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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 26 October 2014


Scores of elderly Nubian landlords and ladies in Kibera slum are admitted at St Mary’s Hospital in Lang’ata following demolition of their houses in the ongoing National Youth Service projects in the area.
 According to relatives, the landlords most of them who are in their 70s and over have been diagnosed with high blood pressure following the shock of being rendered homeless in their twilight years. Others fainted only to wake up in hospital after seeing the structures that are their only means of livelihood demolished to make way for the construction of roads where none were surveyed.
The demolitions have seen rents in the slum  shoot up as those who are rendered homeless desperately look for a roof over their heads and squeeze their families into tiny rooms created out of nowhere of what remains of  untouched parts of the houses.
“Mzee Kenyatta never came to Kibera and we lived nicely, Moi never came and we lived nicely, Kibaki never came and we lived nicely. Uhuru comes and even before a month is over, we are dying,” said 78-year-old Dudu Ahmed of Makongeni area who now fears she will start going hungry for the first time in her life.
Also raising queries is the construction of toilets now christened Waiguru toilets because of Devolution minister Anne Waiguru who is in charge of the project. Residents have not welcomed the project with the women afraid that they will fall prey to rapists who will be hanging near the toilets at night. Because of the insecurity in Kibera, plots have their gates closed at 10pm. With reports that the toilets in the plots will be pulled down so that people use Waiguru toilets which are few, far and outside the plots, there is fear of an increase in Aids cases due to rape.
Had the government done its homework well, residents say, it would have opted to improve the existing toilets within the plots in conjunction with landlords. What Waiguru will succeed in, they say, is to bring back flying toilets because people will now be relieving themselves inside their houses in paperbags and then tossing the waste out of the plot to wherever it lands even if on your head.
Others are pointing out that many toilets dotting in Kibera slum built by outsiders like Waiguru with no clue of slum life could hardly be used simply because outsiders who built them did not take time to research and incorporate locals’ views in the projects. Because no one can claim ownership to such toilets, they fall into disrepair and become an eyesore white elephants. But of more concern among the residents is that they will have to pay a fee to answer a call of nature in Waiguru’s toilets.

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