NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – When the National Government kicked off the National Youth Service (NYS) projects in Kibera slum, Michael Oyoo had one hope; that the residents shall live in dignity with access to basic amenities.
He had hoped that levels of crime would drop; the slum would become accessible and that there would be water available to the residents.
Oyoo was placed in charge of more than 600 youths employed by the NYS. A clinic and a public toilet he oversaw being constructed were destroyed during Monday night’s fracas in Kibera.
The chaos was as a result of two youth groups that clashed over the development projects initiated by Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru that left Oyoo worried “that my dream may still remain that… a dream.”
“Among the young people undertaking these projects were reformed criminals and women who have lost their husbands and have more than six children each,” a visibly angry Oyoo told Capital FM News.
“How will they feed their families if the youths destroy everything?”
NYS projects in Kibera alone, he said have seen over 3,000 young people engaged in development project as well as earning more than 1,600 per week besides the Sh700 savings.
“The economy of Kibera is improving…the situation will remain the same if we are not going to accept these developments,” he said.
The youths amounting to 300 are said to have torched one of the public toilets and also ripped off the roof of the Kamukunji clinic in Kibera. When the Capital FM crew visited Kibera on Tuesday morning, two youth groups were engaging in a fierce verbal exchange.
One group was for the projects to continue while there rest were against but under the condition that those who ‘insulted’ CORD leader Raila Odinga apologise.
Police officers had a hard time trying to cool the rising tension but eventually managed after the youths agreed that no activity should continue until the matter is resolved.
The group against the projects has however vowed to ensure the projects do not continue until, “the group that insulted Raila apologises to him.”
“The Prime Minister is against corruption within the ministry and not the projects…we need to respect each other as Kenyans. We are not going to tolerate this anymore,” a charged elderly man only identified as Engineer said.
To him, the government was trying to undermine the opposition leader through their projects instead of helping the residents.
“They have to go back to town where they insulted ‘baba’ (CORD leader) and kneel down and ask for forgiveness,” he demanded.
Another said, “We the people of Kibera are ready to defend our leader. All we are demanding is respect.”
More anti riot police officers have since been deployed to the slum which remains highly charged, with youths demanding the withdrawal of security forces.
The ugly scenes followed Monday street demonstrations by a group that appeared to support the CS while castigating CORD leader Odinga who has been critical of Waiguru.