Criminalization Of Poverty 

​Being Wrong For being Poor. 

If you ever watched 8 Miles featuring the now Grammy award winning Eminem, then you can attest how life was for him growing up in that Detroit Ghetto. I heard our very own Ekodyda recite the meaning of Ghetto on one of his poetic songs. He said it means Getting Higher Education To help Others. And if there is anything that Ghettos provide then it’s Education. 

Back to that 8 Miles movie in that Detroit Ghetto featuring Eminem the rap god then as Rabbit and things were just as elephant as they could get. In a nut shell, him being bullied at school. Putting up with her mum and daughter from a failed relationship in a shanty kind of house. Schooling in a disastrous private school and to add salt to the wound facing seclusion as the only white kid amongst blacks. Moving forward he’s done with school. Back at home life is hard. His high-school bully moves in with her mummy. The Ghetto is not as receptive at his idea of street rap battles. Wait, could you just stop here and find yourself a copy of that movie  if you don’t mind… Point is, if there’s anything that Detroit Ghetto offered young Eminem then it’s education; hard knock kind of life education.

I want to be that girl when I grow up. Then you will ask me for example I was poor. And I will tell you I can not be poor. And you will tell me it’s why you used for example. And I will tell you even in your example am not just accepting to be poor. 💪🔔 And you will have a bad day. Boring😢 Because well, no one wants to be poor. Not when our poverty situation can be as bad as the below photos can tell. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Either of them communicate one thing; poverty. One us taken in Kiambu County and the other in Bondo. I know someone is reading politics. Am reading poverty.


When Biggie in his biography; Life of Biggie talks about poverty, he says “When you get large even your friends turn against you” It all sounds like a joke because Biggie himself is big. Let’s just say he talks about poverty in a big way. 

All the way from Cuba, the fallen Fidel Castro’s look at poverty is a rant. He is so mad at the state of affairs. He wonders as to why the rich are so entitled whereas the paupers wait from the filthiest of ends with only there filthy lives to mind.

An No. You can not talk about poverty without mentioning that girl Malala. She spoke just as bold and passionately about social change and against the vices as poverty. 

I wanted to write criminalization of the poor because let’s face it. That’s what all this shit is. It’s like being poor is being wrong. Being in the wrong side of things. Being highly susceptible to well bad omen. Okay, it’s not that poverty is a good thing. No! It’s not. Like I understand we should not celebrate because we are poor. But then again we should not be victimized either. Not when the whole poverty thing is a subtle creation of the successive regimes. We are talking of four regimes since independence headed head first into the fifth regime. We are talking about Poverty diseases ignorance; Tribalism; Corruption; Huge public debt. Here we are we don’t really know what the future holds. It’s as delicate as glass. 

It’s been the most heated political year. It’s been grueling. It’s been charged. The point of contention is been the political triggered  violence around the city and the type of response from the government of the day. 

Think Kibra. Think Mathare North. Think Kariobangi. And adding to the list think Kawangware. Imagine the kind of tension that engulfed those places as a section of them burnt. And police ran battles with unarmed civilians. And countless ‘stray’  bullets pierced their way through the flesh of women and kids and sent them to the grave. Ponder on about the nights of horror that engulfed the veterans as Mungiki ravaged their backyards in the cold of the night and slaughtered their neighbours. And kids. And wives. And husbands. And sisters and brothers. Thibk about the cries. And the prayers. And the trauma. Imagine the smoke that choked them as their own hard earned poor property went up in flames housed in between the ramshackles that previously passed as homes long before politics happened. Think about the desperation. 

Why? Politics. Question. Did they deserve? My take a big NO! Nah. Never should anyone lose life just because they are lesser human. Not when it’s been 54 years a democracy. Not at all. We must overcome. Wait can we revist this? 

If there’s something the government has managed to communicate by its actions, then it’s the notion that poor is criminal. You and I will attest to the strong police and paramilitary presence in the aforementioned slum settlements above during the entire electioneering period.

The posh affluent Estates of Nairobi had their usual lives to mind as the slum and ghetto dwellers battled with man-made insecurity. We know yes due to the huge populations and what have you such settlements are fertile grounds for crime but there is nothing proportionate that makes it exclusive reason to allow security operatives to descend on them ruthlessly. So ruthless that we have the likes of baby Pendo dying innocently. If there is nothing to cry home about then this alone should be reason enough. 

Tomorrow for instance the president elect is bound to be sworn in. At a time when the country is terribly divided between half for not my president and the rest for we can work with that such that we move on. It’s a sad scenario. Again it’s reason enough for heavy police presence around the usual places across town. Perhaps. Just perhaps another reason for yet another innocent life to succumb. Another open chance to view the poor as criminal. Descend on them. Maim them. Then ask them on television to move on and forget about politics between myriad of it’s time for “development” promises. Development that has continuously created the haves and the have nots. Development that has continuously grown the sprouting slums. The same that the government thinks belong to the poor. And poor are criminal.

There should come a time when we need to see the poor as poor because of the prevailing social_economic_political climate that has been birthed over the successive post independence regimes. At this point in time we need to stop looking at the poor as criminals. Yes slum dwellings  are proxy to criminal behaviors but nothing makes it fit for the blanket generalization. Not when good people just as bad ones do find themselves inside the same slum locality. The faster we move toward that direction the sooner we heal the rift between the haves and the have nots. The surer we will do away with the animosity between the two divides. The realist we will clear out the despair that engulfs the faces of those who live poor and feel neglected. We might think we are free only to be tied down by poverty as Bob Marley would say. A journey of a thousand miles will sure begin with a single step. 



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