, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday night launched a lighting project in Kibera with a message that the Government will stay with the community and continue with programmes to uplift the living standards of residents.
Thousands of Kibera residents thronged the Langata Sub-County Grounds to listen to the President when he officially launched the Youth Empowerment Programme and the Community and Street Lighting Project.
President Kenyatta said there was no justification why the area had been denied government services for the last 51 years of independence.
“From independence, this is the first time government has reached Kibera and we promise that it is here to stay,” the President said.
The government has embarked on several projects to upgrade Kibera, which has had the reputation of being at the centre of Nairobi yet lacks basic services available even in villages in remote parts of the country.
Already, a tarmac road has been built to ease transportation within the sprawling slum. The government has also opened clinics that offer free medicine to residents.
The National Youth Service under the Ministry of Devolution has been deployed in Kibera to also build toilets and clean up sewerage systems.
At least 3,000 Kibera youth have been employed to work alongside the NYS team as part of the Youth Empowerment Programme through which they earn salaries.
The President said the youth project will be extended for another six months to complete the work of cleaning and upgrading the slum.
He also announced that after the end of the NYS programme, the Kibera youth will be empowered to sustain the projects started in the area.
He said tools like brick making machines will be handed over to the youth so that they can use them for income generating activities.
President Kenyatta also announced that posho mills currently being run by NYS in Kibera will be handed over to the youth groups and an arrangement will be made with the National Cereals and Produce Board so that they get maize at subsidised prices.
“The posho mills will be left with you and the cereals board (NCPB) will give you maize at subsidised prices and we want you to sell maize meal at a maximum of Sh60 per 2kg to the residents,” said the President.
The President also announced that a stadium will be built on the grounds where the meeting was being held so that Kibera youth can have their own sporting ground.
As the Head of State continued announcing more goodies for Kibera, the residents who had jammed the grounds burst with excitement.
President Kenyatta also announced that Kibera will have free WiFi which will allow talented youth to use the internet for beneficial purposes.
“The majority of Kenyans do not live in Muthaiga, they live in slums. This project will be replicated in all the slums so that we change the face of Nairobi,” said the President.
Deputy President William Ruto said the Jubilee Government matches its words with its actions and the Kibera upgrade was a fulfilment of its pledge.
“Kibera is Nairobi and Nairobi is the face of Kenya. That is why the President directed that we change the face of Nairobi,” he said.
The DP said similar projects will be started in other slums so that the standard of life becomes better for all city residents.
Both the President and his deputy called on Kibera residents to shun incitement and to live in harmony with other people.
“Let us stop hating each other because of tribe or religion because that will not take us anywhere,” said the President.
Kibra MP Ken Okoth thanked the government for changing the face of Kibera and allocating funds to empower the youth.
“This is a special opportunity. Kibera has arrived and we embrace you Mr President,” he said.
He urged the Government to continue with projects in Kibera to support the youth whom he described as full of talent and skills. “The door of engagement which you have opened will stay open and we want the partnership to continue,” he said.
The Cabinet Secretary for Devolution Anne Waiguru under whose ministry the Kibera upgrade falls addressed the gathering. Others who spoke included Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko and Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke.