When the government initiated a social responsibility program dubbed ‘nyumba kumi’,
some people understood the concept but many were reluctant to accept it citing
infringement of personal space.
It was a program that was modeled with the responsibility of shared security in mind. Areas
were divided according to estates, plots, and even villages. These localities had to create a
group with a leader and they would all know one another; background, they work/ business
and their contacts. Consequently, their leaders would liaise with government administration
and security organs.
These initiatives have been successful where they were introduced and
followed. They have helped in curbing crimes and help the government in service delivery
especially in cases of a disaster like fires. It has also helped landlords to know their tenants
and vice versa.
The program has had its challenges especially in urban areas and in gated communities
where social interactions are minimal. People in towns interact less with their neighbours
than people in rural areas.
The recent terror attack at Dusit Hotel revealed some mistakes that would’ve been avoided
if the ‘nyumba kumi’ initiative was still active in Muchatha estate. Ali Salim Gichunge, one of
the perpetrators, lived in the Kiambu estate. Neighbours didn’t care much who he was nor
As the security organs are busy doing their work to protect Kenya, citizens too have an
obligation to live a responsible life. Knowing a few details about your neighbour does not
only help in keeping the country safe but yourself as well. If you lived in the same plot with a
killer, for instance, it is highly likely that you will be among the first victims. Security starts