Sauti Yetu organized a political debate in Huruma ward, Mathare sub-county with candidates of the Members of the National Assembly. The Forum took place at Daniel Comboni Catholic Church.
This Forum brought together residents of Mathare constituency and 6 candidates namely; Gacheke Gachihi, Joseph M Kanguchu, Miriam Muthoni Macharia, John Wesonga Mangeni and Antony Kimani Mburu.
The Sauti Yetu Moderators of the day Felix Odhiambo and Sarafina Mwangi, welcomed everyone. Felix went ahead and gave the objective of the Forum and laid down the rules of engagement. Then he gave each candidate 3 minutes to introduced him/her self and give a brief of their manifesto.
Gacheke Gachihi; “That is my name and I give thanks to all the organizers. Social justice has been part of many initiatives that speak to the rights of the public. Unga revolution, Implement article 43 of Constitution of Kenya and I am a servant not a mheshimiwa.”
Miriam Muthoni Macharia; “I was Born and bred in Mathare. Vote for me as a mother is voting for a mother to all without discrimination. Poverty will be eradicated if we obey God and go back to the ways of God. Poverty does not mean one should not enjoy rights. Poverty leads to crime.”
John Wesonga Mangeni; “I am a young 29 years old and 3rd election as a voter. I struggled through education and a time has come and it will no longer be that youth are the problem rather youth will be the solution. I will fight for rights of the people of mathare.”
Joseph M Kaguchu; “I have held leadership positions in various capacities within Mathare. I was born and bred in Kiamaiko. What is the relationship with Mathare residents: I have been traumatized and need to change the ills I have undergone.
Antony Kimani Mburu went to St. Brigids Pumwani. Was brought up, married and wife has given birth in Mathare. I have various Community Based Organizations in Mathare KC. We must join hands to change and transform Mathare. Mathare has been left to foreigners 10 of them are not related to mathare and they just come during elections. Promote safeguard and protect Mathare.”
Sarafina the moderator, presented Issues and challenges across Mathare that Sauti yetu and University Mtaani collected during different forums. Feedback from all Wards: Corruption, Infrastructure- Access roads are nonexistent. Accountability of Community Development Fund (CDF) Kitty. Residents are not informed of the status of the kitty and are not privy to what happens with CDF, Education – Mabatini Ward has no public primary School and are very few in other areas of Mathare. The criteria used to give out bursaries is not known by the residents. They are just informed that they were given. Public Participation by talk to the residents. Youth unemployment, Insecurity around the Constituency.
Anthony; I will tackle Youth unemployment through; youth are a police project as the police extort them for money. I will create income generating projects such as transport. I will do allocation of CDF.
John; I have a youth unemployment manifesto. Will put up an employment bureau with data on all youth. Skill based, vocational training, Community Based Organizations, have companies by youth. I authored Youth Unemployment in Kenya.
Joseph: I will combine youth and women empowerment. I have done research and there is a lot of prostitution, drugs all over Mathare.
The residents asked the following questions:
1.) What plans the aspirants have on speaking for Mathare residents in Parliament?
2.) Carwash and garbage collection?(
3.) What will do in 90 days?
4.) What they will do about the environment including garbage and the river?
Gacheke: “proper plans on garbage will create employment for a lot of youth. We need to unite youth and work on garbage collection, generating fuel. Ensure policy in place for garbage collection. Does CDF have allocation for it? Use primary schools in the night for adult education.”
Miriam; “we can have more than just car washes and garbage collectors. We should aspire to be more. Will nurture talent to ensure equal opportunities for all. I will ensure cleanliness and ask for jobs from City Hall. Will ensure projects for girls and proper roads are constructed. I will ensure there is a youth stadium.”
Joseph; “there has never been a bill from a Mathare MP. I will ensure I enact a bill that will help the residents. 90 days constitute of a CDF Committee. Restriction and construction of a bridge, 24hour business environment.”
John; “there is CDF money that will work in the community. I will have 90 days public participation forums. A youth employment bureau. I will work with women’s groups. 5 youth will start online jobs. Bodaboda will have proper roads. Cleaning rivers will be done. All landlords will have a plan for solid waste management.”
Anthony; “I will implement CDF according to the constitution, will ensure cleaning of the environment, unblocking of sewerage and rivers. Disability bill, informal settlement and roads bills. Bursaries are for the poor who deserve and I will send youth to university. Ensure that CDF committee works. 120m every year.”
John: “The policy on abursary application will be to apply for it directly to the office. Mathare bursary fund to increase the allocated bursary. Register women’s groups to be companies hence better chances for business. There is a big gap in leadership.”
Joseph: “2 offices for CDF and MP will 50 employees. Meetings will be held every Thursday with the residents.
Miriam: Bursary knows how many families are really needy. How may have passed and are deserving. Construction of sewer lines. Supply of water. Polytechnics for all youth to free. Management of CDF consults on committee.
Gacheke: ward bursary committee. Cooperatives that will engage in business. To give the better option.
Questions from the audience; what will you do to the unfinished bridge that links Juja road Mabatini and Hospital ward, what will you do ensure cohesion, what is the plan to deal with the slum. We do not have a market in Mathare? Do you have a plan for Persons with Disabilities? What are your plans for Security?
Gacheke;” work with OCS to hold forums on security.”
Miriam: “have active sports to ensure youth are engaged. Upgrade Huruma playground and have businesses around creating employment. Will ensure there is a market. Give an award for the best police officer.”
Joseph; “use of live bullets is not a solution. I will sit down with security agencies because shooting to kill not a good thing. I will bring boxing back to Mathare by returning the club back.”
John: “There is money given by Safaricom to upgrade Huruma grounds. I will ensure that money is accounted for. Getting rid of tribalism will be my priority. Market places have been grabbed in each ward and will ensure they are restored. I will create a community, good cops and good systems.”
Each Candidate was given the Accord to sign in front of everyone as an agreement between them and the people of Mathare that they do as promised in their Manifesto. They then held their hands together and sand the National Anthem as a sign of peace during and after election.