Kenya: Nairobi MCAs Push for Law to Tame Street Families Menace Within City's CBD

Nairobi Members of County Assembly (MCAs) now want the county executive to develop a comprehensive policy with programmes aimed at rehabilitation of street children and families.

This comes after the county legislators expressed concerns over the increased number of street children and families, noting that the problem has turned into a social nightmare with more street families invading major streets within the Central Business District (CBD).

HOMELESS PEOPLE

Nominated MCA Margaret Mbote, in a notice of motion, explained that although there is an ongoing effort by the county government to bring sanity in the capital by launching an operation to flush out street families from the city centre, a law is needed to tame the vice.

She said the policy should focus on solving the issue of homeless people in the county by regulating homes catering for street families with institutional system that identifies, assesses and classifies street families.

"In the recent years the problem of street children or families in Nairobi City has increased thereby affecting businesses in the city center," said Ms Mbote.

The nominated ward representative pointed out that below the veneer of a dirty street person is a well calculated and thriving drug and alcohol business where the street people are used as mules to transport drugs and alcohol from one point to another.

DRUG PEDDLERS

This is in addition to the street families or children resorting to extorting money from innocent pedestrians and motorists through all sorts of tricks, ranging from sick children or people suffering from terrible diseases who accompany them.

"Worse are the peddlers who sell drugs to the street people on credit to permanently keep them hooked and in debt, leading to a vicious circle of petty thieving to sustain the habit," she said.

Last year, City Hall Security and Compliance Chief Officer, Tito Kilonzi, called for enactment of a law allowing for detention of disabled foreigners fueling the influx of street families in Nairobi complaining that even after being arrested, arraigned and charged, the foreigners have been let free for lack of a law and facilities to allow for their detention.

STREET CHILDREN

Mr Kilonzi said the war on street children in Nairobi can only be won if the foreigners, whom he said are the cartels behind the increased numbers of street children in the county as they use them to beg for money, can be put behind bars for good.

The Consortium of Street Children in 2016 estimated that there were over 60,000 street children in Nairobi.

Last year, City Hall rescued over 700 street children with most of them taken to the four county rehabilitation homes - Makadara, Kayole, Shauri Moyo and Joseph Kang'ethe.

Ms Mbote also called for the county government to complete the construction of Ruai Rehabilitation Center for rehabilitation of street families and children and integrate street children in the existing children's homes.

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