Mlango Kubwa, a small sub-slum market located along Juja Road just after Pangani Girls High School is a part of the expansive Mathare Slum. Mlango Kubwa is a small place but what goes on within is bigger than its size.
Mlango Kubwa is home to one of the youngest vicious and upcoming cartels who have formed small groups that have taken upon themselves to determine and impose ‘taxes’ on residents for ‘services’ rendered and they are making millions every month.
Living on sex, drugs, and violence, the young cartels of Mlango Kubwa, if the police will not step in to stop them, will soon be one of the most dangerous, money-hungry and violent prone groups that will be hard to control.
At Mlango Kubwa, there are two types of ‘taxes’ or ‘levies’ that every household and business premise has to pay, failure to which attracts a serious ‘penalty’ of being clobbered to death. It is happening but security organs will tell you that there is nothing like that in that area. In fact, they will tell you that it is one of the most peaceful places in Nairobi but woe unto you if you will believe them.
First, every household or let us just say every ‘door’ has to pay between 150 to 200 shillings for the ‘environment.’ There is a gang that has put upon themselves as the ‘sole’ collectors of garbage from buildings with every room having to cough out between 150 to 200 shillings per month. Let us see how much these young cartels make per month:
There are more than 8000 houses at Mlango Kubwa (both residential and business premises)
Take the total number of houses and multiply it with the minimum amount of 150 shillings.
In total, the group makes a whole 1.2 million shillings a month.
What about in a year? That is 1.2 multiply by 12 and this gives 14.4 million shillings.
Let us forget about the 1.2 million and just say that the group makes one million shillings a month. Word has it that this money goes in the pockets of a few individuals, the small gods, around 50 of them who only sit and send the young ‘chokoras’ (street children) to collect the garbage at a fee of 100 shillings a month.
This implies that in terms of costing, these young cartels only use less than 10,000 shillings for collections and swallow the rest. What is more disturbing is that the role to collect and dispose garbage lies within the jurisdiction of the County Government of Nairobi because the house owners pay their taxes and rates to the County Government and the County Government is expected to render such services as garbage collection, but no sir, they do none of it.
The second type of “tax” levied by gangs at Mlango Kubwa is known as “security.” The gangs often collect cash from business people as well as other residents for ‘protection’.
Every house has to pay 50 shillings every month without fail to the leaders of the groups who collect the ‘tax’ while businesses pay between 200 to 300 shillings per month. Those who cannot pay risk their houses being broken into and their businesses being robbed and even being attacked and injured.
From the mandatory monthly dues alone, the gangs are making hundreds of thousands of shillings without dropping a sweat as the common residents continue to suffer under their reign of terror.