Kenya dispatch: street crime in major cities rises with inflation, food shortages, child homelessness and general poverty Dispatches
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Kenya dispatch: street crime in major cities rises with inflation, food shortages, child homelessness and general poverty

Aynsley Genga is a JURIST Staff Correspondent in Kenya. She reports from Nairobi.

Where do I start? A lot has happened since the presidential elections back in August. Currently, Kenya is in a really sad state. Inflation is becoming too much for the public and poverty is steadily on the rise. Food is expensive, oil is expensive, water and electricity prices have risen, and even school fees for universities have risen. Many people are finding it extremely difficult to survive, and a good number of the citizens are just barely surviving.  The number of street children is increasing day by day and becoming quite alarming. Whenever you complain about how difficult life in the country has become, people just say  “You’re not the only one. Everyone is suffering in silence. You should not complain; rather you should be grateful you have a roof over your head and some food to eat.” Frankly it is all quite depressing. The government constantly promises us that things will get better, but that remains to be seen.

Due to how dire the situation has become, insecurity is at an all-time high in the country. Not a day goes by without word of people being robbed in the Central Business District (CBD) or in some other parts of Nairobi. The thieves have weapons, while some even have guns. Nowadays, when you walk in town it is like you’re on a survival show. If you have a laptop bag, the likelihood of you being targeted by thieves increases tenfold. If you look lost or are alone in town, you’re an easy target for the thieves. It has reached a point where people are genuinely afraid of walking in town, especially women, since everyone has seen videos of people being stabbed over their mobile phones or cars being broken into.

Incidents of theft and chaos are not just happening in Nairobi alone. Other parts of the country are experiencing similar problems as well. On Thursday, Eldomatt supermarket, Eldoret, was looted by rioters while on Wednesday in Homabay county, we had thugs breaking into the police station in order to steal their guns. Kenyans are becoming desperate and yet there is little that the government has done apart from increasing security personnel.


Apart from the issue of crime plaguing the country, much of Kenya is also experiencing drought. A lot of Kenyans are dying. The government has promised to provide solutions, but just recently President Ruto donated food to Somalia. I am sure his actions come from a good place but not many Kenyans were pleased. Many expressed their disdain since they could not understand how the president could go help another country and while his fellow countrymen are dying of hunger. His deputy was pleading with Kenyans to donate food and apparently we had food all along to donate to another country. As I had stated previously, Kenyans are in a very desperate situation at the moment, hence their compassion is quite strained.

Additionally, we found out today that our government would be importing GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and that has caused an uproar amongst Kenyans. Many are wondering why the government would make such a decision without seeking public input on the matter. Moreover, there are those who argue that such a move will leave many farmers jobless. Kenya has never been a supporter of GMOs consumption and the laws have always been quite strict on the matter, which is why many have been left in shock by the government’s sudden decision. When the Trade Cabinet Secretary (CS), Moses Kuria, was questioned on the decision his answer shocked many. He was quite rude when he told Kenyans to accept the decision and move on since this was the only way to apparently combat the food shortage.

As it stands, we are all just hoping for some semblance of peace to be restored in the country and for the cost of living to reduce.