With exactly six days to the historic Kenyan General Elections, the first under the new constitution and the largest as far as the number of electoral positions to be filled, six to be exact, I have decided to share with you the reasons why I will not be voting Ferdinand Waititu as the Nairobi Governor and I hope that you can see beyond party affiliations and tribal thinking and join me in sayi NO TO WAITITU..
1. THE DANDORA DUMPSITE
The Dandora Municipal Dump Site, the only dump site in Nairobi is located 8 km away from Nairobi’s Central Business District. The dumpsite has been in place for over thirty years, a direct contravention of international environmental laws, which require that dumpsites be closed down after ten to fifteen years of usage. The site affects Dandora, Kariobangi, Korogocho and Baba Dogo residents with a total population of about 900,000 inhabitants. In fact, the over thirty acres of solid waste is encroaching into the residential houses in Dandora.
All garbage from Nairobi’s industries, hotels, restaurant, airport, and residential areas is dumped here. Private cartels control business at the dumpsite. The site is also a politically sensitive area. Politicians are allegedly involved in the dump site affairs. Ferdinand Waititu leads the park of the politician with more than vested interest in the dumpsite owning some over 200 lorries which dump garbage at the site. The dumpsite is a multimillion industry and Waititu is directly and highly involved in maintaining the status quo while taking different positions over the relocation of the dumpsite depending on which position is convenient for him at what particular time in point..
Danger to Public Health
Dandora Dumpsite is home to all kinds of wastes. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report released in October 2007 found out that industrial wastes such as fall-offs, used chemicals, raw materials, expired products and substandard goods are offloaded at the dumpsite. The report titled ‘Environmental Pollution and Impacts On Public Health, The impact of the Dandora Dumping Site in Nairobi, Kenya’ further reveals that agricultural wastes such as fungicides and herbicides and hospital waste including packaging materials, and containers, used syringes and other sharp, biological waste and pharmaceuticals are all dumped at the site.
Children exploited as labourers on and consumers of garbage
The dumpsite equally poses serious social and political threats. Being an open space the dumpsite encourages and attracts many children to turn to street life since they scavenge for items from the dump site which they sell. Schools in Dandora, Korogocho, Baba Dogo and Kariobangi have reported cases of pupils escaping from school to work at the dump site. Due to high poverty levels in slums and its neighbouring settlements, some parents encourage their children to go to ‘Mukuru’ as the dumpsite is popularly known to fend for themselves and also support the family. While some critics will defend this habit, it is a disastrous short term solution to a larger, complex and longersocial and economic problem
Safe-haven for criminals
Furthermore, the site provides safe haven to gun trotting criminals who operate from the site, using it as a hiding place and crime strategising point. Murder victims are rumoured to have been buried at the site while dangerous cults and groups also operate from the site. Pathways connecting the different estates of the area such as Dandora, Lucky Summer and Korogocho pass through the dumpsite and these paths are no go zones in the evening and even during the day, with criminals robbing passers-by and disappearing into the dumpsite.
Let’s do a simple math here… The City Council of Nairobi pays between 4500 and 5500 shillings for every lorry full of waste dumped here… The Lories chrage approximately 2000/= per trip to carry waste from your hood. In a day, one lorry will make approxiamtely 7500/= per trip and it is said that the lorries can do upto seven trips a day.
In Waititu’s case, he makes 7500x7x200= 10,500,000 a day. Some will argue that his is a ‘genuine’ business venture but compare that to the dangers that the residents of the four major residential estates and slums are faced with.
This is not the Nairobi I want, not the Nairobi that I wish to bring up my daughter in and for that reason, I will make it my prioirity to vote for the person who has promised to one, move the dumpsitein line with the UN demands that a dumpsite must be closed after 15 years maximum… two, someone who is concerned with the security of the residents of the city… three, someone who recognizes that there is need for improved security in Nairobi neighbourhoods and who understands the security threat posed by the dumpsite… four, someone who has only his interest at heart and not Nairobians…