The dark slum

By Eva Muchiri, Mathare

  A house hold using the "Koroboi" lamp as a source of light. Photo: africagoodgovernancenow.org

A house hold using the "Koroboi" lamp as a source of light. Photo: africagoodgovernancenow.org

We are headed for the Easter festivities, in Mathare valley, specifically in Kosovo village everyone is happy and waiting anxiously for the big day. But we would wake up having limited things to do due to lack of electricity supply to our shacks. Its been awhile now and still there is no electricity, we are forced  to use kerosene lamps and ‘korobois’ – a small lamp which burns heavily with a lot of soot.

Electricty has become one of the basic necessity in our lives today.The problem has persisted for like a month now. We first had the dim lighting in our houses followed by a total blackout ever since. We have never experienced such kind of problem since the emergence of Kosovo Village in Mathare.

  Mathare Valley, Nairobi

Mathare Valley, Nairobi

Many a times you will find there is no power in Mathare due to many issues. The main one being many people illegal power connections, using one line of power which causes a low voltage at the main transformer. A dealer will agree to provide you with power for a small amount of fee but he will warn you against using strong electrical equipments such as heaters, gas cookers and fridges. These will consume a lot of power hence causing the power to dim when plugged in.

This has cause tremendous damage on the economic growth in Kosovo since most of the businesses here depend on electricity. Take an example of the milk parlours, saloons, barber shops, entertainment joints, cafes, dhobi and cleaning services. This problem has not only affected the common man but also the school going students in the medical field.The medical students at the Mathari mental hospital have hostels with out electricity they to have a problem since they cant be in a position to study at night.

The Kenya Power and Lightening Company has done very little to stop this and the people of Kosovo have found an alternate way to get their own power. These has become more than a business as many people in the business use the money to raise there families and to take their children to school.

Observations made in Mathare it has been found that many people are using power from cartels instead of the power provided by the Kenya Power and Lightening Company claiming that the company power is expensive and goes out anytime time unexpectedly. Because of these the people prefer to buy power from the local dealers which is goes for Ksh. 250 to a maximum of Ksh. 300 monthly. The dealer has more than 2 lines of power, in case one line of power goes out in a certain location he can change the line and the residents will not have a power break out. I guess this is the reason many people prefer this kind of power to the one provided by the company.

The lack of electricity has affected most of the slum since now the crime rate has increased theft case have gone up and the economic growth has gone down. Its our hope that the people involved will act soon and come to restore our village.