Archive for ‘Security’

October 3, 2014

Service and Youth

Is the National Youth Service (NYS) the way to go in bringing up a citizen who is service oriented to his country? The NYS act of 1964, envisaged Kenya creating a platform of reintegrating militant youths then to reorient, assimilate and create a pool of employable disciplined youths who can support the army or police force while pursuing national cohesion agenda. Forty nine years later, Kenya is at cross roads seeking betters ways of involving and motivating over 60% of its populations in nation building through the NYS.

Over the years, Kenya government and private sector have made huge investments in education which has seen high enrolment from Early Childhood Education to University level. On the other hand we have yearly police and armed forces recruitment drives absorbing many young people. However the rate of unemployment, deterioration of public service is quite evident in urban centers where provision of basic services such as garbage collection and poor roads and housing is in dire need. Above all these, Kenya is still a fragile state as witnessed in 2008 post election violence.

How then can the youth be involved in a constructive way without exploitation? Participation in nation building should be an obligation which a good citizen must carry out with pride. People have rights and the state has responsibility to do whatever is necessary to fulfill these rights. One such right is to ensure that we all live in safe and clean environment. Institutions such as education, military, police and work place should assist in fostering a sense of cohesion among the citizens.

The Ministry of Devolution recently launched a programme of recruiting young people through NYS and youth are equipped with skills to offer various services to the vulnerable communities. In Nairobi, the entry point has been participating in garbage collection in the informal settlements starting with Kibera. All over the world, governments have always strived either to control or involve youth in development. It is easy to control people who have passed through forces training since there is respect attached to chain of command. However the danger lies when it comes to demilitarizing the youths and reintegrating them back into civilian life. Conflicts in the region and ‘cheap’ labour might make Kenya a fertile ground for recruitment. The rate of unemployment is quite high all over Kenya which sometimes back, the World Bank had warned us that this is bomb’ waiting to explode.

In general, youth are very innovative and creative and Kenya government should think beyond controlling and militarizing the youth. Uwezo Fund must be ready to accommodate fresh ideas in this modern time. At the local level the youth should also take part in the real management of political parties, government to establish real funds for entrepreneurship ventures like implementing some of the ideas generated by students at the annual science congress while making access to information technology platform a priority especially in the informal settlements to bridge the disparity when it comes to access to information.

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August 17, 2014

Why Mathare By-Election was Peaceful

ODM Mobilizing Voters

ODM Mobilizing Voters


The recent Mathare by-election campaigns were held in peaceful atmosphere despite open and rampant voter bribery across board. The By-Election was occasioned by successful petition by Stephen Kariuki of ODM against George Wanjohi of TNA. The by-election attracted a total of nine candidates all targeting more than 80,000 registered voters from different ethnic background.
The leading political alliances Jubilee and CORD managed to invest a lot of resources in ensuring that their candidates captured the vacant seat. There are four reasons why the by-election was peaceful.
First during the previous elections in Mathare, there was always presence of gangs such as Mugiki, Taliban or violent youths ready to be hired by politicians. This time round, none existed to be hired by politicians.
Secondly, the heat generated before the Saba Saba rally which ended peacefully also encouraged the local residents to maintain peace. When the TNA candidate opted to woo only Kikuyu voters this became counterproductive even amongst his supporters. This resulted even in many young Kikuyu voters shunning Wanjohi of TNA for Stephen Kariuki of ODM who is a Kikuyu too.
Thirdly, of late there have been many forums organized by various organizations such Sisi ni Amani Kenya, Inuka, Sauti Yetu Debates and other government led initiatives which all played an important role in integrating people from different ethnic background to meet regularly
Fourthly, when President Uhuru visited Mathare for a church service cum campaign trip for TNA candidate at Redeemed Gospel Church he never openly told the residents to vote Wanjohi rather he talked more about referendum politics and which Raila did later. The President body language betrayed his mission in Mathare thus helping cool the temperature down.
The heavy presence of police cannot be attributed to the peaceful election but can be praised for ensuring law and order was maintain during elections. However it was disappointing to note that most political party agents did not know how a BVR Kits operate. At the end of it all, Mathare has a new MP…Hon. Stephen Kariuki.

August 13, 2014

Devolving Accountability Discussion: Sauti Yetu Debates

Sauti Yetu Debate forum at Kiamaiko

Sauti Yetu Debate forum at Kiamaiko

Mathare Constituency is home to one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Nairobi and also in Kenya. When the Constituency Development Fund was making allocations for 2013/2014, it was announced that the constituency is host to more than 70,000 people who live below poverty.
Since 2013, there has been a lot of movement surrounding Women Fund, Youth Fund and Uwezo Funs plus 30% of government tender set aside to for youth and women. To access these funds, communities need to be engaged and involved. Participation by community members depends on how well informed is community will be.
For the last three years, Inunka Kenya under the banner of Sauti Debates have been organizing Community Forums in Mlango Kubwa, Hospital, Mabatini,Ngei, Huruma and Kiamaiko wards in Mathare Constituency to create awareness amongst community members and engage elected leaders in discussing priority areas. Experience from these debates has shown that five mains issues that have kept on emerging are security, education, health, environment and poor governance.

Facilitator, Tony in action at Kiamaiko Sauti Yetu Debate

Facilitator, Tony in action at Kiamaiko Sauti Yetu Debate

Observing these debates in session one will appreciate the willingness by community members to participate in these sessions. Regular leaders who have co-operated to participate in these forums are Hon. Andrew Macharia of Mlango Kubwa, Hon. Dan Mutiso Ngei, Hon. Jimmy Kinuthia while Mabatini Ward County Rep. Hon Odalo (Rafuok) has not been having an easy time with high expectations from community which sometimes has even resulted into almost physical confrontation.
It is clear from Sauti Yetu Debates that community members knows what the problem is, while leaders hide behind the policy guidelines governing management of the funds. On the other hand, it is Hon. Andrew Macharia from Mlango Kubwa has hinted in traducing bills at the Nairobi County Assembly parliament that the community would benefit from. Community members have had difficult time understanding the role of elected leaders hence leading to high expectation beyond their mandate. Sauti Yetu Debates have been able to fill in the information gap that is experienced during debate. Currently Sauti Yetu Debates is being handover to experience community based organization to continue organizing such forums in future.

November 30, 2012

Mathare Constituency Map

Mathare Constituency has been created out of Starehe. Below are the six wards.

map

Mathare Ward Population IEBC Target
Hospital 20,463 10,000
Mabatini 28,260 14,000
Huruma 36,247 17,000
Ngei 36,248 15,000
Mlango Kubwa 38,374 18,000
Kiamaiko 33,824 16,000
Total 193,416 90,000
November 30, 2012

Mathare for Credible 2013 Elections

On 29th November 2012 political representatives and aspirants for the constituency and ward, NGOs / CBOs representatives, religious leaders, elders, youths, people with disability women representatives and provincial administration gathered at Mathare Valley Polytechnic to be addressed by the local IEBC representatives.

IEBC had their agenda while most people had questions, which they wanted addressed. IEBC wanted to sensitize public about voter registration in Mathare constituency, perception on the public on BVR kit, public, violence, role model and morality. When it came to questions, public were more concerned about accessing identity cards, extension of voter registration, transportation of voters into Mathare, voter education and the process which was used to recruit educators, what are the current numbers of registered voters and target for each ward? From the meeting it was clear that the public agenda and that of IEBC was different.

The IEBC official(s) present informed the public on the progress as from 19/11/2012 a follows but these figures were given as estimates (only for the 1st week of registration)

Ward Target Expected 1st wk registered voters
Kiamaiko 16,000 4,481
Huruma 17,000 4,846
Mabatini 14,000 3,670
Hospital 10,000 2,423
Ngei ???? ????
Mlango Kubwa 18,000 4,617
Total (Estimates) 90,000 30,000

During the meeting, an aspirant brought a public address system to the meeting, which the public rejected. The IEBC officials should have rejected this move. By accepting ‘resources’ to facilitate an IEBC meeting from an aspirant amounts to being compromised.

The meeting was on a short notice. It was clear that supporters of certain politicians were more than others. IEBC needs to ensure that all aspirants are invited on time and their apologies acknowledged otherwise the public will view IEBC as collaborating with certain sections of the community. The public seems to be unclear on the new boundaries since it causing confusion among the potential voters. In Hospital ward for example, the Kenya Gazette had indicated that Gitathuru and Mathare 4B are still in Mabatini Ward. IEBC ward educators are expected to sensitize the public on the boundaries and other voter’s related issues. The Mathare area District Officer was very categorical that all residents have a duty to ensure that the elections are peaceful both at the party nomination and national elections. Public expect a credible election and IEBC officials should act in ways that will boost public confidence in the process.- Simon

November 28, 2012

Discrimination in Mosques

Mosque

Why do people go to worship places and does God discriminate against any human being based on colour, hair, complexion, height, weight, socio-economic status? Two friends have been subjected to discrimination inside a Mosque and by fellow Muslim brothers. Why?

The first incidence happened during the Friday prayers. He was behind three Muslim brothers and when my friend bends to remove his sandals, the fellow worshipers before him looked at him suspiciously. Reason? he does look like a person of Borana, Burji or Somali origin. Then all of a sudden they say he is a thief who has been stealing sandals at the Mosque. He is tied under a tree at Huruma Mosque along Outering Road until prayers are over. Later he is beaten and released but with injuries.

On the second incidence, a friend goes to Eastleigh and buys expensive sandals; Ksh. 2000/-. While walking in the neighbourhood of Kiamaiko he is confronted by fellow Muslim brothers that the sandals he is putting on were stolen a short while ago at one of the Mosque. Reason again? He does not belong to the ethnic group that is widely associated with Islam in the area but is a frequent visitor to one of the Mosque. He is also dragged and called unprintable names.  An argument ensues and the person claiming the sandals are his is asked by another Muslim brother ‘what was the size of your stolen sandals?’ The claimant says his sandals are no. 43. The sandals are checked and it turns out that the claimant is wrong. He apologises but the damage is already done.

Stealing of shoes and sandals at the Mosques is a common and has been used by some rogue unfaithful to discriminate based on ethnicity who is responsible for the vice at the mosque.

A new Mosque which has been constructed in the neighborhood of Kiamaiko along Valley Bridge is becoming difficult for people of other ethnic community to enter for prayers.

Currently it is common to find worshipper carrying their sandals in black paper bags while praying.

Discrimination in any house of worship based on ethnicity is an act of religious primitivity. Its is only decent human being who believes on promoting spiritual goodness and belief in Supreme Being cannot practice religious discrimination in the current age.- Simon

November 23, 2012

Voter Registration in Mathare

 

Walking around most vote registration centers, one notices low voter turnout. There is urgent need for IEBC  to undertake a vigorous voter registration mobilization campaign otherwise we might not meet the target. In all the six wards, there is very little activity going on compared with the interest generated during acquisition process of BVR kits. One would have expected people flock the centres.

Constituency Ward Population
Mathare Hospital 20,463
Mabatini 28,260
Huruma 36,247
Ngei 36,248
Mlango Kubwa 38,374
Kiamaiko 33,824
Total 193,416

In the community people are going around doing their own business and hoping that as usual the deadline will be extended to accommodate their time schedule. The aspirants are busy marketing themselves.- Simon

 

November 20, 2012

Who is a terrorist, Eastleigh Blast?

On 18th November 2012 there was a blast in Eastleigh near Juja road area bordering Mathare which has been attributed to terror action. Several people died but the aftermath of the incident later turned into urgly scenes where people of Somali origin were targeted by criminals.  People were beaten, robbed and it is said that women were raped too. It is unbelieveable to that we are witnessing these kind of scenes as we register and approach elections.

Attacking people based on their religious or ethnic affliation is totally unacceptable. The Universal Declaration on Human Right is very clear on how human beings should treat each other especially the following two articles

Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to protection of the law against such intereference or  attacks.

Article 13
1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state

2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Actions of a few bad elements within us should not be blamed on the entire community. The question then is, who is a terrorist? Any people who organized or cordinated the blast together with those criminals who retaliated by stealing, injuring and raping women are all one and the same as TERRORIST. In the bible John 10:10 “….the thief come to steal, kill and destroy…”. Any act of terrorism is meant to destroy and kill people. The government should use its might and intelligence in crushing the few bad elements in our midist. If Kenyans are to enjoy their democratic right then peaceful coexistence is important. – Simon

June 7, 2012

Mobile Phones and Development

Walking around the community (Mathare) one will notice the high numbers of young with mobile phones. The most preferred handset among the youth are those with access to internet while old people want handset through which they can access Mpesa. People do not care much whether it is a Chinese or European make.

The days of using mobile phones for calling and talking purposes are long gone. This is just like when people used to work with computers for typing alone. When have reached a stage that access to mobile phone is slowly becoming ‘right’ for all.

The use of computers is quite rampant but not as high as use of mobile phones. There is need to investigate how use of mobile phones can be used to enhance service delivery to the people in informal settlement. The identification of services and needs will help software developers to come up with mobile phone applications to enhance efficiency in service delivery.

Having programmes to facilitate access to cheap phones and computers in the informal settlement can help stimulate meaningful dialogue for development. – Simon

June 6, 2012

Elections and Unresolved IDPs Issue in Mathare

As in other places in Kenya, Mathare residents are eagerly awaiting the date for the next elections with alot of anxiety. This is because Mathare constituency has been created and it has six wards. People will be expected to elect an MP and also six county assembly representatives. Possible aspirants have started emerging with promises. One notable thing about aspirants is very few women have emerged to contest in Mathare as a whole. The current atmosphere does not favour women. There is need to support and encourage possible women aspirants.

My worry is that issues related to internally displaced persons (IDPs) has not been fully resolved. Urban IDPs from Mathare area feels that they have been a forgotten lot. Families that were displaced from Kijiji cha Chewa during the height of post election violence feel neglected by the administration. Frequent transfer of chiefs and their assistants has hampered efforts to resolve their issues.

As we approach elections, these families will elect new leadership which might not be sensitive to their needs. There is need to assist these families as new challenges might emerge in coming elections and these might be a forgotten lot. But what will be the result? During the 1992 land clashes in the Rift Valley and forceful evictions of families at Muoroto in Nairobi the end result was increase in the number of street children and beggars in major urban centres. This is a situation that noboday would want to see again. – Simon

 

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