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'Kenya is for the rich. We poor people are not Kenyans'

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 21 Feb 2013 10:00 GMT
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By Katy Migiro, AlertNet correspondent in Nairobi

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013

Another day, another Nairobi slum.

This time it’s Mathare, with its sea of corrugated iron roofs and the usual stinking open sewers. A welder works with his blow torch in the middle of the dirt path as children in their school uniforms pass by, greeting the “mzungu” (foreigner).

A mother of three-year-old twins, Mary, tells me: “Kenya is for the rich. We poor people are not Kenyans. The rich do all the political campaigning. We are the ones who get hurt.”

She’s scared the elections will bring yet more violence. There was fighting in Mathare in December between Luo and Kikuyu-dominated neighbourhoods. People were killed and houses torched. Mary says there is nothing she can do but pray for peace.

A man with one arm missing – chopped off during the 2008 post-election violence – comes to talk to us. When I tell him I only want to hear his story, I don’t have any money to give him, he walks out in disgust. “No one has helped me in the last five years,” he says bitterly.

On to Kibera slum, where I meet Berry, a young film maker with the Hot Sun Foundation, who promises to show me around his neighbourhood. We’ll meet again tomorrow.


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