Activist Boniface Mwangi has backed the recent ban on use of plastic bags but has also voiced his concerns on the proposed penalties that according to him ‘are foolhardy and punitive to the most vulnerable group of people.’
He notes that in the slums, paper bags come in handy as they are not only used to pack food and clothes but are also used as toilets.
”In the slums of Nairobi, plastic bags are not only used to pack food and store clothes, but also as mobile toilets. When you rent a house there, it doesn’t come with a toilet and so every time you need to use a toilet, you have to pay. If you’re a family, using the toilet becomes an expensive affair. To save on costs, families buy plastic bags and use them as toilets,” Boniface says.
The fine for those caught using the plastic bags from the 28 August will be 4 million or a two year jail term, something that a majority of Kenyans can not afford.
In his lengthy social media post, Boniface notes that while the rich and corrupt get away with capital offenses with only a slap on the wrist, the poor will only suffer even more.
”If you’re rich and accused of grand corruption, drug dealing, rape, or even murder, and you run for public office, chances are that you will be elected,” the human rights activist alluded.
He suggested that government deals with employers who do not pay their workers the minimum wages instead of coming down on the common Kenyan.
”Kenya’s monthly minimum wage is Sh13,000 ($130), but we know of many people who earn about Sh4,000 ($40) or less in this country. We need punitive laws to deal with employers whose profits allow them to pay their employees well, yet they don’t even pay them the minimum wage.”
Mwangi was vying for the Starehe parliamentary seat on a Ukweli party ticket but lost to Singer Jaguar.
He, according to Kenyans introduced a new way of politicking.
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