Bryan's View: Politics over development

Kibera for many years has been known to be an opposition’s stronghold after having been ruled by the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga for over 20 years. Raila Odinga was the former prime minister of Kenya who exited his leadership as the Member of Parliament for Kibera in 2007 after a much contested general elections that spewed extreme violence in Kibera and all over the country; with areas where the opposition had many supporters being the worst hit in the violence. The violence left many people dead and millions of properties set ablaze especially in Kibera, Eldoret, Naivaisha and Kisumu where police were using extreme approaches to curb citizens with running battles. The ferocity was later dubbed ‘post-election violence’ forcing arbitrations to take over from international mediators such as Koffi Annan to frequents places which were much hit, and Kibera was the epicenter of all these.

7 years down the line, history is almost repeating itself to the very root where violence was spewed - Kibera’s socio-economic capital of Gatwekera. On 22nd June, the National Youths Service cohorts working in Kibera took to the streets of Nairobi on what was christened as peaceful demonstrations in support of Cabinet Secretary for Devolutions, Ann Waiguru to extend their work contract which is set to expire this month. At the time of the protest the CS was also facing a major corruption scandal that was reported in her ministry and this prompted the former Prime Minister to comment on issues of the alleged corruption scandal. However the sentiments of the former premier toward Ann Waiguru angered the NYS cohorts in Kibera prompting some of them to tarnish the name of Raila whom Kibera residents call Baba. “we don’t want Raila to interfere with Waiguru’s developmental work in Kibera” a group of the youths chanted as they walked along the streets of Nairobi singing in solidarity and carrying placards with clear messages that Raila should simply leave Waiguru alone.

These demonstrations would however anger some residents in Kibera, mostly in Gatwekera village where Raila has a massive following and support. The youths who took part in the demonstration were later not welcomed back home and this sparked violence between the pro-Raila youths and the Waiguru supporters. A violence that erupted at around 7 pm on 22nd June with pro-Raila youths blocking and burning tires on major road leading to Kibera, throwing stones, and engaging in running battles with the administration police in Olympic estate. Many people would later be caught unawares in the violence as some people were coming from work and the police throwing teargas to disperse the rowdy pro-Raila youths. The violence came to a climax in Kibera’s, Kamukunji grounds where the anti Waiguru youths burnt down a community toilet built by the national youths service and also looted a community clinic built to benefit them.

These actions angered the nation as a wholes and some citizens would air their disappointments for the people of Kibera especially from Gatwekera village on social media networks such as twitter with some saying why would people even burn a toilet that was built for them when Kibera is infamous for flying toilets. More tweets would follow: Now that Kibera people have burnt down a toilet that Waiguru uses and also looted a clinic that Waiguru uses, it is Waiguru who will suffer. The sarcasm continued. On the following day the daughter to the former prime minister came to Kibera to urge people to apply for identity cards. That time tension was still high but the presence of Rosemary Odinga reversed the situation and Kibera was calm again after the rally held on 23rd June.

Bryan Jaybee was born and raised in Kibera slums where he still resides. He is 22 years old and a journalism student at Multimedia University of Kenya, currently in his final year. Bryan will be sharing an insider’s view on life in Kibera every Tuesday on our blog with his photos and words. You can follow Bryan on instagram at @kiberastories for daily posts on life in Kibera. 

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