Making Soweto a better place for us all to Live
Success Story from Mlimani Community Driven Development Committee (MCDDC)
Moi’s bridge is a small town that has its roots both in Uasin Gishu county, Trans Nzoia and Kakamega counties converging at a then busy market. It’s a town that has since grown from a small agricultural center now the third largest National cereals and produce board NCPB town in East Africa and largest in the country playing a significant food security role as it’s often called as ‘bread basket’ of Kenya.
The flip side of Moi’s bridge town is silent marginalization of sections of areas with close proximity to town brought about by successive regimes hence the rebirth of a terrible village called ‘’SOWETO’’ a resemblance to a famous village in down town South Africa’s Johannesburg. Soweto of Mois’bridge is a center of all sorts of drugs, illegal trade, extreme violence and outright neglect by government of key services. Some of the drugs peddled here are Donzi, Shash, Taptap, Bhang, Chang’aa, Super, Regular, Busaah, ya Sukari, D5, Molah and many others. Life in Soweto proves to be very difficult especially for teenagers who hardly go or even finish school and teenage pregnancy and indulgence in drugs is a common way of life. Those who have gone for higher learning return back to the village to drugs and live a wasted life. One such is young graduate in Biochemical science from a leading university in Kenya Erid Sirenje, wallowing in the drug net of Soweto. Several cases of insecurity happen at this place where the famous naughty murderer the late Mr. Wanjala who murdered Stacy Achieng Nabiso on the night of December 3, 2019 as per daily Nation newspaper over a domestic quarrel . Several policemen while on duty and teenagers have lost their lives in the cases of drugs and illicit brew.
MCDDC} after getting their basic training on nonviolence approaches by AfriNov came up with a goal of “Making Soweto a better place for us all to live”.
MCDDC chose strategies of listening to drinkers, sellers, transporters, importers, brokers, leaders from the local churches around, administration leaders from the national and country government and organized groups.
On their mission, MCDDC beyond their expectations going to listen to youths who are most affected by drugs, were received with great joy though with suspicion on their mission but as the discussion went on, as there has never been a friendly and listening space about their plight in Soweto. They discovered that youths have been yearning for rehabilitation so as to save their lives and have an alternative way for transformation. The principle that says “everybody is capable of change and nobody has the monopoly of the truth”, in nonviolence became a reality and true.
After lengthy discussions, some of the addicts accepted their conditions and became willing to save their lives and undergo behavioral change program while the drug sellers testified to have ruined people who would have been prominent in that community but still as sellers’ they haven’t gained any profit instead they have grown poorer than what they were before.
Lack of support for establishing alternative sources of income to the reformers.
“We have managed to do several successful campaigns against Drugs and substance abuse across the county in full support by AfriNov and in cooperation with the community members we managed to save the lives of two young men who had almost run mad due to excessive use of drugs and reduction of the habit is observed in some areas in the community..’’ reports Collins
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