Revv22's Blog

September 15, 2011

Genuine Beneficiaries

It is sad and disturbing that we continue to loose our brothers and sisters in tragedies such as Sinai slum fires. It is embarrassing even, that those who are caught in such mishaps are the very vulnerable members of our society who need the most protection. When they say poverty is a crime, it is hard not to agree; but the question remains, who is the criminal?
Following the fire, the government committed to helping the affected families get back on their feet. I, like many other Kenyans, welcome the gesture but I won’t congratulate neither the government nor kenya pipeline for doing so. When the fire was put out, authorities in their reactionary characteristic came out in a press conference declaring their intention to resettle affected families.
Didn’t they learn anything from the whole IDP and Mau forest evictees resettlement fiascos.. Was it so impossible for them to pre-empt the possibility of false claims. This lack of foresight only goes to show that they were more concerned with the PR side of their intentions. I however appreciated the urgency shown, since it is not very interesting being hurled up together in Tom Mboya Hall Buruburu or any emergency centre, even if you come from the slum. East or west, home is always best.
Red Cross is making a tremendous effort to try and create a list of “genuine beneficiaries” for whatever resettlement or form of compensation will be offered. Given the fact that there is no existing data on the affected population, they have to rely heavily on what they are told by the survivors and neighbours . If they don’t vouch for a stranger, then he/she is not a genuine beneficiary, and is automatically disqualified.
It is a smart move; hundreds are being turned away by the hour. They come in all shapes and sizes like the 17 year old Wambua who almost duped a journalist too eager to do the ultimate story. Thanks to the Red Cross he was found out. Wambua’s story was perhaps a clear con, but there are other people, who live nowhere near the Sinai area but are desperate enough to come and lie about it. Just like the Politicians on their PR ventures, the NGOs who thrive on misfortune and Media out to get award winning stories, they are also trying to get a piece of the proverbial silver lining that comes with the every dark cloud.
It has been established that you not only have to be poor but also a victim of a major disaster for the authorities to pay attention to your suffering. If the flag wasn’t hoisted at half mast after your tragedy, don’t even bother expecting welfare relief from government. No NGO will come to asses the life in informal settlements since the “slum tourism” fad is no longer in vogue and there is no donor interest. To the media its a “dog bites man” kind of story.
That’s why I don’t congratulate these reactionary efforts to chip in after tragedy. Every on in the slums live with two thing constantly above their heads, the sky and tragedy. Society isn’t blind to this fact, as long as they are living and breathing, its OK., right?
The way I see it,just as every starving person was a beneficiary of the Kenyans for Kenya Initiative, so is every slum dweller a genuine beneficiary of the efforts being put in. Sooner or later tragedy is gonna befall them. It could be petroleum, electricity, floods, trains, gangs, poison alcohol, police raids, cholera outbreaks… The list could go on and on. So why wait till it happens?


Create a free website or blog at