By Sally Kivaya.
The Kenyan constitution, under article 62, clearly states that, “Public land shall not be disposed of or otherwise used except in terms of an Act of parliament specifying the nature and terms of that disposal or use.” But some of the community members in Kayole feel this law has been disregarded when it comes to the Kayole 1 social hall.
“Most of our public resources have been grabbed by institutions and individuals for their own benefits.” laments Gerald Kamau, a resident of Kayole who is concerned about Kayole 1 social hall which was meant to be used by the community but has instead been turned into a rehabilitation centre for street children .
“As we speak ,Kayole 1 social hall has not benefited the community for over 20 years now.” He continued
Community social halls are meant to benefit the community by providing space for public participation, youth empowerment, mental health build up and also act as a resource centre for the whole community.
“The history of Kayole 1 social hall dates back to the years when Kenyan government had the Ministry of Local government, before the introduction of county governments. By then the ministry was headed by the late minister Karisa Mathai.” He stated.
“For so many years Kayole 1 social hall has been used as a rehabilitation centre for street children while millions of money was allocated to build a modern rehabilitation centre in Ruai to accommodate the street children who were to relocate there leaving the social hall for community use, and this is yet to be done.” Gerald continued.
With the high crime rates in Kayole, some community members feel that one of the causes is due to lack of spaces for the youth to interact constructively. According to them, this has made Kayole one of the most insecure neighbourhoods to grow in.
“Embakasi central is highly populated and has only one functioning social hall which is Kayole 2 social hall in Kayole South ward. This is not enough for the whole population living in Embakasi central. We should have at least one community social hall in every ward.” He stated.
It is the belief of residents of Kayole that while unemployment has led to increased crime rates ,lack of public spaces has also contributed not only to the increase of crime rates, mental illness and drug abuse among the youths of Kayole.
Residents try to rehabilitate small spaces in order for them to have a safe space in the community but this is not enough.
The main concerns are who the people behind the Kayole Rehabilitation Centre are and why is it that the community was never consulted.
They continue to have hope of getting the social hall back to the community but with the building of Ruai Rehabilitation centre stalled, their worries continue to grow each day.
It is the communities’ dream to see the kayole 1 social hall reclaimed and serving its purpose for the betterment of the lives of the community members.