Road Cuts Kibera in Two, Displacing Residents, Schools

by: July 28th, 2018 comments: 0

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The morning of Monday July 23, residents woke up to a shock of heavy police presence and bulldozer ready to bring down their homes. The demolition started by 7am as the residents watch in disbelief. It was at the same time a race against time to be able to rescue whatever property they could from their houses. Children ran around helter skelter, women cried helplessly and everyone carried away whatever they considered important to them.

The road will go from Yaya Center to join Langata road, through Lindi into Kibera South Health Center from DC’s area. Around 30,000 families have been affected by the demolition. The road was identified in 2014 and is meant to ease traffic within Nairobi city.

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Kibera residents have been living with a lot of uncertainty in the recent past. Not so long ago we witnessed the Kenya Railway decanting sites being demolished, leaving around 1000 residents homeless, some of whom even had housing allocation numbers and the key without a house. Just before that there was a major demolition all round Moi girls where a form two student girl was reported to have been raped by unknown person. Now, a huge road is cutting Kibera slum into two.

The residents had been given a notice to vacate the area, however, at the time of the demolition there was already a postponement order. There had been three different maps showing different routes that the road would pass. How were the residents supposed to know which road map would eventually be used? This led to a lot of push and pull between Kibera activists, civil societies and the government. Questioning who diverted the road three times and why was not futile. Several meetings were held between the affected persons, Kenya Urban Roads Authority, Kenya National Human Rights Commission, and the National Lands Commission trying to find an amicable solution to the issue and the best way the demolition would be carried out humanly. The two weeks’ notice was then extended indefinitely awaiting an enumeration and the development of a Relocation Action Plan, something that might have relieved the affected persons for a while. There was also a case in court awaiting ruling on the same issue. However, all this was disregarded that morning of July 23rd.

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The 10 acres road has also cost the Kibera people more than 10 schools, as well as churches and community based organizations. The schools as mapped by Map Kibera includes Egesa School, Makina Self Help Group, Makina Baptist, PEFA, Good News, New Horizon, Love Africa, Mashimoni Primary, Mashimoni Secondary, Mashimoni Squaters, Saviour Kings

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It’s at such times that many residents wondered whether they really belong to the country Kenya.

“We are not against the road passing, but can’t it be done with some dignity?” says the Founder of Egesa school. The schools only had one week to take their end term exams. The students will therefore not sit the exam. “It’s very unfortunate for the children who will miss their end term exam simply because of some greed, selfish and in human act.”

Don’t forget that the road has also robbed off Kibera their only social playground near DC’s area. How does it feel when a road has robbed you off your home, your livelihood, your church, your children’s school, your only social playground? People have also lost jobs. Only a few people would be in a position to find themselves a new place or even afford to travel back to their upcountry homes.

“This is the greatest betrayal I have ever seen from the government, see how people are calm no one is even reacting or protesting because they made us to calm the people down, promising to tackle the issue smoothly,” lamented Ben Ooko, the founder for Amani Kibera, a Community Resource Center that also suffered demolition. “I got a call very early in the morning that the police were heading here with a bulldozer, and I just rushed here to see. We really didn’t expect this because we had kind of reached an agreement with KURA in the presence of KNHRC, and so we were waiting for their guidance.” That morning Ben had posted on his Facebook, “Today is my birthday, and I get a gift of demolition.”

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Some people believed that this is a scheme by the government to try and finish Kibera in a bid to weaken the opposition, but where is Raila the former Prime Minister? Why is he so quiet on this? Kibra MP Hon Ken Okoth, who is currently out of the country, has in the recent past made a lot of noise on social media to have his people handled with some dignity even as they move from road reserve. But neither him nor Makina MCA Hon. Magembe could lobby to stop the demolition. Amnesty International accused the government for not following the agreement to relocate the persons affected, terming it a violation of Human Rights according to the International Human rights obligation. Is there such a thing as Human Rights and Constitutions to the people of Kibera? Article 40 of the Kenyan Constitution provides that those who occupy land without title deeds may be compensated in a good faith. What next? Who next? Where else? When next? How else? These are some of the questions lingering in the heads of Kibera residents.
Till when will Kibera people live with all these fears?

By Joshua Ogure

My experience at the first State of the Map Africa

by: July 21st, 2017 comments: 0

A 38Km road from Entebbe International Airport to Kampala was not an easy ride. I never thought there could be such bad traffic in Kampala like Nairobi. I have always known Nairobi to be a crazy city but Kampala was equally CRAZY…

I have been sponsored by Mapbox to attend and represent Map Kibera at the very first State of the Map Africa conference, held at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. The event was organized by OpenStreetMap Africa community, most of whom I have only been able to meet online. This was a great opportunity to now meet them in person.

I arrived at Bativa Hotel at around 1930 hrs and I can’t pay for my cab ride of UGS 90000 and my Hotel accommodation — because I forgot to change my money at the airport. By boda (motor bike) the security guard at the hotel offers to escort me back to Kampala town where I would be able to change my Kenya Shillings into Ugandan money. It was nice to see how Kenyan money had more value over Ugandan money.

Back to the hotel I got my room and grabbed some dinner before to sleep. My presentation was at 13:30, day 1 soon after lunch, a generally bad time for the obvious reason, but it was ok!

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When I took the stage to present Map Kibera, I knew in the back of my mind that most of the folks in the room already knew about Map Kibera and so I needed to tell them something new, something unique. Around 150 persons representing 21 countries across Africa eagerly listened to my session. It always amazes me when talking to people who know or perhaps have a rough idea about my community Kibera. Most of the guys did know. I talked about how Map Kibera couples its mapping with citizen journalism giving people a platform to speak about some of the issues highlighted by the map. I also shared how we train and empower other communities to map their own communities locally and tell their own stories in their own perspective.

This is one of those events that you meet some of the most amazing people in the world and get to learn how the world has become a global village. A lot of mutual friends and people who know people who know people that you know. A nice feeling indeed! This is the time you also meet people who are working round the clock to make Africa and the world a better place. I was particularly impressed by the team from Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania. Good job out there! Am always tempted to mention Geoffrey of Uganda, his dedication to this course was outstanding, for real, along with the other organizing committee members.

We had both French and English speaking countries represented, and so translation was necessary back and forth. It kind of slowed down the process but we are a community who tries to be all inclusive and walk together. I loved the sense of togetherness and oneness amongst the OpenStreetMap Community. Mapathon day 1, cocktail day 2 and football at the end were some of the most bonding moments for all of us.

I can also not forget the amazing presentation by Ramani Huria. I saw a lot of similarities with Map Kibera — naturally there is a long history here between the two communities. I first met them in Nairobi 2016, during the Open Data Fest conference, but their presentation in Kampala was one of a kind.

And finally, I can never forget the ambush by one of the organizers Clare, telling me to give a final remark and share experience at a panel on how to strengthen and foster the emerging OpenStreetMap Communities in Africa. Yes I said, so long as I know what we do and what Map Kibera stands for, it should be fine.

What a great time in Kampala! Big thanks to Mapbox and all the sponsors that helped bring us together.

LINDI FIRE THAT LEFT AROUND 3O FAMILIES HOMELESS

by: March 27th, 2017 comments: 0

On 17th March fire has erupted, destroying properties in Lindi near Mashimoni Squaters School. Around thirty families were left homeless.

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Some victims viewing at their burnt houses

Recently other two fire incidents were reported in Gatwekera and Laini Saba respectively. Fire incidents are usually reported about three per month in Kibera. The main causes of fire range from electricity faults to gas explosions, to domestic incidents or in some cases has been alleged they could be caused deliberately by people with hidden motives. In this particular Lindi case, the fire is said to have been caused by an electricity fault.

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The electricity pole in the middle of the burnt houses

After the resonance of the KNN photos on Social Media, the office of Kibra MP Ken Okoth contacted KNN and promised some assistance to the affected families:

Tomorrow 18th March 2017, the office of Kibra Member of Parliament Hon. Kenneth Okoth will donate Blankets and Mattresses to victims of Lindi Ward. The office also asked Mashimoni Squarters Primary to accommodate the affected families tonight, and till the day affected families will structure their homes.

The day after, the KNN team went back to witness the aftermath of the fire and talked with some of the victims. “The fire started when I was outside and since I have a broken leg, I couldn’t run in and save anything. I really appreciate that the MP office have brought us some blankets and mattresses, but only if they could help us rebuild out houses, that would be great, because now finding a house in Kibera is very difficult. In my condition I can’t walk to search for a new house and I have two children”, said Marion Ashioya.

During the distribution of the mattresses and the blankets, George Otieno, representative of the Constituency Emergency and Response Affairs, stated:  “We have helped over thirty people, we brought them some blankets and mattresses so they can find something to start with. I would like to ask the County Government to ensure that each Sub-county has its own fire engine that can help in such cases. However, the landlords buildings here must also leave enough space that can enable fire engine to penetrate, save lives and properties.

The Mashimoni Squartes Primary has hosted fifteen people since the first night, while the other affected families are hosted by neighbours as they work to rebuild their own houses.

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At the distribution of the blankets and matresses

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George Otieno from the office of MP leads the distribution process