My Response to Ciku’s Advice to the President
I know there are many people who write and talk about not-so-nice things about Kibera and other slums. I remember there was a time prominent radio station dedicated a whole breakfast show to discussing an incident where a man was seen bathing in the open along Gitathuru River, next to Utalii Hotel. However, I’m perturbed by the today’s article on Zuqka Magazine, Daily Nation, titled “Dear Mr. President, just Develop the areas you have strong support”, by Ciku Muiruri.
Being an avid reader of newspapers, I read the article thrice, trying to comprehend the kind of message the renowned radio host was passing. Not only did I realize a blanket attempt to malign and slander the people of Kibera, but also discovered the typical side of most Kikuyus – self-centeredness.
As a person who has grown up in the slums, I’m appalled and compelled to respond. I know this article will be attacked, rebuked and classified as tribal or attack on women, but the urge is burning inside me, and there is no way anyone can stop me from writing this. Unlike Ciku’s article, mine may never find enough readerships since none of my kinsmen own a media house. What’s more, it cannot also get space in the Newspaper as a response, due to its straightforwardness. All the same, I have a technology, which gives people like us a way to express our explicit views on such matters. So allow me to address the issues that annoyed me.
I have for the past decade known Ciku as a home wrecker, yes a home wrecking radio presenter. Ask her, how many families have she destroyed with her morning show dubbed “Busted” when she was at Easy FM, the now Nation FM? She should steer away from politics and stick to busted or radio gossiping, as I would call it, that she knows best.
The writer started her article by describing former US President George W. Bush as a buffoon who won two elections by rewarding those who voted for him. She went ahead to insinuate that the current US president Barrack Obama is doing the same thing by standing up for gays. However, she does not mention the Obama’s universal health plan, or his foreign policy that stood out against his rivals! To her, the presidency is rewarding those who vote for you and leaving the rest in the cold, a typical African dictator’s view of things. But Ciku’s arguments, with no data on the voting patterns to back it up, remain a mere gossip.
At its worst, Ciku’s article was in layman terms trying to tell the president to move his projects to areas where Kikuyus settle, preferably Dagoreti, Embakasi, Roysambu and perhaps Kasarani. In essence, she wants the president only to serve his Deputy, William Ruto, who delivered the Kalenjin votes, and the Kikuyu community who overwhelmingly voted for him. Unfortunately, Nairobi is a cosmopolitan County governed by the opposition. Just to jog her mind, the NYS project is already in Mathare, Korogocho, and many other areas. She should also know that all the areas she mentioned, including Mathare, are manned by ODM MPs. Perhaps she doesn’t even know her MP or Ward Rep!
I agree with her that burning down these projects wasn’t the best thing to do. However, it must be noted that the whole Kibera community couldn’t have done it! It was the work of just a few illiterate, mentally retarded and emotionally unstable individuals. Pinning this act on the entire Kibera fraternity is in itself inciting the public against slum dwellers, if not politicizing the whole NYS project. And this brings us to a series of questions, who burnt the NYS projects and why? There are so many projects in Kibera, why chose the NYS projects?
To me, the incident was pre-planned to divert attention from the corruption scandal that has engulfed the NYS and the project itself.
The Kenyan opposition has strong support in the informal settlements of Nairobi County, but should this be used to sideline these areas? Presidency is an institution, and the president himself is a symbol of National Unity. Once elected, he or she is to serve all without discrimination. So Ciku and her ilk should be told straight in the eye that they are wrong! Therefore allow me to indulge her!
To put the record straight, your advice to the president is retrogressive, selfish and demeaning to your personality. If the people of Kibera wanted the project out of their neighborhood, with all due respect Ciku, they couldn’t have burnt just one toilet and a garden. As a member of the media fraternity, at very least, you should know what the residents of Kibera are capable of if they decide to protest!