A woman 38, is reeling from the economic effects of COVID-19
scourge in the country which has seen her being kicked out of her bedsitter
house in Umoja over Sh5000 house rent arrears.
Ann Mureithi, a single mother of one, a daughter aged ten
years used to live in abed sitter at Umoja 3 Estate near Kwa Maji stage but now
spends the nights at the apartment corridors opposite Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital
with her daughter after failing to raise the Sh5000 rent for April.
Ann's predicament began last month (on March 2020) when the
company in which she was working in at Industrial area declared some workers
redundant over the effects of coronavirus. Most of the workers affected were
those on a casual basis.
After being dismissed from her place of work with only the
month's salary, she then embarked on mitumba hawking business whereby she could
collect the stock from Gikomba or Easley markets and hawk them to buyers at
random. She could not pay her April rent as she had used the money as capital
for her new business. She had also projected the business to begin making
positive earnings within a short while and be in a position of paying for her
house rent arrears.
"Although I could not afford to pay rent using this
business, the business was not bad off at first as it enabled me to put food on
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However, things took a completely different turn after the
mitumba business was outlawed, plus Gikomba and Easley markets being closed
"Since the mitumba business was closed and the markets
at Gikomba and Easley, I had no option but to abandon the business. I no longer
had the money for food or anything; the landlord was demanding his monthly
rent." The landlord just came and closed his house, locking my daughter
outside and me. Despite pleading with him to allow me to recover myself, then I
will clear the bills; my cries fell on deaf ears. I had no otherwise but to
spend the nights on the apartment corridors under the cold."
Ms Ann claimed that she has a number of relatives in
Nairobi, but none is willing to accommodate her, especially during this time.
She also tried contacting the area member of parliament,
Honorable George Theuri, who told her to her face that he doesn't deal with
"Yes, I have relatives, but they all have their own
issues to deal with, and none is willing to assist me. I have even tried
contacting the area MP over my predicament to no avail."
The Kenyan government has not said much on the issue of
rents at this time when citizens are finding it hard even to put food on the