Where Have All the City’s Street Children Gone?

The whereabouts and location of street families removed from the city centre ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit remains a mystery. The exercise is part of the Nairobi government’s effort to beautify the city before Obama arrives tomorrow. The planting of grass on major highways and landscaping has not been completed.

City Hall has not explained the amount of money being spent on the beautification. Environment executive Evans Ondieki and his chief officer Leah Oyake have given conflicting figures of Sh130 million and Sh48 million respectively. Early this week, a county official was quoted by the media saying the street children had been taken by county askaris and the NYS to Joseph Kang’ethe Primary School and transferred to the Ruai Rehabilitation Centre.

The Star yesterday visited the rehab centre in Kamulu off Kangundo Road, where we found an unoccupied 40 acres. When the Star visited Joseph Kangethe Primary School, head teacher Nelly Njoroge said no street children had been taken there.

She directed us to Joseph Kang’ethe Community Centre, where we found a group of reformed street boys playing. An official told the Star the centre received several street children after a swoop carried out by the NYS and county askaris.

“The street children are locked up in the room. I can’t tell how many they are, but we are preparing lunch for them,” the official said. When contacted, Nairobi Chief Enforcement and Security officer Francis Munyambu said: “I’m in a meeting and have nothing to say.”