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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 19 October 2014

AGONY AS WAIGURU DEMOLITIONS LOOM IN KIBERA



Residents of Makina area in Kibera are spending sleepless nights following reports that their houses will be demolished to give way for the paving of a seasonal stream that passes through the area. Those living within 10 metres on either side of the stream will be moved. The National Youth Service is doing the work under close watch of Devolution minister Anne Waiguru. Among the projects are toilets that locals however say will see the return of flying toilets because they can not afford to pay for answering calls of nature. The toilets project, the locals say, was started without a survey because the Medina mosque area for instance has four Waiguru toilets to serve over 10,000 people when the toilets the residents now use are demolished as is planned. The Waiguru toilets will be connected to the main sewer line but residents are asking how much it will cost given that flushing after a call requires over 10 litres of water yet they can not afford water to drink.
In Kibera, each plot has its toilets which the landlord cleans and it remains to be seen how Waiguru’s toilets will be kept being “ownerless”. The project ostensibly is aimed at removing toilets next to the stream as it empties the waste to Nairobi Dam but had Waiguru done research, dwellers say, she would have discovered that toilets as far as 500 metres from the streams empty on the streams through filthy rivulets that meander the alleys so in essence she will be doing zero work. Only upgrading of Kibera will save Nairobi Dam, experts point out.
Another question is how residents will be accessing Waiguru’s toilets at night when they are so far from some plots. Currently, residents use toilets within their plots whose gates are locked at night and the biggest fear is that women and girls will now be raped as they walk the distance at night to the Waiguru toilets outside the plots. Nylon paper bag toilets, they say, will be the solution and already a name, Yaiguru, has been coined to indicate it is a toilet that comes from above flying.
But why would a government embark on a project that will end up white elephant? There are those who claim the project is aimed at creating market for Savannah Cement Company which is supplying the cement. There are also questions as to how Savannah won the tender that was not advertised. The plan, it is claimed, is to have Savannah supply cement to pave all streams of Nairobi in a deal that runs into billions. Most of the affected in Makina are Nubians who have now asked Uhuru Kenyatta to come to their rescue and stop the project until they are given alternative place. In the hurry to implement the half-cooked project, locals say, they were not consulted to give views on how it can be made successful.