Kristen Maryn

Kristen Maryn (Hakijamii the Economics and Social Rights Centre): Kristen received her BS in Business Administration and BA in Sociology from the University of Arizona in 2007. Upon graduating, she traveled to Nigeria to work with a micro-finance program. After returning from Nigeria, Kristen worked in corporate management. At the time of her fellowship, Kristen was pursuing her JD at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, with a focus on migration, conflict amelioration, and alternative dispute resolution. After her fellowship Kristen wrote: “This fellowship reiterated my goal of getting to a place where I do not need to sit back and wait for someone to help me in order to get things done. I really enjoyed being part of a network that was small enough that it felt like a family, but had a global reach.”

Sad Day in Kibera

28 Jul

I have been busy trying to write a comprehensive and critical analysis of the opportunities within the Relocation Action Plan and within the community response to it.  I had almost forgotten about the Ngazi ya Chini election that was held yesterday in Kibera.  Until my director came in and asked if I had heard about it yet.  Rival groups started arguing, things escalated, police were called in.  One man was killed by police fire, and others were treated for various injuries.  Hakijamii’s Program Director suffered minor injuries.

I’m glad I didn’t ask to go.

A survey of the main news sources in Nairobi didn’t report much.  Scratch that…they didn’t report anything.  I found this one article on it, but the article is vague as to the issues leading up to this election.  What about why they had called an election?  What about the seven years of anxiety leading up to this November’s evictions?  What about the serious strain and life-changing decisions Kenya Railways and the Government are forcing on 10,000 people?

More attention needs to be given to this.  More thought should be given to the obvious social and psychological strains this is causing.  With reporting like this, no wonder the Government isn’t be held accountable to the Constitution.

Posted By Kristen Maryn

Posted Jul 28th, 2011


  • Julia Dowling

    July 29, 2011


    This is really interesting. When I was living in Durban, my group worked with a shack settlement outside the city who were part of a larger South African landless people’s movement. They worked a lot on protesting government abuses (including those to support FIFA in their preparation for the world cup). There were reports that local government forces and police had come in and arrested some of the movement’s leaders, as well as assaulting many members of the community. What was in the South African news? Nearly nothing – the government (yes, that most-revered ANC) was supporting their local bullies so they didn’t have to deal with the demands of the landless people. I can draw so many parallels to this. Keep up the really hard but really important work!

  • Christy Gillmore

    July 31, 2011


    Wow Kristen, that is awful. Do you know any more details about what happened? Do any Hakijamii staff know why they were having elections, especially this close to when the railway evictions are supposed to take place? Have you met and talked with members of Ngazi Ya Chini? Samson Ochieng Ooto was the chairman while we were there..have you spoken with him?

    • Kristen Maryn

      August 1, 2011


      Christy – I had written an email the week before asking whether it was wise to upset the organization three months before construction is slated to start. The response I received was that many members of the organization had been dissatisfied for a while, and the organization had become largely inoperable. There are rumors as to what happened and who instigated, but since I wasn’t there, I won’t indulge any of the hearsay. So it seems like it might go largely unnoticed. I am also not sure the outcome of the election…even before this, Ochieng has been hard to get a hold of.

      Julia – It’s pretty crazy when the government is in murky waters – particularly for development. How can the goal be to improve the country (large publicity event or railroad infrastructure or anything) when so many citizens are being harmed in the process? The “look the other way” solution can only be applied for so long…let’s hope, at least.

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