No more Hustling, Vows Former Members of Outlawed Sect
By Henry Onyango
The current unemployment rate in Kenya and most of the third world countries is alarming. The most affected quarter of the population is the youth, that which commands the greatest number.
Several plans by the leaders to respond to the unending crisis have so far been a battle in futility as the number increases daily, monthly and annually probably due to the increased birth rate and bad governance in these lowly developed nations.
Kenya’s infamous 2007-2008 post poll chaos where over one thousand people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands misplaced is a clear indicator of the phenomenon. The idle youth were used by some politicians and the rich to loot, kill and injure those they considered their rivals for their own political good and supremacy.
Any group of youth during this time that seemed united was easily brought into these rather shoddy deals that would later lead to criminal charges against the incumbent leaders by the international criminal court (ICC) and thus the most vulnerable group turned out to be mungiki-an outlawed group that has its origin in parts of central Kenya.
The outlawed sect-mungiki that majorly composed of idle unemployed youth were mostly involved in the violence in Nairobi, Naivasha and some parts of the former Rift valley province according to media reports in and around that time.
After the release of the then self proclaimed leader of the illegal gang, Maina Njenga from the Nakuru’s GK prisons in 2011, he formed an organization that would later revive the dirty looking, shabby and rogue youths to an income generation activity rather than indulging in crime.
The Nakuru’s October 11, 2009 inter-denominational conference marked the birth of Amani sasa foundation.
The organization main objectives are to empower young people, not necessarily mungiki adherents, through development projects and shun away from criminal activities and drug abuse.
“While I was forming the organization ,some mistaken it for a political party that would see me enter politics but my vision was to help the youth to stop crime”, the former mungiki leader and bishop of Amazing International ministries, Maina Njenga was quoted saying in one of the local dailies.
The organization is picking up with a relatively unrelentless speed in most parts of Nairobi; in Kawangware 46 estate the foundation reaps great benefits to the community.
Today the estate is regarded ‘worth staying’, thanks to the tireless thirty two member team of the ‘ongwaro’ Amani Sasa Foundation.
“At this point our main interest is giving back to the community where we belong to and am glad my fellow colleagues are all committed to achieve the objective”, says John Kamau, chairman Amani sasa foundation, Kawangware branch.
The soft speaking former drug addict says that the organization is struggling to beat all odds so as to ensure they offer better services to the community and earn some income to keep them going.
However, he reiterates the road towards achieving their desired target has always been hit by several setbacks that to some extent paralyzed the smooth operation of the group.
He cites inadequate finance since what they earn from the service is not enough to satisfy their daily needs.
The organization majorly offers services like garbage collection, car washing amongst many others to the community at a relatively cheaper price.
They have opened up two car washing stations and a large garbage site along Gitanga –Kawangware road in the larger Kawangware area. Also the group has links with Nairobi City County where they have helped in loading the city council garbage trucks at their garbage site at a substantial amount of fee.
“Badala ya kuvuta bangi na kutumiwa na hawa wanasiasa kuwapigania ni heri ufanye ka works inakupa ka kitu jo”(instead of smoking bhang and being used by the politicians to fight for them its better you get some work to do so as earn some little income) ,says Mike Njoroge ,a member of the group in slang Swahili language.
It’s not only in Kawangware area where the group has taken toll, other parts of Nairobi such as Kibera, Mlolongo,Kayole ,Dandora amongst others boast of the magnificent performance of the organization.
In fact the organization have developed better strategies to cope with the current high standards of living and unending skyrocketing prices of basic commodities to raise some income. Most of them have completely left use of hard drugs in order to save for their families.
Julius Munda, a member of the organization in Kibera’s Katwekera slums says that car washing services he does is what caters for his two children boarding school fees in secondary school back at their rural home in Siaya County.
Although the government of Kenya offers subsidy to the secondary education, Munda says that boarding cost still remains expensive to the ordinary citizens.
He says that such similar foundations need to be set up to control rampant unemployment and crime rate amongst the youth.
Although the government of Kenya offers subsidy to the secondary education, boarding cost has all along been quite expensive in most schools.
According to criminology analysts, if Maina Njenga and company would have taken a chance not to form the organization early enough, there would be an increased robbery and theft in the city than ever before.
They argue that more police cells and prisons would have been erected countrywide to counter to the increased crime rate in the city as more of the mungiki loyalists would have formed a criminal gang to carry out crime.
To an organization whose origins have been so intricate and is luring thousands of youth join the sect, an initiative such as this is laudable .However it’s recommended that the local and international NGO’s offered support to combat chances of further involvement in such criminal acts in future.