 2008 during the post-election violence, she said. Therefore I am pleading with fellow residents to put peace first more so as we approach another general election. I believe we residents in slums should just say no to violence and embrace peace, said Bei Naffuu Shop attendant who asked not to be named. If it were not for violence, Kibera would have been a good business place full of investors. She told us how she starved because she had nowhere after her workplace was looted including the doors and windows. My boss lost everything during the last post-election violence and all who were employed lost jobs and forced to stay home until the violence ended. I therefore urge fellow residents to prioritise peace and pray so that people may live in love and unity for prosperity of the nation as a whole, she says.


Inside one of the Mini super markets in Kibera. Despite the huge population in the slums that would ideally present a large market base for any potential investor, many investors shy away from investing in the slums.
Photo: Peter Ombedha

By David Otieno & George Bush

If you live in Kibera and it is just the end of the month and you want to do a whole months shopping you have four options. You can either do your shopping at Nakumatt Ngong road, Uchumi Ngong Road, Uchumi Adams Arcade or Tuskys Adams Arcade. To access either of these supermarkets you will have to spend extra money on bus fare. Before the post-election violence the residents of Kibera had the option of shopping right at their doorstep. There was a supermarket near Olympic Primary School but it was razed down. The situation is replicated across major slums as potential new businesses in the slums, like supermarkets, have been deterred from investing in the areas because of fears of violence and in-

security. Because of the fear of insecurity, large business investments like banks, petrol stations, insurance firms have concentrated in middle class neighbourhoods despite the huge population in the slums that can offer a large market base. Kibera and Mathare combined have a population running to hundreds of thousands but they do not have a single bank. According to an official at Nakumatt Ngong Road , the factors they consider before opening a branch are accessibilitygood infrastructure and roadsmarket size, availability of raw materials, government policy and security. He admitted that violence is one of the reasons as to why it is hard to invest in slums. Most of the slum residents are prone to violence and without proper security they easily loot goods whenever there is violence, she said, though we are hopeful and we believe that through peace we

will spread to slums and bring our services closer to the residents. Dennis Kamau, a shopkeeper in Kawangware, felt that supermarkets cannot easily invest in slums because of insecurity. You know here in slums theres a lot of insecurity. Investors fear doing business here simply because their goods might be looted when violence broke, as was in last post-election skirmishes, he said. He added that since most residents are low income earners, they buy products in small quantities but supermarkets sell theirs in larger volumes. However, Rose Atieno, who sells vegetables at Satellite, said that goods in the supermarkets are more expensive than in the slum-based markets. I think slum residents are poor and most of them prefer kadogo ( less expensive) economy, she said. Due to this, most residents prefer going for ready-made

Carol Akinyi displays her fish products along gatekwekera road. She hopes that the coming election will be free of violence . Photo: Peter ombedha


Ghetto Mirror

Nairobi CBD

Undugu Kibera


Alarm raised over night campaigns in Mathare

Outgoing Langata MP Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his wife Idah register as voters at Makina ward. Looking on is IEBC Chairman Mohammed Isaak Hassan. By Joseph Ochieng & Dennis Onyango
Residents of Mathare have raised an alarm on the manner in which some for the newly created County representatives seat are carrying out their campaigns saying the virtues of democracy are being undermined. Voter bribery and night campaigns have become very common even after a stern warning from the area District Commissioner Evans Mtari who said those politicians that campaign at night will face the law. Those politicians who hold meetings at night have been warned. Why dont you campaign during the day when everyone can see you? He said during the Mathare peace day. Despite this warning, agents and chief campaigners for politicians are doing rounds during the night especially at Baghdad and Mandera. The campaigns have at times turned violent and village elders say they are also destroying families. A leading contestant for the Utalii ward County representative seat as built a ring of rowdy supporters who are going round every night. His supporters are said to be intimidating those who they meet in the street at night and they do not join them.

Photo: Peter Ombedha

A marital case was brought to me by a woman who had been beaten by her husband because she was not there to cook as she had gone to attend a night campaign and came back at 11 pm.
village elder
Chapter nine of the elections act says, Every person shall be guilty of the offence of undue influence if he directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, makes use of or threatens any force, violence or restraint, or any temporal or spiritual injury, damage or loss, or any fraudulent device, trick or deception, for the purpose of influencing one to vote for a particular candidate. If found influencing a voter, one is punishable by a prison sentence not exceeding four years. During the month of December I saw not once or twice but sev-

eral times political aspirants purchasing cheap alcohol for groups of youth so that they can campaign for them. Some were even visiting Changaa dens and buying rounds in the name of campaigning, Said Charles Otieno, a village elder in the area. A marital case was brought to my attention involving a woman who had been beaten by her husband because she was not there to cook as she had gone to attend a night campaign because of the money being issued and came back at 11 pm. He said. The youth should stop being used by politicians and instead focus on their personal development. He advised the youth. Chapter 10 of the of the election offences act says Any person who directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, gives or procures, or agrees to give or procure, a bribe or any other form of a gift in order to influence any person to vote for him has committed an act of bribery which is punishable by law by a sentence not exceeding 5 years. For Millicent Otieno, the campaign period is almost destroying his family. Her husband is seldom at home only coming in the wee hours of the morning. I am being denied my conjugal rights all in the name of the elections. We have complained to the leaders of Mathare but nothing seems to work. She complained. Speaking on behalf of the Utalii Ward Chief, Stephen Masore the Chairman of Mathare 4A refused to agree that campaigns are taking place at night. We are not aware that there are any midnight campaigns taking place anywhere in Mathare and if it is indeed happening it is against the law. He said.

Low voter registration in Mukuru as recidents cite past election

By Peter Ombedha & Godwin Oyindo
ven as it turns out Nairobi registered over 100 percent of the targeted voters during the just concluded voter registration exercise, some people in the slums chose not to register saying there was no good participating in the upcoming general elections because of concerns arising from the violence of 2007. Visits by the Ghetto Mirror to several slums during the 3 week exercise were met with bored Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) clerks with very little registration taking place on several occasions. A clerk at Mukuru Kwa Rueben who spoke to us on condition of anonymity as he is not allowed to talk to the media said they were registering an average of 20 people per day and on some occasions as low as 10. We spend most of our time listening to music and chatting while some of us sleep in turns. He said. Some people especially the youth are afraid to register because they think we shall share our data with the police and make it easy for them to be tracked down, which is not the case. He said. I lost my husband 6 months into our marriage leaving me with a two month old baby. Now my son has never met his father. COMPLAINED Joyce Wangari, a resident of the nearby Mukuru Kwa Rueben. I had to lie to my son that his father died in a road accident

because he does not understand what post-election violence means. The government has never helped us for these five years, how do you expect me to register as a voter? So that my son dies as well? She asked. Jared Mwangi who was found by the Ghetto Mirror registering said he is not sure if he will vote. Unless the government puts in place measures to prevent violence I may not vote because in the last election I felt my vote had contributed to violence. He said. In Kibera IEBC officials say the turnout was over 100 percent. However analysts say this is attributed to the fact that the area MP Raila Odinga will be contesting for the presidency. Areas considered as backyards for presidential candidates achieved almost 100 percent voter registration. Some people took the prerogative of mobilising people to register

as voters which may have contributed to the high numbers achieved. Even if we lost our loved ones during the previous election, this should not be a reason of not registering as a voter. If we do not it means their blood was lost in vain. Said Gladys Adhiambo registered on the last day. In order to increase voter registration in the slums IEBC led by their CEO James Oswago launched a campaign dubbed Massive Clean Up Campaign in all the major slums to assure the residents that elections will be free, fair and peaceful.

From page 1

Residents appeal for peace as election fast approaches

6 Ghetto Mirror


We spent over a month at the Jamhuri show ground together with other internally displaced persons (IDPs) before going upcountry after peace returned. I even remember my son who was two years at that time contracting pneumonia and we had no money to take him to hospital. he added. Mull said that even though he is optimistic the elections will be peaceful; he will be relocating with his family of five to his rural home in Machakos in March as a safety precaution although he has also registered as a voter there. Mulis thoughts are not farfetched considering the sparks of violence witnessed in Mathare, Huruma and Dandora during the festive season which some people argue are a preview of things to come if there are no proper mechanisms put in place to prevent violence. In Mathare the violence was caused when two rival gangs clashed after one of the members from one gang died after being stabbed. Over 30 houses were burnt down during the night long orgy. The violence in Dandora on New Years Eve was caused by nightlong shooting spree that led to four deaths in the area. Some residents insist the shooting was politically mo-

tivated in order to cause tension. Risper Anyango, another resident of Kibera said she wants to relocate to another area within the slum which will be safer for her. Where I stay is occupied by people who are not from my community and if violence breaks out they might turn against me. She said. The UN Habitat says, as a result of the violence most of the major slums have been balkanized along tribal lines with specific areas being heavily populated by members of a particular community further propelling disunity. Rispers husband was shot during the violence in 2007 and she was left to take care of their 5 children and she says life is not easy. On three occasions she has been thrown out by different landlords for her inability to pay rent. Unlike Muli, she will still be in Kibera during the election but she said the government has done little to promote peace or security in the expansive slum. Some candidates come and campaign at night and dish out money to the youth which may be a recipe for violence. she said. Though rarely talked about, these night campaigns are becoming popular in Mathare and Kibera where agents of politicians use the opportunity to bribe voters (see separate story)

Residents of Kibera demonstrate along Kibera Drive over insecurity during the month of December. Most of them are optimistic that the elections will be peaceful this time round.
Photo: File

and in some instances they have turned violent. On the night of December 29, some commotion erupted at Kamukunji grounds in Kibera when agents of a popular party came with large amounts of cash which they were dishing out to those who turned up but some became rowdy. A 2008 report on the damage caused by the violence by the UN Habitat dubbed Rapid Assessment on the Impact of Post-Election Violence in Nairobi says Kibera, Kangemi, Huruma, Mathare North, Fuata Nyayo slums, Korogocho, Baba Dogo, Dandora as the most affected. All these are slum areas. The report further says that both residential and commercial properties were extensively damaged, looted or razed down during the skirmishes. In Kibera, more than 3000 stalls at the famous Toi Market were burnt down and property worth millions of shillings lost. Along Ayany road, close to 90 kiosks selling groceries and housing posho mills were razed along a 400-metre stretch up to the Anglican Church of Kenya near Aya-

ny. Permanent stone structures were broken into and property looted, while the Patrick Njiru Petrol Station which is owned by veteran rally driver Patrick Njiru was torched. The Petrol station is back to normal operation. In total 19 churches in Kibera were looted and burnt, over 4000 stalls looted and burnt, 1100 structures looted and burnt, six schools burnt, 900 residential houses torched and 5000 people displaced. In Kangemi, the report says eight commercial premises in the village all within 30 to 40 metres of each other were burnt as were 200 stalls at the Kangemi market while in South B Fuata Nyayo slums, 30 semi-permanently constructed kiosks were burned to the ground along with their wares. At Hurumas Ghetto Village, a total of 62 residential and community structures destroyed and 120 families displaced. Three churches were burned and a community toilet made of concrete was torched. In Korogocho, at least 3000 people were affected by the violence especially in Ngunyumu,

Ngomongo, Glogon and Kisumu Ndogo while in Dandora phase 4 all kiosks within a distance of 300 metres from Kanyago church were burnt down and for a brief period some tenants were evicted from their homes. John Kiragu wishes politicians would be on the forefront in campaigning for peace as their followers will easily do what they say. Hope the people of this country have learnt from the past mistakes. It is only a fool who does not learn from his mistakes. he said. I do not see the need for violence, when we were busy fighting the politicians were seated in their up-market residents sipping coffee and watching the whole thing on TV. Tell me which politician was killed or injured. asked Maurine Achieng, another slum resident. It appears we have not learnt anything from the violence in 2007 even though the memories are still fresh. Some of the leaders have rallied their communities behind them so nothing has changed unless we can do away with tribalism. she adds.

Grafitti artist on a one man mission

By Godwin Oyindo & Nicodemus Odalo
Solomon Munyondo was part of the people that took to the streets immediately the election results were announced in 2007. Instead of participating in lighting bonfires and looting, Solo 7 as he is commonly known was armed with just a paintbrush and some paint. He painted political slogans of peace at virtually every spot in Kibera where most of the violence in Nairobi was taking place. Today Kibera and recently Mathare and Huruma are awash with his wall paintings and graffiti synonymous with one message Keep Peace Alive The seventh child in a family of says his efforts for peace are as symbolic as his approach to preaching peace. I chose the name Solo 7 because of the recurrence of 7 in my life and also because 2007 was the worst year I have seen since I came to Kibera from Kitale. The communities in the slum had become very galvanized and I felt I had a responsibility and the best way I could do it was to use my talent. At first people thought I was mad or I had a lot of paint to waste but after I did my first graffiti and realized no one tampered with it, I decided to do more. He says. To date he has lost count of how many paintings he has done so far but he feels he has made a contribution to maintaining peace. However it has not been easy. Some time when things were hot, some of the rioters found me painting a certain gate and they turned their anger towards me. Some stones hit me but I saved myself by jumping over the gate. He recalls. Nonetheless he is adamant that he is not about to stop. Some people even stopped me on the streets and told me they dont want peace but I think this is my purpose and calling in this world. He insists.

Solo 7 paints his signature piece graffiti on a wall in Kibera. The artist has lost count of how many such pieces he has painted in Kibera, Mathare and Huruma Photo: Peter Ombedha

Some politicians have even approached him to paint their parties slogans but he has refused to bulge. If you fight all of you are losers. Even if you kill me or hurt me, you still have not gained anything. He speaks of the upcoming elections. His efforts did not stop after the violence, when residents of Kibera took to the streetrs to protest against rising insecurity he came out and painted some graffiti along the route the protestors followed. Although he does not have money to buy paint, Solo says if violence bereaks out he shall still be in the streets.


Ghetto Mirror

We are not yet ready for the digital switch

30 in court over Mathare clashes

By Mirror reporter

Millicent Awuor following her favourite programme on TV. She says she is not aware that the government is planning to switch off analogue transmission. The cheapest Top set box costs 2000 shillings which is twice the amount of rent paid by most people in the slums
Photo: George Bush

If the government switches off analogue TV most of the poor people will not be able to follow the election
By George Bush & Peter Ombedha
Have you migrated yet? This is the question that most of the residents of Nairobi and its environs should be asking themselves as the government pushes for the migration of television from analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting. The switch was initially planned for December 31, 2012. But following a legal case filed by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (CoFeK). the court called the move unreasonable, suspicious and expensive to consum-

ers. High Court Judge Isaac Lenaola issued this directive on December 20 saying he will issue a ruling on January 11 when the case would be heard. In the migration, viewers must purchase a set-top box that converts the analog signal to a digital one. The least expensive box costs about Ksh 2,000. The transition would deny access to about 1.5 million people who own analogue television sets from watching TV because most of them do not have surplus money to enable them to purchase the set up boxes required to enable one watch digital television, CoFeK argued. It would also lock a majority of the residents from following important programming about the general election and other matters of general interest. Furthermore during this period most of the people are burdened with school fees and other expenses and forcing them to spend extra money on a set up box is punitive, said Stephen Mutoro, the federations secretary general. However if the court rules in favor of the government, most people living in the slums may be unable to follow the election proceedings.

The cost of a set up box may be too high for them. According to government statistics nearly 70 percent of the residents of Nairobi live in slums. In addition to the cost of the set-top box, consumers would have to pay Ksh 500 per month to watch channels in the cheapest package of basic channels. To watch more channels, one would be required to pay more every month. Go-TV, another set up box by Multichoice Kenya targeted at the low income group, costs Ksh 3,100 shillings down from the initial Ksh 5,000 shillings charged for acquiring Dstv, another product by the same company. In Kibera, most residents pay an average of Ksh 800 shillings per month. Buying a decoder at Ksh 2,000, then paying 500 shillings per month in order to watch TV may prove too costly. I have to wait and see if my television will be switched off. It is then that I will look on how I can resource for funds to buy a decoder, said Philip Omondi, a resident of Kibera. Some like Eunice Awuor are not even aware what the switch to digital TV is all about. I struggle to even put

food on the table for my children and sometimes we are forced to do without. Although I have a TV set, to us it is just luxury, therefore we will just have to wait if the government will come to our rescue but if it does not, there is nothing I can do, she said. Go-TV carried out a twomonth promotion that ended recently but they only managed to sell slightly over 300 decoders in Kibera . However Chris Bikati of the company attributed this to the tendency of Kenyans to wait for deadlines. Most Kenyans have a tendency to wait for the deadline. This announcement was made five years ago and has been postponed more than thrice but we are expecting the sales to go high once the deadline approaches. Nonetheless the government is adamant that switching to digital transmission is the way to go, arguing that it will give consumers a better viewing experience with more channels and a sharper signal. Currently the country has got 19 free onair TV channels. There are few additional frequencies free in the analog spectrum on which to add channels it is difficult to add more channels. The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) refused to comment on the matter because it is already in court. But its website says Kenyans must be ready to migrate because the Regional Radio-communication Conference of 2006 set June 17, 2015 as the deadline for all countries to migrate from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting. In analogue broadcasting broadcasts are transmitted on analogue waveforms over assigned radio frequencies which are received by a TV aerial mounted on the roof. In digital broadcasting however, broadcasts are processed electronically and converted into digital format then transmitted and reconverted by appropriate receivers or set-top boxes into sound and pictures. Meanwhile CoFek is collecting a million signatures from the public to force the gov-

Thirty people have been arraigned in court for arson over the Mathare clashes that led to 20 houses being burned down and the death of one person during the festive season The prosecutor Chef Inspector Nzau Musangi told the court that they unlawfully set on fire Wakiago Beach building at Mathare 3C on December 23 and asked the court to remand them as the police were working on some new evidence that they wanted to produce to the court. Among the 30 was a 14 year old boy. The police told the court that the incident led to riots in the whole slum and urged the court not to grant any bail to the suspects. All the 30 suspects denied the charges in front of Principal Magistrate Lucy Mbugua. The case would be heard in March 5

Class 7 Pupil among thugs lynched

By Mirror reporter
A 14 year old boy is among four suspected thugs who were lynched by an angry mob after their robbery attempt backfired on January 2 at Karanja road in Kibera. Two of the four suspects who are in their early twenties died on the spot after being stoned by an angry crowd who accused them of robbing people going to work early in the morning. The other two died in hospital while the fifth suspect who was saved by the police is still recuperating in hospital and would soon appear in court. The police have failed to provide adequate security around here and several suspects whom we have handed over to them are released a few days later. said an angry resident Kilimani OCPD Bernad Muli said it was unfortunate that the residents took the law into their own hands. We do not advocate mob justice because it is criminal. He said.

Events inspired movie

By Sylvia Nekesa & Peter Ombedha
A lot of stories have been told about the post-election violence but none captures the severity of the chaos like Togetherness supreme- a movie based on a true story. Directed by Nathan Colet and produced by Mary Beth Fielder, the feature film is perhaps the best true reflection of how events unfolded on the lives of the people living in the slums of Nairobi where most of the violence was taking place. Released in 2008, when the memories of the violence were still fresh, the story revolves around Kamau (Wilson Maina) and Otieno (Geofrey Ongonga) who both live in Kibera. Kamau is a painter while Otieno is a jobless guy living a hand to mouth lifestyle and a tenant of houses owned by Kamaus father. With time an unlikely friendship blossoms between the two regardless of the deeply ingrained tribalism that exists in the slums. Otieno even convinces Kamau to join the Orange Democratic Party (ODM), a party dominated by members of his community that was seeking to dethrone the government during the elections. Soon, they are active members of the party, searching for change in the midst of tribal tension in the slums. Kamau defies his father and becomes a die-hard supporter of the opposition party. He even adopts a pseudo name to hide his identity and applies his artistic talents to the party which earns him instant recognition. However, their dream of defeating tribalism hits the rocks when they are caught up in the middle of the conflict fuelled by tribalism that tears the country apart. Things are complicated further when they realize that they both love the same woman; Alice- played by Martha Kiseka. Alice is a preachers daughter who belongs to the Kamba tribe. Interestingly there is some similarity between the characters and their actual lives. I hope this film will show the world how much people suffered during the violence and warn people of the consequences

of engaging in violence, Says Peter Chege who plays Kamaus father in the film. Before the violence Chege was a landlord in Kibera but he lost all his property and had to run away. Many People lost their lives in the violence, the film should be a good lesson. says Otieno Kotieno who plays a fiery politician in the film. Kotieno is currently running for the County representatives seat for Gatwekera ward. The low budget film shot for only 30 days has won 5 international awards including the winner Global Landscape award 2011, best international feature film at the Santa Barbara film festival 2011, most promising actor at the Africa Movie Academy awards 2010 and best child actor at the same awards. Locally it won the best Cinematography award at the Kalasha Awards in 2011. According to Hotsun Foundation that produced the movie, the script was inspired by the experiences of a young man who was threatened by his neighbours using Machetes making him to relocate from the slum during the violence. .

Playing for peace


8Ghetto Mirror


Month long tournament attracts a record 150 teams on its fifth anniversary
Senior SHOFCO 3 - 1 TYSA Under 13 Corinthians 1 - 0 G. Lyte Under 10 Mikindani 3 - 2 Egan
into the final for the over 17 category which was won by SHOFCO FC from Kibera after a nail biting 90 minute encounter with TYSA FC. The match started in a fast pace with no team getting clear chances though TYSA dominated the opening minutes. With 20 minutes of play, SHOFCOs midfielder fired a low long range shot from outside the 18 yard box that sped past three defenders on its way to the keeper who did little giving SHOFCO its first goal of the game. During the second half TYSA gain dominated making the leaders work extra hard to hold on to their lead and after just five minutes they were rewarded after their play maker Benjamin Kibet picked a loose ball in the mid-field and dribbled past two defenders to level the game. But even with the goal TYSA still raided and looked as though they would win the cup but after the final whistle the game had to be decided on penalties which SHOFCO won 3-1. In other results in the boys category: invited guest team Mikadini FC of Mombasa beat Egan from Kibera 3-2 to win the under 10 category. Corinthians FC won the under 13 category after beating Ghetto Light FC by a solitary goal. Both teams are from Kibera. Lexus FC won the under 16 category. In girls football, Kiberas Olympic High School thrashed Sunderland Samba 3-2 to win the main cup while Beijing Raiders beat Sunderland Sambas under 16 team to win the category. They also won the under 13 category by beating Bethsaida 2-1. Ben Ooko, one of the organizers said the tournament was meant to promote peaceful coexistence among the people living in the slums. Let us take care of each other, and view each other as brothers not separated by the virtue of our tribes. Kibera Uniteds coach, Iddi Baddi whose team took part in the tournament said he was happy the message of peace had been passed considering the huge number of participants and spectators that turned up at the Kibera DC grounds where the tournament was being staged. We are hoping to have a peace when the election comes. He said. The tournament was started by the Amani Kibera Organization in 2008 as a response to the violence which had taken place the previous year in order to preach peace. For the first time this year, it had 1 team from outside Nairobi participating.

Senior Olympic 3 - 2 Samba Under 13 Beijing 2 - 1 Bethsaida
Part of the action during the Amani Kibera Football tournament under the theme Jiamulie Jichagulie Amani (Decide and choose peace) which attracted over 2000 participants
Photo: Courtesy to preach peace in the slums has over the years grown into one of the largest soccer tournament attracting over 2000 active participants every time it occurs. And just before the first general elections after the post-election violence, the fifth anniversary of the

Under 10 Beijing 1- 0 Samba

tournament lived up to its billing attracting a whopping 150 teams of different age categories for both boys and girls from within Kibera and outside. The tournament which was held for a whole month between November 17 to December 17 culminated

By Paul Owino
The annual Amani Kibera soccer tournament that has been held consistently as a reminder on the need

Download free QR reader from the internet and scan this code with your smart phone for more news, photos & videos from the slums

Presenters locked in a glass house for 6 days

By mirror reporter
For six days, they survived without food and water locked in a glass house. Surrounded by CCTV cameras that monitored their every move streaming live images over the internet Ghetto radio presenters Mbusi, Sollo and Elsie were locked inside a glass studio in front of the Hilton Hotel from December 18 to 24. All this was for the sake of peace. Working in 8 hour shifts under the theme Vote for Kenya, vote for peace the three popular radio presenters for the radio station whose main target audience is the youth who reside in Ghettos and slums in the country hosted 24 hour back to back shows advocating for the need for peace during the upcoming elections. This initiative is aimed at sensitizing the youth on the importance of peace through around the clock voter education, said Julius Owino, the stations CEO. Various leading contestants were also interviewed live on air on their commitment to peaceful elections and

holding peaceful campaigns. The station also invited officials from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the Judiciary who sensitized the listeners on the new electoral laws and to give an assurance that the elections will be free and fair. Outside, CNN award winning photographer Boniface Mwangi displayed photographs that he shot during the post-election violence to refresh the memories of those who visited the square. The exhibition was dubbed Picha Mtaani and it attracted curious onlookers.

The Ghetto Mirror, is a monthly newspaper published and distributed for free by Shining Hope For Communities as part of its programs aimed at empowering the youth through developing their media skills and also to bring attention to the issues affecting the residents of the informal settlements. All the work that goes into production of this newspaper is done by youth from the slums. Correspondence should be addressed to You can also visit our Facebook page: for constant news updates, photos and videos . News and advertising: 0721689996, 020-2329661

You might also like