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No Nyumba Kumi, we are Westlanders

A newly launched security plan that will ensure neighbours know each other is already facing difficulties in high-end estates.

The ‘Nyumba Kumi’ initiative is walking a tight rope in Westlands because residents are delinked from local administrators.

The only time the gap is narrowed is when one is in search of a national identity card.

Mind your own business

Core drivers of the ‘Nyumba Kumi’ initiative are county commissioners, chiefs and their assistants. They are the ones charged with the responsibility of vetting residents.

Several apartments we visited on Mvuli Road have some sort of organisational strategy with leadership structures, but the set-ups mainly revolve around service delivery and court security.

For Marutti Courts which has four apartments, each with 25 units, monthly meetings are held  where service delivery and security are discussed.

The regular meetings deal with garbage collection, noise, security guards’ renumeration and other issues that may arise.

“Only our landlord can look into someone’s job or means of livelihood. It would really be intrusive to demand such information from your neighbour,” said Evans Kiogora who has lived there for many years.

He added that the area also has several furnished apartments popular with expatriates who come for short periods, making it hard to know who the occupants  were.

Taxi driver Ken Makabila operates near Mimosa Court.

He said people who live in the area are not the social type. He added that small talk is normally limited to one’s profession and courtesy.

“I have driven residents here for more than seven years. It is easier to interact with children than adults. Grown-ups show no interest in other people and conversation is very limited. Try to initiate a talk with your client and he will either ignore you or tell you to mind your business,” Mr Makabila said.

For residents in the apartments opposite Westgate Mall on Peponi Road, the September 21 terror attack shook things slightly.

Dr Sarah Ruto has lived there for five years.

“The attack, somehow, legitimised nosing into other people’s affairs, something that was not common from the time I moved here,” she said.

She said she has several senior and junior police officers’ phone numbers but not the area Chief’s or his assistant.

“I only know where the chief’s office is located,” she said.