Ethnicity is one of the tribulations still facing the country even as we are set to celebrate 49 years of self governance.

During the ongoing Trainers of Trainers (TOT’s) programme by OAIC’S Just Communities, the enablers as the TOT’s are often referred to, were able to mobilise, engage and do a lot of advocacy in their various constituencies with regards to the rights as provided for by the constitution.

Communities were empowered and despite the various challenges, there is a lot to write home about. In Kibera Constituency for instance, the enablers were able to engage the communities of Sarang’ombe, Makina and Laini Saba clusters. Unemployment, ethnicity and other issues were addressed as the enablers sought to empower the various communities through advocacy.

Many people in this constituency do menial jobs to make ends meet. The Kazi Kwa Vijana (KKV) programme which has received criticisms over alleged mismanagement of funds was one area that was tackled by the enablers in this constituency.

“There were a lot of complaints and the residents stated categorically that most if not all the young people who were employed under the Kazi Kwa Vijana programme came from one few communities. This was an issue that we addressed diplomatically. We called the communities from the various parts of the constituency, engaged with them more so on the issue of ethnicity and unfair allocation of opportunities in the KKV programme, this was well met,” reckoned Duke.

“We then decided to be pro-active and wrote down the names of the young people from the area that we felt had for a long time been sidelined. We took the photocopies of their Identification Cards, and presented them to the Chief. As we speak we are glad to note that 10 of the names we presented have been considered for the next phase of the KKV,” he added.

In Kamukunji Constituency, the cluster areas looked into included: Uhuru, Majengo, Shauri Moyo, Pumwani, Gikomba, Eastleigh and Kiambiu. The enablers were proud to note that their Member of Parliament is easily accessible and that plans were underway to present to him a petition with regards to some of the issues afflicting their constituency.

The fact that there are just many dispensaries in the area and lack of a Public Health centre is an issue that they intend to address. “We are writing a letter to the Ministry of Health and we also intend to go and see the Minister in charge to see how this issue can be addressed,” stated Caleb.

Civic engagement in Dagoretti involved the areas of Gatina, Kawangware, Ngando and Kabiria. In this constituency the issue of water is one big problem that might take a while before it is resolved. The fact that most of the landlords have dug boreholes for their tenants has not changed anything and hasn’t made matters any easier. Landlords and the City Council officials have been blamed for being in cahoots by ensuring that the taps never have water. This is done to ensure that the water vendors make a killing from selling water to the residents who have no alternative source of water.

Fred Kimanya is saddened by the fact that some constituents don’t know who their elected councillors are. They are in the process of choosing representatives from every ward to see the councillors to address the issues they decry of.

Dandora, Kayole, Kariobangi and Baraka in Embakasi were also involved in this process. Here garbage collection is a thorn-in-the-flesh issue. Many times residents will wake up to find garbage dumped in the middle of the road. An eyesore especially when it is dropped on the doorstep of a church.

“We could not take it anymore and we spoke to the Mkokoteni – cart – people to stop dumping the waste on the roads as well as the trucks that are responsible for dumping garbage on the in undesignated areas,” stated Benard Aura.

“We have also started clean- ups every Saturday. We decided amongst ourselves, even as we are waiting for the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and elected officials to act on our complaints, we will start cleaning up our constituency,” added Benard Aura.

In Kasarani constituency, Kariobangi, Kasarani, Korogocho, Mwiki and Roysambu areas were mobilised. The enablers here notes that open sewer lines are a major issue that needs to be addressed. The enablers are planning meet- ups with the City Council of Nairobi to raise these concerns. The health officers in the said areas will also be contacted.

Water, insecurity, poor sanitation all describe the issues afflicting Makadara constituency. The lack of water is a song that residents here sing daily as most if not all the areas complain that water has become a luxury.

Isaiah Luyara, states that talks are already in progress with the Nairobi Water Company and the City Council of Nairobi on the same. They are also planning to approach the area Member of Parliament to present to him a petition to act on the issues causing distress amongst the residents in this constituency. He says that after a month of presenting the petition and no action in forthcoming, they will be forced to take action that may include peaceful demonstrations to ensure their pleas do not fall on deaf ears. Areas that mobilization took place in this constituency include: Buruburu, South B, Makadara, Mbotela, Kwa Reuben, Mbotela and Maringo.

Nancy Mmbone from Starehe Constituency notes that Insecurity tops the list of miseries experienced in areas she visited among other disservices. Huruma ward, Mathare, John Saga – Majengo, Kiamaiko, Mlango Kubwa, Mabatini and Pumwani residents feel that insecurity is a key issue that the government needs to think about seriously.

“I was able to mobilise communities in the mentioned areas and we discussed how we are going to ensure that the insecurity levels decrease tremendously. The fact that many people have lost hope in the government and do not even care to report cases dreading that they may not be taken seriously is a problem. We however, urged people not to keep quiet but rather speak out as they are entitled to security,” stated Nancy.

“We also encouraged community policing and we are hopeful that action will be taken. The residents also stated that they shall be their brother’s keeper for a safer community.

The frightening bit about unemployment among the young people is that they may just decide to join the outlawed militia groups and this is disheartening,” she added.

The same story of insecurity was repeated in Westlands constituency. In Mt. View areas, Kangemi, Lavington and Waruku area where the enablers visited.

Protas Luyayi stated that insecurity in the mentioned areas has for a long time been a dreaded issue. They are glad that during the advocacy they were able to speak to the Chief and the old men in the communities visited – wazee wa vijiji- whom they spoke with at length on how security can be improved in their various areas.

“Before we did any advocacy, there were a lot of murders at the Mau Mau bridge, and Makaburini in Waruku and people would be met by dead bodies as they walked to work. However, since we put our heads together and started to patrol in our various areas, the security situation has improved tremendously and we have not heard cases of murders or burglary,” stated Protus.

Since the TOT’s rolled out in February till the end of April, they have been able to train over 1000 people in their various constituencies.


By: Fiona Imbali, OAIC Communications

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