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Nairobi tenants live in fear of caretakers

Dennis Muriithi almost got into a physical confrontation with his caretaker a fortnight ago when his water was unfairly disconnected.

“It appears my choice of taking the car for washing in the neighbouring flat did not go down well with my caretaker,” says the 29-year-old Donholm resident.

Meet Nairobi’s nasty caretakers. In practice, they are more powerful  than landlords yet they feature nowhere in the power hierarchy.

Prior to the incident, Mr Muriithi says women on their block had complained to their menfolk that the same caretaker was forcing them to buy water from him during the day.

The caretaker would cut water supply to all the houses then compel the women to buy it from him at Sh20 a can.

The men registered a complaint with the landlord. Subsequently, a warning was issued to the caretaker. He stopped selling the water though he has since opened a car washing business.

Rejecting advances

Asenath Khaemba had to quickly shift to a different flat in her estate after rejecting her caretaker’s advances.

“One day, I returned home in the evening to find an eviction notice from the landlord and soon realised the caretaker had fed him with a lot of falsehoods,” says the long time Huruma resident.

She says she had to move houses immediately since she suspected the caretaker would hram her in one way or another.

As for Sylvia Moraa, her caretaker went to the extent of calling her a whore after she refused to buy food from his wife’s kiosk.

Verbal attack

“The wife operated a food kiosk right outside our fat but I prefer buying in bulk so I got my supplies from the supermarket,” says the single mother of one.

Moraa adds that whenever she passed by the kiosk carrying groceries, the caretaker would look at her with disgust written on his face.

Hell broke loose when the caretaker’s wife called her names, accusing her of going for her husband.

“I found this weird because the man in question is not even my type. I knew it was him who had fed her with those lies,” says the resident of Kahawa West.

It didn’t take long before Moraa looked for another house. Now She hopes the new caretaker will not be a bother.

Tenants have told of physical and psychological injuries inflicted by these people who happen mostly to be men.

It is emerging that many Nairobians have had at least one nasty experience with caretakers after failing to agree on various matters including monetary, business, bills or even sexual advances.