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Let's not play politics with people's lives

30 October 2012, 17:05 Willy Mulobi

Tragedies and disasters such as fire outbreaks, road carnage and illicit brews are claiming the lives of many Kenyans especially in slum areas.

Many of our politicians visit the slums during campaign season and using the slum dwellers as voting machines by making false promises as incentives.

When we visited Mukuru Kwa Njenga, we talked to the residents and got firsthand information concerning their plight. The people are so warm and kind. Even with meager possessions, they have lots of love for each other and they welcomed us warmly. While there is one public secondary girl’s school, which caters for 5 wards, there is no boys’ school. What happens to the boys? Don’t they have a right to public education?

It is the pretense of the highest order when we see politicians or top government officials appearing in slums with the media simply for window dressing purposes. We must demand for pragmatic, accountable and scalable change.

For starters, we must order a massive cleaning of Mukuru Kwa Njenga and all waterways to reduce the residents’ vulnerability to infection. The public must be educated on simple, doable actions such as proper waste disposal and waste segregation. Spending on drainage should not be considered a cost, but as an investment for safer and more secure cities.

Infrastructure is a key element in poverty alleviation. It often acts as a catalyst to development and enhances the impact of intervention to improve the poor’s access to other assets. Housing is a key issue and the dilapidation of housing at Mukuru is appalling. What is the government doing about it? Given the government’s apathy to the situation, you would think slum tourism is a macro policy to increase government’s revenue. 

We must commit ourselves to the development of efficient, sophisticated, realistic infrastructure policies.

2.6 billion people in the world today are without adequate sanitation. Some of the worst affected populations are the slum dwellers of Kenya and we must voice out our advocacy if we really want to change this.

Toilets must not be a luxury for the rich or middle class but a basic need for all human beings. To put it in perspective, a single gram of faeces can contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1000 parasite cysts and 100 worm eggs. Faeces that are not properly disposed can be carried on people’s shoes, hands and clothes therefore contaminating food, water and cutlery. These facts are as gross as the content and there’s a dire need to address the issues.

Diarrhea is the result of faecal contaminated water or food and it kills a child every 15 seconds. According to the UN children’s agency, UNICEF. Diarrhea is a bigger threat to children than AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria.

Do we really care about this country? Are we tired of politicians taking us for a ride? Are we tired of seeing our children in the slums buying water, paying to use toilets and struggling to eat? Then let’s do something about it! Let’s do something about it. Not in 2017 but in March 2013.

The unemployment rate in Kenya is about 40%. Our country’s volatile inflation rate ends up hurting the poor more than anyone else. The price of bread ranges between ksh 45 and 48,the price of a pint of milk is ksh35…How are the poor unemployed Kenyans afford breakfast let alone lunch??

Where are the safety nets? Who cares if the poor go to bed hungry?

Serious unemployment must be avoided because of its economic and social consequences. This is due to the hardship it brings to fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.

Inflation and unemployment are normally referred to as twin evils and they have detrimental effects on the economy. Unemployment is chronic and intractable in nearly every developing country.

The poor or lack of drainage systems at Mukuru Kwa Njenga, the high unemployment rate, the poor infrastructure and the hopelessness in the residents’ eyes fills me with anger.

I am angry because I have the power to change my country. You too, have the power to bring change. Let us channel our anger into something constructive and we will pull together to end the suffering of our people.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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