Nairobi News


Mlango Kubwa: The den of muggings, backstreet liquor and cheap sex

Mary sits outside her iron sheet house located at Mlango Kubwa area, beside the social hall, where she survives by selling backstreet liquor, a business she has done for over a decade now.

It is the house she shares with her daughter Amina, it’s where she raised her actually, and she does not plan to relocate anytime soon.

Amina dropped out of Form One two years ago after getting pregnant. She is still a minor but helps her mother in the alcohol business.

“At first I was working at a pub located along Park Road, but when it was closed I decided to start a small spirits business here,” Mary said.


Each morning, groups of men knock at her door. They are her usual customers who not only buy alcohol but also pay for quick sex.

The customers refer to the alcohol as ‘makali’.

“Tupatie makali ituchangamshe, kama mimi najiskia kutoa lock,” a man who is in a company of four tells her.

She takes some time in the house but finally walks out carrying glasses and a glass bottle. Holding her dress from behind is a toddler who follows her closely.

As the men are enjoying their drinks, Mary’s daughter Amina peeps through the door and one of the men walks into the house and locks the door behind him.

A few minutes later, the man walks out of the house and joins the rest. Amina also joins them.

As soon as the two are seated, Mary mother shoots up and walks into the house followed closely by another men.

“Hivi ndio sisi huishi hapa, life imekuwa ngumu hakuna kazi na unaona niko na mtoto mdogo,” Amina told this reporter as she enjoys her drink.

This is just one of the several iron sheet houses in Mlango Kubwa where men enjoy backstreet liquor and cheap sex.

The women charge between Sh50 and Sh100 for sex. Customers can negotiate for unprotected sex, but longtime customers enjoy fairer rates.


Mary’s neighbors are engaged in the same business, peak hours start from early morning to late night.

Asked where they get their liquor supplies from, Amina said that they usually buy it in wholesale from a premise in Dandora. Illegal alcohol plants have been known to operate in Dandora.

The iron sheet house are tucked beneath towering flats where tenants live in single rooms.

One resident, John, who has stayed in the area for over five years, said that he has been mugged severally outside the shanties.

“They usually ask one to stop or even follow you from behind before they attack you. Nothing is being done to ensure that this stops,” he told Nairobi News.

He suspects the men who frequent the sex and alcohol dens to be behind the muggings.

“Where do they get the money from? The same people are always there on a daily basis. Most of them are young, how do they manage to afford the drinks?” he posed.

For two days, this reporter did not spot a police officer patrolling the neighborhood.

Residents claimed the daring policemen who used to storm such places have all been transferred.


Mlango Kubwa area, according to police, is one of the hot spots associated with armed robbers. Four armed robbers have been shot dead in the area by police in the last six months.

A report compiled by the Nairobi Region Security Research and Information Centre (SRIC), Mlango Kubwa is one of the the five hot spots of crime in the capital city.

The report said some of the common crimes in the area include snatching of car accessories like side mirrors, assault, armed robbery, drug peddling, kidnapping, mugging and break-ins.