How Rumours Lead to Violence in Kibera Politics

by: February 8th, 2013 comments: 1

This post by our member Steve Banner, of Kibera News Network (originally posted on the Voice of Kibera) explains how rumours resulted in violence during the recent party candidate nominations in January. A distinct mistrust of official channels of information is evident: if no one knows what to believe, suspicion and anger are quick to arise. This is one reason that Map Kibera is working to build accurate and trusted local networks of information in Nairobi slums during the upcoming elections.

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Destruction of Red Rose School, Kibera. Photo by Lee Ibrahim.

Kibera street political analysts, as I may call them, and rumour mongers, have a very thin line separating them if the happenings of the past few days is anything to go by.

After fierce campaigns on 6th and 7th January, the ODM nominations were to take place on 18th. The 18th came and people went to vote in one peace each confident that his or her candidate will clinch the party ticket.

After a full day of voting, rumours took over and went round on Friday 19th that the ODM Sarangombe county representative ticket had gone to Mr. Owino Ko’tieno, this was later to be confirmed by the returning officer at olympic primary school polling station.

The same rumours claimed that Mr. Amayo, a Kibra MP contestant had clinched the ODM ticket, hours later the same rumours reversed their claim that the confirmed winner was Mr. Ken Okoth. I never got to know how the confirmation came about and never bothered to ask since one didn’t actually need to ask, they would tell it to you anyway.

So I came to believe it when a friend told me that Mr. Ken Okoth had actually updated on social media that he had clinched the ODM ticket to run for Kibra MP.

It was at this point that the street political analysts of Kibera picked the story, and by saying street political analysts, I mean those individuals who stand by the roadside especially at newspapers vending points with a handful crowd around them, as they analyze the political situation of the moment. Try walking at olympic or kamkunji grounds, Kibera on a Sunday and you can’t miss them.

On this day, they took to analyze the possibility of Mr. Ken Okoth winning and how he had done it. According to one such analyst, Mr. Ken Okoth had only won in 2 polling stations and therefore could not be declared the winner. He argued that laini saba area residents had not been allowed to vote, and the area, according to him, was an Amayo stronghold.

As the rumour picked the story and went round with it, breaking it down in different versions, it seemed a group of youths decided to react to the rumour and marched to orange house in kilimani area, which houses ODM headquaters, to allegedly protest over why laini saba residents were denied a chance to participate in the nominations, where they were reported to have engaged in property destruction.

And despite the ODM electoral board announcing on a press conference that no certificate had been issued to any candidate yet, a rumour still went round that Mr. Owino Ko’tieno, who had been announced the winner of county rep. ODM ticket, had been denied the certificate, and, according to the rumour, given to Mr. Kajwang, who was also contesting for county representative ODM ticket in sarangombe. It’s believed that this could have been the reason for the rowdiness that followed thereafter that led to youths engaging in property destruction at Redrose school in olympic, a school that is believed to be owned by Mr. Ken Okoth, who, according to random sources in Kibera, was being accused of working to make sure Mr. Owino Kotieno did not have the certificate. There were several versions of this story depending on who you ask, and which side he/she supported and the mood on the ground. In one particular version, Mr. Ken Okoth is alleged to have been asked who he wanted to work with and mentioned Kajwang instead of Kotieno, but I could never tell who to believe among the several story tellers I listened to.

And even after ODM board made it clear that no certificate had been issued, the youths went ahead to lay barricades along Kibera drive near olympic stage.

Moments later, police from the general service unit were deployed to quell the lawlessness and violence. Running battles ensued, leaving scores of people injured among them 2 journalists from the mainstream media.

Voice of Kibera takes awareness of its platform to Mashinani “Grassroots”

by: December 3rd, 2012 Comments Off on Voice of Kibera takes awareness of its platform to Mashinani “Grassroots”

An Attentive Audience at the Meet-up

Introduction:

“I want to play a pivotal role in updating and sharing community generated information with the community and the world at large through citizen journalism. I say so because I witnessed an incident a few months ago during the oil shortage problem, where a CNN journalist came to Kibera slums and paid a woman stage manage some kind or a demonstration saying the price of Paraffin had gone up as he recorded her. I would like to know more about www.voiceofkibera.org so that I can challenge the perceptions and misrepresentations that Kibera goes through.” This was what Ann one of the participants had to say during the introductions session at the meet-up.

Before then, Map Kibera Trusts’ Voice of Kibera had organized a presentation in Soweto East village to engage the youth group leaders more on how they can get engaged with the platform. Having invited 30 representatives, 22 were able to turn up for the event that started at about 2:15pm on Saturday the 1st of December. 

Preparations for the day:

Adequate arrangements by the V.O.K team were made to ensure that the days program would run smoothly hence achieving its purpose. Below was the program flow.

  • Introduction of the entire Map Kibera Trust and Voice of Kibera.
  • The relationship between Map Kibera Trust programs.
  • The Voice of Kibera platform and how it works, what the participants think can be improved.
  • Question and Answer time to enable a brain storming session for better understanding.
  • Distribution of Maps on 3 themes; Education, Health and security to the line organizations that attended.
  • Refreshment and Networking
  • Conclusion

The voice of Kibera Presentation:

This was a step by step presentation done with Fredrick, one of the Map Kibera trust members. I could feel the mood in the hall, one with silence meaning the participants were keenly taking in what was being said. Some of the details that were shared are; How to submit a report, The ways with which you can send the report to the website, the details and importance of categories, editing, proof reading and approving or reports among others.

Fredrick Doing the Presentation in Soweto East

After the session Sande took over to reinforce what had been discussed even as he led the question and answer time.

Some of the questions:

  • How do you ensure authenticity of the reports you collect?
  • Now that we have new boundaries, what is your organization doing to that effect?
  • Do you have anywhere you advertise jobs for the youths in the slums?

 Our Response to the Questions:

That when you have a report and you are not sure about its’ contends, you can get call back the person who send it to get more clarification, if the news has been covered by a 2nd or 3rd parties you can use that as well as using your available networks to get confirmation or more information on the same. Map Kibera is currently remapping the new boundaries by IEBC including information on the location of polling stations so that this information can be available to the locals before the elections in March 2013. We are developing a plartform under the name organizational directory that will see advertisement of opportunities a reality in the sense that those who consume contend do it for free apart from profiling organizations in Kibera on the Platform.

The meet-up that took close to 3 hours came to an end with the p

Map Kibera Trust on a map distribution drive in Kibera Slums

by: December 3rd, 2012 comments: 0

Having been the first organization to put the entire Kibera slums on the world map, Map Kibera Trust; an organization that seeks to be a hub where access to open information contributes to positive community transformation was on the road again to ensure that the maps that were produced reached the community which in-turn would put them to use.

To achieve this, the program coordinators met for the preparation of distributing the maps; there intention of meeting was to bring the attention of the three programs on how they will be working together towards achieving the objective of the exercise and to come up with relevant locations for maps distribution. It was there that they agreed that members from the 3 programs; Mapping, Voice of Kibera and Kibera News Network were to go to the field to distribute the maps which had been developed based on themes. Maps on Education, Security and Health are the themes that were distributed.

 

The aim of the exercise was to give back to the community through the high quality printed maps that contain the informational that came from them during the first phase of the mapping exercise.

Villages covered.

For the 2 days that we were in the field, we were able to cover all the 13 villages; Gatwikera, Raila, Olympic, Soweto west&east, Kianda, Kambi muru, Kisumu ndogo, Lindi, Mashimoni, Makina, Silanga, and Laini Saba.   

Positive Feedback From the Field.

As we visited different places, we collected feedback from the people we found so that we could ascertain how the maps will be put to good used.

  1. The local administration appreciated our work and accepted to be interviewed i.e. Sarang’ombe and Laina Saba ward chiefs.
  2. Most of the institutions accepted to use the map for positive transfiguration most of the institution wanted more than one map so they can use it for informational purposes as well as Education especially the Schools we visited.
  3. We even had a chance to meet with D.O 1 (District Commissioner) who had a compliment for us saying that our map was outstanding compared to the one they had before.
  4. For those who were not able to access our maps online were able to access them on hard-copy something that was important for us since it was now realized.
  5. We ensured equal distribution of maps in at least all villages in Kibera.

Some of the Challenges.

Though most of the places we went to were very receptive, we experienced some hostility in a few areas where we were thought to be a different group out to just take advantage of the situations in Kibera by walking around to talk to people as we take photos to go and sell. After a few minutes of sharing our intentions with them, they understood us and we gave out the maps, something they congratulated us for showing a good example to organizations by sharing the findings of the work done with the community. We also found some schools that were to get maps already closed for holiday which means we will have to give them the maps when they resume school.

Conclusion.

In general, the exercise was a success only for the schools that had already closed. Going forward, we need to print big and more visible maps a suggestion that came from one of the places we visited.

We hope that the maps distributed will not only be put to good use but also help Map Kibera Trust bond more with the community so that even as we get ready to cover the vents before, during and after the elections, we can work together to achieve optimum results and that Kibera and the other slums we are currently working with (Mathare and Mukuru) will never be the same again.

and if you’re curious, a little more detailed Report

and a video documentary by KNN

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