Sunday, October 21, 2012

Growth? What Growth?

Innumerable Kenyans continue to wallow in abject poverty even as others swim in money. As a few drink Sh85,000 in posh restaurants, the majority live in slums. In Nairobi, for instance, while some are buying houses worth tens of millions of shillings, others continue living in informal settlements where the rent is around Sh800. Millions around the country cannot afford a meal every day. They have to trek long distances to look for menial jobs. 46 per cent still live on less than a dollar a day.

“I earn Sh5,000 and Sh1,200 goes to rent. The fare is Sh50 and there are no trains on my route. Where is this growth you people are talking about?”  Martin Kirema, a security guard, asked.

Silvia Wangeci, a shoeblack in the city, says she is yet to feel the growth. “You mean there are Kenyans who are drinking Sh85,000 in a night? I have never held Sh20,000 at once in my hands,” she said.

Her colleague Naomi Kilonzo says the money has gone into a few pockets. “That money has gone to the MPs and their business partners. If there are ordinary Kenyans who have gone from poverty to riches then it was by fluke,” she said.

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