Elections fever runs high in Nairobi and although only around twenty percent of the Kibera residents are registered to vote it is inevitable that there that there is an overflow of frustration into the dark and narrow alleyways. On the wider tracks open back trucks loaded with oversized public address systems that could shame Wembley, broadcast messages with an energy and ear drum snapping volume that is both infectious and intimidating. If this fails than flurries of fifty shilling notes illegally incentivise whilst snubbing the concept of voter bribes.
The hope of democracy has to be the way forward when the chasm of inequality is so prevalent and it is easy to stoke unrest in a community that has so little and everything to gain. The politicians know that. Demonstrations can be quickly whipped into full scale riots, whilst the presence of illegal firearms degenerates into settling old scores with the inevitable toll on human life.
It is therefore hugely encouraging that in the Kiandi area gunshot deaths are in measurable decline. The Kibera Saints football project amongst others is working with the young men who are gradually learning that there just could be another way and are choosing not to get involved in the melees.
The first 2017 election was declared invalid; the current rerun tension is palpable.
50 Kenyan shillings = 36p (UK)
Photo by Mark Tizodi