By Boniface Msangi
Drama ensued at the County Assembly of Mombasa on Tuesday afternoon, when a section of residents “gifted” clerk Salim Juma human faeces, used sanitary pads and soiled diapers.
The angry protesters were expressing their disappointment at the lack of enough toilets in public places and slums in Mombasa County.
The human waste, diapers and sanitary towels were well-wrapped in a box and addressed to the clerk.
Not knowing what the gift pack contained, County Assembly clerk, Salim Juma, received it on behalf of the county’s MCAs.
“We hope this will serve as a constant reminder to the MCAs on the need to respect, protect and craft policies that observe human rights,” said William Oduor, a member of Rapid Response Team (RRT) that “put together” the “gift pack”.
It was actually Oduor who presented the “gift” to Juma on Tuesday afternoon.
Oduor revealed that the faeces, sanitary pads and diapers were pooled from residents of Muoroto and Bangladesh slums.
The residents said it was unfortunate that the globe was marking the World Toilet Day on November 19, yet they have no toilets to relieve themselves in.
“We are forced to defecate in the open, or use ‘flying toilets’,” said a resident.
The slum dwellers had earlier Tuesday staged a peaceful demonstration from the two slums to the County Assembly of Mombasa while carrying the packaged “gift”.
“These MCAs ignore us because we are living in the slums,” they chanted.
Oduor alleged that only one public toilet serves at least 10, 000 people inhabiting the two slums.
“As soon as we gave them our votes in 2017, our area MCAs forgot about us. Today, we ask them to receive the gift so that it reminds them of the real situation on the ground,” said Oduor.
“I prefer answering the long call of nature on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Personally, I don’t use the flying toilets because I wouldn’t know who the poop will fall on,” said Oduor, adding: “But my neighbours prefer using the ‘flying’ toilet.”
“Next time, we will drive a truck full of faeces to the County Assembly and lock the premises for a whole day so that the MCAs can be choked by the smell. That will teach them a valuable lesson on respecting the rights of people,” said another slum dweller, Mariam Zame.
According to Zame, the entire Mombasa County has only three public toilets operated by private businesspeople.
“We want the county government to build more toilets to serve the increased population,” she said.
Maria Abdalla, a Bangladesh slum resident, claimed that several women in the area have been raped, and sexually harassed while looking for toilets to relieve themselves.