Politics and Slum Upgrading in Kenya

A Case Study on the Influence of Politics on Slum Upgrading in Kibera

by George M. Kiyu (Author)
©2015 Thesis 209 Pages


Why was the slum upgrading project in Kibera, Kenya, facing resistance? This study uses both qualitative and quantitative methods in data collection to reveal that politics revolving around the interests of local politicians, slum dwellers and business operators as well as external players such as NGOs hamper successful implementation of the slum upgrading project Kenya Slum Upgrading Program in Kibera. The key obstacles include poverty, corruption, tribalism, political interpretation of the project aims, bureaucracy, slum oriented businesses (kadogo economy) as well as NGO activity and youth unemployment.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • List of Tables
  • List of Figures
  • List of Plates
  • Acronyms
  • Abstract
  • 1.0 Introduction
  • 1.1 Problem Statement
  • 1.2 Related Literature
  • 1.3 Research Questions and Relevance of the Study
  • 1.4 Methodological Presentation
  • 1.4.1 Justification for the Choice of Case Study Method and the Process of the Survey
  • 1.4.2 Methods of Analysis
  • Data Collection Methods
  • Sampling
  • 1.4.3 Limitations of the Study
  • 1.5 The Structure of the Text
  • 2.0 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.1 General Perspectives on the Theoretical Foundation
  • 2.2 The North-South Relations in View of Development and Poverty Reduction in the South: Theoretical Controversies
  • 2.3 The Evolution of Single Party Dictatorship and Socio-Economic Decay
  • 2.4 Environmental Management: The Bane of Cities in the South
  • 2.5 Theoretical Frame of Reference and Working Hypotheses
  • 3.0 Selected Cases of Successful Slum Improvement Approaches
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Housing Upgrading Credit Financing Specifically for the Poor
  • 3.3 Housing Subsidies
  • 3.4 Using Land as a Resource
  • 3.5 Microfinance Institutions
  • 3.6 Public/Private Partnership
  • 3.7 Bank/MFI/NGO Partner Model in Financing for Slum Upgrading
  • 3.8 Development Credit Enhancement Mechanisms
  • 3.9 Test Saving Programs in Slum Upgrading Projects
  • 3.10 Income Generating Projects
  • 3.11 Community-Driven Projects
  • 4.0 The Evolution of Slums in Kenya
  • 5.0 Background of the Study Area
  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Location
  • 5.3 Physiographical Features of Kibera
  • 5.4 Climatology of Kibera
  • 5.5 Historical Politico-Economic Context of Kibera Relative to Environmental Management and Slum Upgrading
  • 5.5.1 Historical Background
  • 5.5.2 Politico-Economic Context
  • 5.5.3 Sociological Context
  • 5.6 Land Use Differentiation in Relation to Slum Upgrading
  • 5.7 Roads and other Amenities
  • 5.8 Economic and Demographic Profiles of Kibera
  • 5.9 Institutional Infrastructure for Environmental Management in Kibera
  • 5.10 The Socio-Political Dynamics in the Context of Environmental Management and KENSUP
  • 6.0 The Envisaged Kenya Slum Upgrading Program (Kensup)
  • 6.1 The Genesis of KENSUP
  • 6.2 The KENSUP Strategy
  • 6.2.1 Community Organization and Mobilization
  • Conflict Prevention and Management
  • Preparation of City/Town Development Strategies
  • Provision of Tenure and Residential Security
  • Provision of Social and Physical Infrastructure
  • Development and Promotion of Micro Finance and Credit Systems
  • Income Generation Activities
  • Shelter Improvement
  • Environmental and Waste Management
  • Vulnerable Households and Disadvantaged Groups
  • HIV/AIDS Prevention and Impact Mitigation
  • Capacity Building
  • 6.3 The Housing Policy in the Context of Slums
  • 6.3.1 Slum Clearance and Forced Migration
  • 6.3.2 Slum Clearance and Public Housing
  • 6.3.3 Provision of Minimum Services134
  • 6.3.4 Extension of Tenure Security and Physical Upgrading
  • 6.3.5 Recognition of the Legitimate Role of the Low Income Earners in Urban Development
  • 6.4 Policy and Legal Framework
  • 6.5 Institutional Framework
  • 6.6 The Financing Plan
  • 6.7 The Program Implementation Context
  • 6.7.1 Political Environment
  • 6.7.2 Economic Climate
  • 6.7.3 Social Environment
  • 6.7.4 Technological Endowment
  • 6.7.5 Legal and Regulatory Framework
  • 6.7.6 Policy Framework
  • 6.8 The Current Status of the Program in Kibera
  • 6.9 The Redevelopment Approach in Kibera
  • 7.0 Findings and Conclusions
  • 7.1 Results of the Empirical Examination of the Hypotheses
  • 7.2 Hypotheses about the Poor Economic Environment
  • 7.2.1 Limited Financial Resources
  • 7.2.2 Low and Irregular Incomes
  • 7.2.3 The Slum-Oriented Businesses (Slum-Based Economy)
  • 7.3 Hypotheses about the Functioning of the Political System
  • 7.4 Hypotheses about Bureaucracy
  • 7.5 Hypotheses about Policy and Institutional Weaknesses in the Implementation of KENSUP
  • 7.6 Hypothesis about legal Inconsistencies in KENSUP and Environmental Management
  • 7.6.1 The Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act
  • 7.6.2 The Local Government Act Cap. 265
  • 7.6.3 The Physical Planning Act Cap. 286
  • 7.6.4 The Public Health Act Cap. 242
  • 7.7 Hypotheses about the Social System
  • 7.7.1 The “Landlords”
  • 7.7.2 The Tenants
  • 7.7.3 The Transitional Worker
  • 7.7.4 The NGOs
  • 7.7.5 Youth Unemployment
  • 7.7.6 Tribalism
  • 7.7.7 Corruption
  • 8.0 Recommendations
  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 Slum-Centric Approach to Planning
  • 8.3 Establish a Simple Administrative Structure
  • 8.4 The Government to Play Regulatory Function
  • 8.5 Security of Tenure
  • 8.6 Incentives to Private Investors in Low Income Housing
  • 8.7 Encourage CSO Involvement
  • 8.8 Pursuit of Multiple Financing Approaches for Housing
  • 8.8.1 Capacity Building
  • 8.8.2 Credit Enhancement
  • 8.8.3 Public-Private Partnership
  • 8.8.4 Partnership with NGOs
  • 8.8.5 Loans to Individuals
  • 8.8.6 Encouragement and Promotion of Small- and Medium Scale Enterprises
  • 8.8.7 Encouraging Self-Help Initiatives
  • 8.9 Youth Empowerment
  • 8.9.1 Neighborhood Security Management
  • 8.9.2 Training in Entrepreneurial Skills
  • 8.9.3 Waste Management
  • 9.0 Concluding Remarks
  • Bibliography

← 8 | 9 → Acknowledgements

My utmost gratitude goes to the Freie Universität Berlin for granting me the opportunity to pursue my dream of scaling academic heights.

My dream would have remained just that were it not for the kindness of PD Dr. Salua Nour, who was willing to mentor, nurture and guide me as I navigated the labyrinth of vast masses of information. Her experience and sound knowledge of African politics were invaluable assets to me as I organized my ideas and concretized my theoretical foundation on the topic. Moreover, participating in her seminars was immensely enriching.

My first contact with the Freie Universität was Prof. Dr. Miranda Schreurs. Her kindness and support gave me the impression that I was in the right place. Her guidance and introduction to her seminars is what gave impetus to the crystallization of my proposal for promotion. I also pay tribute to her for identifying a suitable supervisor for my work and accepting to be my second supervisor.

I wish to salute all other people who directly or indirectly’ contributed to the success of this study. I particularly register my appreciation to the university library, Kibera community (including the local leaders and provincial administration), and the Ministry of Housing whose priceless support made the progress of the study a remarkable experience. ← 9 | 10 →

← 10 | 11 → List of Tables

Table 2.1:Paradigm Shifts and Envisioned Key Actors

Table 2.2:Urban Population Change in Selected African Countries between 1950 and 1990

Table 2.3:Africa’s ten fastest growing large cities (2005-2010)

Table 6.1:The KENSUP Financing Plan

Table 7.1:Percentages of those who believe that Politics has a Strong Influence on Slum Upgrading Program

Table 7.2:Influence of Promise of Free Housing on Voting

Table 7.3:Influence of Money on Voting

Table 7.4:Level of Knowledge of KENSUP Management Agencies

Table 7.5:Ratio of Owner-Occupied to Tenants

Table 7.6:Respondents who Voted in 2007 Elections according to Tribe

Table 7.7:Procedure for Allocating New Housing Units ← 11 | 12 →

← 12 | 13 → List of Figures

Figure 2.1:The North-South Relationships in the Context of Development and Policy Agenda

Figure 5.1:Nairobi in the National Context

Figure 5.2:Kibera in the Context of Nairobi

Figure 5.3:The Villages in Kibera Slum

Figure 5.4:Satellite Image of Kibera

Figure 5.5:Waste Management System currently being applied in Kibera

Figure 6.1:Institutional Framework for Implementation of KENSUP

Figure 7.1:Financing of KENSUP

Figure 7.2:Income Distribution among the Target Groups

Figure 7.3:Residents with Rural Homes and Willing to Retire in Kibera

Figure 8.1:Suggested Slum-Centered Approach to Slum Upgrading

Figure 8.2:Suggested Administrative Structure for the Implementation of KENSUP

Figure 8.3:Suggested Waste Management System to help in Youth Employment ← 13 | 14 →

← 14 | 15 → List of Plates

Plate 5.1:Narrow Passageways not Sufficient for Vehicles Including Fire Engines in Case of Fire

Plate 5.2:Most of the Garbage ends up on Open Spaces along the Railway Line.

Plate 5.3:A Section of Polluted Nairobi Dam Overgrown with all Manner of Plants as a Result of Continuous Dumping

Plate 6.1:A Section of Kibera Slums depicting Haphazard and Congested Housing

Plate 6.2:Open Space in Soweto East after Demolition of Shacks ready for New Housing Development

Plate 6.3:Housing Block at the Decanting Site Similar to the Final Products Expected in the Redeveloped Slum Area.

Plate 7.1:A Section of a Road in Kibera Slums Lined with Merchandise as People Carry Water from Vending Points ← 15 | 16 →

← 16 | 17 → Acronyms


L’Agence Française de Development (French Development Agency)


Appropriations in Aid


Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome


African Medical Research Foundation


African Union


Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa


Bank Rakyat Indonesia


Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere


Community Based Organization


Center for Children and Families


City Council of Nairobi


Constituency Development Fund



ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (December)
Korruption Tribalismus Umweltmanagement
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 209 pp., 11 tables, 20 graphs

Biographical notes

George M. Kiyu (Author)

George M. Kiyu is a political science expert. His research focuses on urban management.


Title: Politics and Slum Upgrading in Kenya
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216 pages