EXPLAINER: Kibra constituency at a glance

In Summary

•  Scholars and government officials have often disputed the depiction of Kibra as “the largest slum in Africa.”

• According to the 2019 Census, there are 94,199 males and 91,569 females. Intersex people account for nine people.

Kibra voters will troop to polling stations on Thursday to elect their MP in a by-election that has witnessed intense campaigns.

Here are notable facts and figures about the constituency that covers Kenya’s largest slum:

Kibra is a Nubian word meaning forest or jungle. The Nubian Rights Forum, a civil society organisation, says the community came to Kenya from Sudan, brought mostly as soldiers by the British colonial government to protect the colony from being taken over by Germans.

After the Second World War, the Nubians were allocated forestland south of Nairobi in what is today Kibra. But members of the community also settled in other parts of Kenya. Today, the minority group constitutes about 15 per cent of the Kibra population but has negligible political weight.

 Kibra is an over-crowed shanty town that is paraded as the face of Kenyan poverty in many reports.

 It is the destination of NGOs and foreign superstars interested in what has been described as “poverty tourism”.

 Scholars and government officials have often disputed the depiction of Kibra as “the largest slum in Africa.”

 A 2011 study estimated the population of the slum at 200,000 residents, not the 700,000 to 1 million figures quoted often at the time.

A 2015 report by the Auditor General says the population of Kibra is between 350,000 and 500,000.

The Census results released on Tuesday put Kibra residents at 185,777. There are 94,199 males and 91,569 females. Intersex people account for nine people.

 

 Most residents of Kibra live in shacks.

The auditor’s report says the average size of a shack is 12ftx2ft made of mud walls screened with concrete, a corrugated tin roof and a dirt or concrete floor. The shack may house up to eight people.

 The slum is characterised by poor housing, a high rate of youth unemployment, gangs, drugs and substance abuse among the youth, teenage pregnancy, poor roads, illegal businesses, high levels of insecurity and poor hygiene and sanitation.

 Kibra constituency was created ahead of the 2013 election. The larger Kibera constituency was split to create two, the other being Lang’ata.

 The old Kibera constituency was created in 1963 and its longest-serving MP was ODM party leader Raila Odinga (1992-2013).

 Ken Okoth was the first MP for Kibra. The ODM legislator died in July, occasioning the by-election scheduled for November 7. Commentators consider Kibra an ODM stronghold.

 In a Gazette notice published on October 25, the IEBC said Kibra has 118,658 registered voters in its five wards: Laini Saba(17,455), Lindi (16,688), Makina(25,695), Woodley/ Kenyatta Golf Course (28,066) and Sarang’ombe 30,754.