Leaders abandoned us after violent protests, Mathare residents say

Residents gathered at Mathare Social Hall, led by Rahma Wako, accused Azimio politicians of exploiting their poverty for personal gain.

"It's been a week since the last demonstration in which our children were teargassed. Many of them are still injured, and no political leader has come to find out what we went through," said Wako.

She warned leaders not to exploit the poor for their selfish political gain.

"None of the protests were witnessed in their neighbourhoods, where politicians from both sides of the political divide reside. None of their children were lying in the cold slabs of the mortuary, with poor parents unable to provide a decent burial," she said.

Wako accused President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga of not considering the people living in informal settlements.

"We don't want them to exploit our plight in the slums by staging demonstrations. This is not a football pitch where teams compete against one another. Why don't they take their wars to their leafy suburbs?" Wako said.

She added that the high cost of living has not been addressed, despite the fact that Ruto and Raila have agreed to talk.

"The real issues of high living costs and food prices have not been put on the table for negotiation. This cannot go unchallenged while poor children continue to be collateral damage for selfish politicians who ride on the realities of the working masses to advance their selfish agenda," she said.

Eunice Kalegi, a mother of four who is recovering from a deep panga cut on her hand, is grateful to be alive after goons took advantage of the situation and attacked her family after the protests ended in the evening.

She said the gang demanded money and valuables. Her 17-year-old daughter had her leg slashed.

"They arrived at 7pm following the demonstration demanding money and valuables. When we refused to give in, they unleashed their rage on us with pangas," Kalegi said.

Phebe Awour said her two-month-old daughter Fabrigas Zani escaped with minor injuries after a tear gas canister exploded in their room in Mathare Namba 10.

"We were inside the house when police lobbed tear gas into the girl's sleeping room through an open door. Fortunately, it rolled to the ground after hitting her before exploding," she said.

Haki Africa CEO Hussein Khalid said no meaningful talks will take place unless ordinary citizens are involved.

"We want to see them involving the common people on the negotiation table for us to take them seriously. The negotiation must be centred on the needs of the mwananchi."