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Politics and Slum Upgrading in Kenya

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


George M. Kiyu

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.
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6.0 The Envisaged Kenya Slum Upgrading Program (Kensup)


This chapter presents the KENSUP as espoused in the KENSUP documents Volume 1 and 2 as well as the National Housing Policy. It highlights the conception, implementation strategy, financing strategy and the administrative structures of the program. It also illuminates the political, socio-economic, technological, legal and institutional environments within which the program is set to be implemented, while mentioning the steps to be taken to have a sense of control over this environment. It is important to mention that the idea of KENSUP was originated by the government under the influence of developments in the international arena.

In principle, the Government of Kenya embraced KENSUP as part of the policy of housing and urban development within the Vision 2030 schedule. The country’s strategic framework in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, the National Housing Policy and the National Housing Development Program, have all recognized slum upgrading as an integral part of shelter development in line with Nairobi Metropolitan Development and Vision 2030. This is also within the international framework for shelter improvement in the new Millennium. The Sessional Paper No. 3 on National Housing Policy for Kenya (GoK, 2004: 1) takes note of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which recognizes the right to adequate housing as an important component of the right to adequate standard of living. This declaration has further been reaffirmed by subsequent international instruments such as The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, The Istanbul Declaration and Habitat Agenda...

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