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12 November 2014

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: WE DEMAND ADEQUATE SANITATION: CITY SLUM WOMEN CRY!

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Two months have elapsed since Muungano women served the Ministry of health with a petition for the office to conduct a public inquiry in Mukuru informal settlements. The inquiry is meant to investigate the deplorable sanitation conditions in Mukuru slums.

Since the petition was presented on 20th August, 2014 by over 200 women, 10 women leaders have been following up on a response from the Cabinet Secretary for Health Mr. Macharia. They gave the Minister one month to constitute a public inquiry.

On 30th September 2014 The women leaders paid the ministry of health a visit to follow up on how far the minister had gone in constituting an inquiry.  They waited for the Minister to attend to them but there was no response from morning to evening. The women were moved from office to office and were told by the secretary to the Minister that the office was not aware of any request made. This came as a surprise as the petition was presented in broad daylight.

The women leaders did not give up and yet again paid the Ministry of Health another visit on 8th October, 2014 and this time round carrying a copy of the petition that was presented before. After waiting for a couple of hours they got an audience from a Ministry of health officer, Mr. Musemi. After explaining to him the reason for their reason, Mr. Musemi called Mr. Kepha Ombacho, who is the director of Public Health. He addressed the women leaders citing that the Ministry of Health is not in charge of providing sanitation services at the County level and that that is a mandate with the County Government and therefore they should take their complaints to the County Government.

This response was not enough for the women as what they were requesting for is a Public Inquiry to be conducted in Mukuru. They once again visited the Ministry of Health on 15th October, 2014, this time round requesting an audience with Mr. Macharia, the CS (Cabinet Secretary) of health. They were told that the Minister was in a meeting to discuss the Ebola crisis that has been going on. They waited for him until evening with no luck of seeing him.

After all these days with no concrete response, Muungano  women mobilized other women in preparation to pay the Cabinet Secretary for health a visit to demand a response from him.

On 28th October, 2014, over 100 women left behind their businesses and marched peacefully to the Ministry of health at Afya House, on Cathedral road.

Song and dance filled the surroundings as the women made it clear what their intention was. Placards displayed messages of women having had enough of living in a terrible sanitation environment.

The Director of Public Health, Mr. Ombacho addressed the women after hours of waiting in the scorching sun.

“We are looking to address this issue. We have written a letter directing the County Government to look into the sanitation situation as per your request,” he said.

Asked why he had not constituted an Inquiry as per the women request, Mr. Ombacho responded saying; there was no need for a public inquiry yet. Should the County neglect the request to look into the sanitation situation in Mukuru, then the Ministry of health will constitute an inquiry into the matter.

 

 

 

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Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT) is a housing development & finance agency by the Slum Dwellers Federation of Kenya - Muungano wa Wanavijiji (MWW), an affiliate of Slum Dwellers International (SDI). It operates in all Counties of Kenya. More...

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