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Nairobi county loses Sh7b to cartels every year: study

At least Sh7 billion is lost annually by the county government of Nairobi to cartels in the informal settlements, a new study has revealed.

The research by Canada’s International Development Research Center (IDRC) titled “Unlocking the Poverty Penalty and Up-scaling the Respect for Rights in Informal Settlements in Kenya” shows that cartels run the economy of most of the informal settlements in Nairobi where slum residents pay more for basic services such as food and housing yet the services are inferior to those provided in Nairobi’s formal estates.

“Cartels often control these slums, charging extortionate rates for access to essential services and threatening residents with violent evictions and forced demolitions. For instance a family in the slum pays for water at 172 per cent more compared with a family living in a formal estate,” reads part of the research.

CARTELS

The study reveals that, for instance, Mukuru informal settlements which comprises of Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Mukuru Kwa Ruben and Viwandani and with a population of 492,000 rakes in about Sh7 billion yearly for the cartels, where residents have no choice but to pay for services according to the dictates of the cartels.

The research conducted between 2015 and 2016 by Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT), the University of Nairobi, Strathmore University and Katiba Institute, also reveals that at least two million Nairobi residents live in informal settlements with such settlements continuing to grow every day at a staggering rate.

Nairobi governor Evans Kidero said his government is in the process of declaring informal settlements in the city Special Planning Areas and that the findings will guide the county’s interventions on policy formulation.