A street boy is led away by members of the Nairobi County Environment Rapid Response Team during a swoop on street families in Nairobi. PHOTO | NAIROBI NEWSA street boy is led away by members of the Nairobi County Environment Rapid Response Team during a swoop on street families in Nairobi. PHOTO | NAIROBI NEWS
By SYLVANIA AMBANI

A day after launching an operation to flush out street urchins from Nairobi’s Central Business District, Governor Mike Sonko is now considering deporting non-Kenyan street families.

The governor launched the operation on Tuesday saying that the operation was in line with his campaign pledge to ensure street children are taken out of the streets to orphanages and rehabilitation centres in the county.

Sonko said that the rescued street children will receive treatment of their addiction at the rehabilitation centers in the county as well as get life skills including enrolling in school, adding that the initiative to rehabilitate street children will be continuous under his administration.

But the governor has since expressed his fears on Facebook after it emerged that a number of the street families are still out there.

Sonko says that it is suspected that the said beggars might be coming from neighboring countries.

He then posed this question to his followers:

“After making an effort of flushing out street families from CBD to various county rehabilitation centres, we have just observed a number of beggars suspected to be from a neighboring country have been brought back in our streets. I think they were transported from somewhere. Hebu sasa Nairobians advise me on how to handle this situation? Do we arrest or deport them back to their country?”

RESPONSES

His post attracted varied responses from the online community. This is what they had to say:

“Absolutely they should follow miguna… in fact life ya rehab is better than street… Kwanza ukideport watapata free flight,” Ezra Yegon wrote.

“First give them shelter and food, then interrogate them, if they are Kenyans, do the necessary, if they are not, they need to say how they came here, that’s people’s trafficking, I would think it’s a crime,” Caroline Wambugu said.

“Please mheshimiwa, I know it would be tougher, but try identifying them to find the truth of their places. Then help them out, I know some who came to the country 23 years ago and can’t trace their families in their countries, please help them,” Born To Win advised.

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“I was surprised to learn that these so called beggars are most of times out for hire. You hire one, first you pay a sum to the beggar’s handler and then you get to move them around town collecting on your behalf. Such a pity,” said Elias Macharia.

“SoNko Governor. Those people fingerprints should be taken, identified if they are found foreigners deport, if Kenyans, Take them to their villages. The government pays them 2000 through inua jamii,” Justin Oyo Mageto commented.

“As much as they are beggars. They’re humans who should have identification from whichever country. If found to be illegally in Kenya let them be taken back to their countries by following the due process,” said Michishige Takashi.

Davs Githu wrote, “These poor people are being taken advantage of, you need to consult with our neighbors and come up with an inter government task force to deter human trafficking but in the meantime let’s show them kindness.”