As Kenyans await for the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary to present his proposed 2019/2020 financial year budget today, Kenyans living in informal settlements slums and mainly within the country’s capital have different views on the same.
Slum dwellers hope for lower cost of living in New financial year
By Francis Kaivilu
We got opinions from different residents and business people within the Mukuru kwa Njenga ,Fuata Nyayo, Mathare and Kibera slums in Nairobi county.
Rose Kwamboka, a hotel owner within Mukuru kwa Njenga slum in Nairobi County says that she expects the budget to have reduced cost of living to the common mwananchi. She says that the government should have basic needs prices cut down by a higher margin.
“I am expecting the budget to have the cost of maize and wheat flour reduced. For the last two months I have passed through very hard times trying to balance some sums in my small hotel business here in the slum.” Kwamboka told Sharptip News.
She told us that her customers have been complaining of wheat products in her hotel being very expensive for them hence quitting her services thus encountering quite a big loss.
She says that this has affected her daily earnings hence affecting her living standards.
The middle aged energetic business lady informed us that she has been forced by financial circumstances to borrow money for her children’s fees due to the current low flow of customers in her only business.
During an exclusive interview with Sharptip News, Kwamboka said that having the maize and wheat flour prices reduced would generally reduce the cost of living for both the business people and their customers in the slums.
Teddy Kulumba, a shopkeeper in the South B’s Fuata Nyayo slum told us that due to the current high living standards in the country and joblessness within the youths, vices have increased within the slums. He narrated to us how his shop has been frequently broken into by thugs during late night hours. Kulumba told Sharptip News that most of the gangsters within different streets in the country’s capital, are jobless youths who opt to do the vice mainly to get daily bread though it’s against the law.
“What do you expect from a jobless youth who has stayed for over a year in the slum jobless with academic certificates from our best learning institutions in the country?” Kulumba asked during an interview with Sharptip News.
He argues that the government should increase its budget allocation set aside for the youths and that it should ensure that the latter is purely used for youth affairs and not to be used to enrich some corrupt individuals in the government or even in the private sector.
” By creating jobs for the youths, this would reduce robbery and theft generally in the slums, which mostly leads to loss of lives through mob justice or even gun shots by the police. The thugs may also cause unexpected deaths in a scenario where they attack business owners or rob the residents on their way to their houses.” Kulumba commented during the interview.
On the other hand, residents within different slums had their views too.
Sharon Mwandaze, a Kibera slum resident has said that poor housing facilities in the slum is wanting. She says that the houses where most of the residents stay in, are of a worse condition.
“Can you imagine staying in the first floor of a one storey iron sheet built house? What do you think happens in case of a fire breakout in such a house especially during the night? Where do you think one relieves themselves during the night when all the toilet operators are asleep and the toilets are locked up?” Sharon asked a convoy of bitter questions during an interview with Sharptip News.
To get answers to all these questions, Sharon says that the government should ensure the budget of the day caters for modernized housing facilities to uplift its people’s safety and health by setting aside a reasonable token for that docket. The health factor comes in where we are forced to relieve ourselves in the dirty water channels or even use flying toilets hence setting a conducive environment for the waterborne diseases causing agents thus risking our health as slum dwellers.
Mutirya Nyarigah, a resident in Mathare slum told us that he has always been in quarrels with his wife over shifting to a better living house outside the slum. Mutirya, who is a casual worker with a certain building company within the city’s industrial area, opened up to Sharptip News that he earns five hundred Kenya Shillings per day totaling to three thousand Kenya shillings per week(six days) which is paid every Saturday.
” My wife who is not employed wants us to shift from our iron sheet built house whose rent is two thousand and five hundred Kenya shillings per month to a block built house outside the slum whose rent is five thousand and five hundred Kenya shillings per month.
She argues that the house is too small for the family of seven and again the environment around it is not fit for young kids health, which is true.” Mutirya narrated to us.
He says due to very high living standards currently in the country, he cannot not afford modernized rental houses and has no option apart from tolerating his wife’s request pressure as we awaits the government to built affordable modernized houses.
Mutirya told us that he is at risk of getting depression since the wife doesn’t understand him when he tells her that he can’t afford such.
He says his expectation is that the budget will have a great portion pumped into the housing sector for this will relieve him among many other Kenyans who are going through the same or more pressure like him in the filthy slum environments.
The above opinions from different slum dwellers and business people within the city’s slums, arise as the cabinet secretary in the National Treasury docket is expected to issue a budget statement worth 3.02 Trillion Kenya shillings.