The paper tries to analyse the problems facing the growth of this unplanned city and tries to formulate measures whereby these can be tackled so as to make it more progressive and habitable.
Nairobi is a city that faces a major influx of refugees moving into its urban areas. Interestingly, this migration pattern into Nairobi is not only for economic opportunities. Apart from economic migrants, the country also has hordes of people who move out of camps providing assistance to them, as the quality of aid is very low. Regarding this, it would be worth observing that whereas the period 1997 - 2001 was characterised by a 24 percent decline in the global refugee population compared to the pervious five years, the share of refugee from Africa rose from 20 to 45 percent during the same period. Also, as the demographic status of refugees varies across regions, and even within countries, it is dependent on the normative value of the refugees themselves. By end of 2001, Kenya was home to over a quarter of a million refugees. And out of this, almost about 50% of the refugees were aged above 18 years while about 45% of the total population were female. These refugees including those in urban areas posed a challenge not only to the government, but also to the indigenous populations. The host country saw them as an imposing and alarming threat to their own sovereignty, security and global stability.
The governmental failure to unify the various clans and tribes of the city along with the influx of the refugees is inter-related to the demographics of the inter ethnic relations of the city. Research involving the various tribes such as the Luyia, Kuria, Suba, Luo, Maasai, or the Kalenjin and their inter racial interactions has shown that the relation of these refugees with the people, as well as the relation within the tribes themselves is pretty complicated. What makes it more dangerous is the existence of separate political affiliations of ethnically defined groups to political parties in the multi-party system of Kenya. Even with the coming of self governance, the colonial power is still considered to be an important influence on ethnic identification. Among the Luo, Maasai and their Bantu neighbours, there is a cultural gradient or a culture prestige gradient with the Nilotes at the upper end, and this status differentiation in several cases is stabilised by the appointment of chiefs from high status groups by the colonial power.
This intra racial differentiation leads to a process of social exclusion. This, on the other hand, is also propagated by what has been termed as the 'filtering down process' of educational facilities being provided to the people of the different groups: broadly speaking the 'haves and the have nots'. Put in a nut shell, the educational policy in Kenya is such that it is generally the children from educated and well to do parents who can pursue higher education.
The process of filtering down ensures that even when the government adopts a policy of educational expansion, it fails to lead to intergenerational job mobility. As Hazlewood puts it,
the much greater expansion of secondary education, drawing in many more, and a much higher proportion, of the children of the uneducated in Kenya than in Tanzania, has made access to secondary educatio