Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

SENSELESS RULES. Nairobi City County’s new traffic marshals should stop coming up with unreasonable demands, says Jeff Irungu. In the recent past, “no matatu tout can dare let a passenger alight, especially along the Tom Mboya stretch”. While having designated points to drop off and pick up passengers is fine, Patrick simply cannot understand why people should not be allowed to alight, especially when there is a gridlock. “They would rather one gets late sitting in the jam than alight.” His contact is irungujeff@yahoo[email protected]

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BEYOND REPAIR. They do not make Bata shoes as good as the ones they used to manufacture at their Limuru factory some years ago, remarks Sam Pirbhai. In June, Sam bought a pair of industrial shoes and noticed a day later that the holes for threading in shoe laces were defective. He returned the pair to the Sarit Centre branch at Westlands, Nairobi, and it was replaced. But a few months’ later, that pair is torn beyond repair. “Industrial shoes are supposed to last at least two years.” His contact is [email protected]

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PERENNIAL DRY TAPS. A resident of the posh Nyali neighbourhood in Mombasa, Harish Shah, has only one regret: perennial water shortage. His residence on Links Road has not had any tap water for nearly two years, and yet the local water company continues sending estimated bills to him. Worse, he adds, is the sharp rise in bills from Sh611.95 in January to Sh5,523.95. Mombasa Water and Sanitation Company, he charges, does not seem bothered. His account is No, MAJ/77574716211 and his contact, Tel 0733717381.

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WHY THE LEVY? Safaricom subscriber Abdulrahman Ogutu Osemo, writing from Malakisi in western Kenya, makes a serious allegation the firm should shed some light on. He claims that every time he buys airtime through M-Pesa, a shilling worth of his airtime is deducted though there has been no explanation as to whether this is a transaction fee or not. Abdulrahman wants an assurance from Safaricom that “this is not a charge that was meant to go undetected by customers”. His contact is [email protected]

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HARD WATER. With boreholes being sunk around the country, soap manufacturers should consider introducing a product that works effectively in hard water, urges Willis Aguko. The special hard water soap, he adds, should be sold for use, especially in the remote arid and semi-arid areas, and in other areas where water from boreholes tends to be rather salty. Talking from experience, perhaps, Willis says washing clothes with ordinary soap using hard water is not an easy task. His contact is [email protected]

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WELL DONE. The more you use electricity, the more you are charged for it, says Maureen Ratemo, an environmental scientist at Nema, praising Kenya Power’s introduction of prepaid meters as a means of promoting the use of green energy. Each prepaid meter, she explains, has a limit. “You will recall that President Kenyatta was recently in New York to attend the UN General Assembly and spoke on the need to reduce our country’s carbon footprint. Kudos, Kenya Power!” Her contact is [email protected]

Have a saving day, won’t you!
E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax 2213946

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
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END THIS DARKNESS. The good news about the launch of a new geothermal unit at Olkaria, near Naivasha, to ease the electricity supply shortfall has, ironically, not brought any relief to the residents of the Donholm suburb in Nairob’s Eastlands, says Erastus Macharia. In fact, as if to mock the people, the same day the power generating project was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta, “the Donholm residents were in the dark, as usual.” He quips: “It is just crazy!” His contact is [email protected]

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MILITARY DISCTINCTION. The light-coloured boots President Kenyatta wore as part of his uniform as the Commander-in-Chief when he recently officiated at the Kenya Defence Forces’ day, Amos Kiboi explains, have absolutely nothing to do with the Navy, though it is a key segment of the units he leads — the others being the Air Force and the Army. According to Amos, “those were desert combat dress boots”. They are “made from sand-coloured canvas” to protect the wearer from the extreme heat in the desert. His contact is [email protected]

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PAIN AND AGONY. Residents of Valley View and Sheshe Gardens, off Mombasa Road, between Mlolongo and Athi River in Machakos County, are bearing the brunt of the ugly side of the sand business, remarks Reuben Kongo. The only access road to the 450 units, he adds, has been largely covered by mounds of sand on both sides. Their complaints to the county government, he moans, have not yet yielded a response, but with the current rains, water now flows into the two estates. “Who will end our pain and agony?” His contact is reuben.[email protected]

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ARE WE DIGITAL? Nakuru County may gloat over being the first to initiate a project to provide free Wi-Fi services to the residents, but it is far from the digital administration it purports to be, says Mark Kariuki. “Operations in most of the sections are very analogue,” adds Mark, who had the misfortune of having his car clamped for failing to pay the parking fee. At the county offices, he was given a chit to pay the fine at the bank and take it to the governor’s office for endorsement and take it back to have his car unclamped. His contact is [email protected]

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WHAT A SHAME! Low-cost airline Jambojet may be popular because of its affordable fares, but it needs to up its game, says Lilly Koech. On October 4, Lilly was meant to fly from Eldoret to Nairobi at 8am. She arrived at the airport at 7.09am and was told the flight was full. It left at 7.30am. On asking to be booked on the evening flight, she was told to cough up an extra Sh5,500. She was also not impressed with the attitude of the staff. “What happened to customer satisfaction?” His contact is [email protected]

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SPIRITUAL HONOUR. Cartoonist Gado’s presentation of the after-life, in which he had Chinua Achebe and Nelson Mandela welcoming Prof Ali Mazrui on his arrival on the other side, though a befitting honour to the scholar, who died recently, was inaccurate, says Thomas Yebei. The Bible, he adds, says that “when we die we assume a bodily form that is neither young nor old and one that does not age”. The depiction of three old men, Thomas claims, contradicts the teachings of the scriptures. His contact is [email protected]

Have a youthful day, won’t you!
E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The cutting edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

ABETTING TERRORISM. A Kenyan in the United States, Paul Otieno, is alarmed at a UN report that accuses the Kenya Defence Forces of abetting terrorist group Al-Shabaab’s charcoal exports through Kismayu Port. The revenue generated from the illicit trade, he adds, is used to buy assault weapons, grenades, and IEDs and to train and pay the terrorists. “Yes, pay them, for terrorism is not a volunteer activity. The result is dead and maimed Kenyan security personnel and innocent civilians.” His contact is [email protected]

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WRONG MESSAGE. A new National Council for Population and Development advertisement on family planning may have been well-intended, but could be just stigmatising and humiliating certain professions, remarks Robert Kimutai. The humour injected into the advert, he adds, could easily be seen as encouraging people to laugh at others for their perceived incompetence instead of boosting family planning. It features a couple that tries to justify having many children. His contact is [email protected]

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TRAFFIC NIGHMARE. Travelling from Nairobi’s city centre to the Eastlands along Jogoo Road is a nightmare that is not going to end soon, moans Samm Siloya. “The cost in terms of manpower and fuel runs into millions of shillings every day. We should emulate China, as we are now looking East, and create a bicycle lane. This will also help curb the motorcycle menace as Nairobians will be able to ride to and from work. Sometimes the solution is not as difficult as it seems.” His contact is [email protected]

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SORT THIS OUT, AIRTEL. Airtel customer Wanja Mburugu is frustrated, having lost 8,600 “Zawadi” (customer loyalty) points without any explanation from the management despite her efforts to follow up the matter with customer care section. At some point, she had been assured that once the upgrading of the system was completed, the points would be restored. Nothing happened and she has been engaged in a cat-and-house game since then. “They should give me what is rightfully mine.” Her contact is [email protected]

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GIVES US WATER. What is happening to the water supply to the residents of Joseph Kang’ethe Road in Woodley Estate, Nairobi? asks Natasha Wangui. Whereas other parts of the estate get water, taps in her neighbourhood remain dry and yet bills arrive promptly every month from the Nairobi Water Company. Reminding the water firm of the obvious fact that “water is life”, Natasha is demanding that the water shortage hitch be sorted out immediately. Her account number is 1186257 and her contact, [email protected]

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NEW WEAPON. Talk of the possibility of someone sending a swarm of bees to attack other people in some parts of Kenya has caught X.N. Iraki’s attention. Says he: “If that is true then the engineers and defence experts should stop wasting their time designing better drones. They should just send the bees, as they can even kill. I would like to meet or get the contact of the bee sender. I have a few enemies I would want to intimidate using bees. What is the rental fee for these insects? Are wasps available, too?

Have a swarming day, won’t you!
E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

THE STANDARD BRIBE? The mention of a Sh3,000 bribe allegedly demanded by a senior police officer who recently impounded Zulikar Jamal’s pick-up, rings a bell, says Hellen Waikunu, who says she has also been a victim of police harassment in Nairobi and more than once. She adds: “In the past six months, I have been arrested twice, and both times, they asked for a Sh3,000 bribe. It seems as if they have set this as the base bribe price.” If the police bosses are interested in the details, her contact is [email protected]

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HAPPY AT LAST. A prominent Nairobi surgeon who flew KLM to London via Amsterdam in July did not get the promised ‘Comfort Seats’, for him and his wife, which he had paid for well in advance. And to add insult to injury, his duty-free alcohol was confiscated at Schiphol Airport, “in an extremely rude manner”. But the doctor is now pleased to report that the airline’s customer care “profusely apologised to him on his return” and refunded the money he had paid for the special seats and also for the duty-free items.

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ITS NOT VANITY. Having the very last word in the debate on the “pricey models” with lights switched on during the day which drive Mathew Mwangi crazy, Paul Otieno says the installation of the daytime running lights on motor vehicles is “about visibility and not vanity”. All the new models of cars, he adds, are fitted with the road safety measure which operates automatically, “but they ought not be so bright as to distract oncoming drivers”. His contact is [email protected]

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FRUSTRATED. The obscene profits being made from M-Pesa services seem to have gone into the heads of some of the supervisors, claims Andrew Mbugua, particularly upset with those operating in the Ngara area of Nairobi. He says new agents are not being trained and are never issued with banners. Since June, when he opened his agency, he has never been visited by his supervisor who won’t even pick up his calls. “You can imagine the frustration,” yells Andrew, whose contact is [email protected]

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ENFORCE AXLE LORD LIMITS. The Transport Ministry must strictly enforce weight controls on the roads, says Diana D’Souza, who is disappointed that “every time there is talk about axle weight limits, a few filthy rich transporters kick up a fuss and the government cows down”. As a result, numerous overloaded trucks continue to literally crawl at 10kph, while wrecking roads. Her contact is [email protected]

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IT'S A CONTRADICTION. The appointment of Cabinet secretaries had to be endorsed by Parliament after being nominated by the President, notes Andayi Mushenye, who wonders why the same National Assembly should now be barred from summoning them. He adds: “If President Uhuru Kenyatta and his government are now saying the doctrine of separation of powers prevents this, aren’t they violating the same doctrine by telling Parliament who to summon or not to summon?” His contact is [email protected]

Have a logical day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Cutting Edge- Monday October 20, 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

STUDY ZANZIBAR: Mombasa County government has to come up with new strategies to improve our public recreation places to win more tourists. The county has been doing the same thing every day; clean up exercises and putting up litter bins which are not really improving anything. They should borrow a leaf from neighbouring Zanzibar. I recently visited the island on holiday and was impressed with their public the recreation place called Forodhani. Tourist were there enjoying the breeze. MCAs should tour the place.
MARY MTAWA, Mombasa

SEPARATION OF POWERS: President Kenyatta recently asked the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga to look into some rulings that the courts had made which were bringing about confusion.

However, we need to dig deeper and ask ourselves where the source of the problem is. I think the Senate and Parliament ought to look afresh at the way they have been doing things. The Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary are headed by reasonable people and if each wing does its work guided by reason, everything will be well.

GITHUKU MUNGAI, Nairobi

EXCLUSIVE DAY: Today is Mashujaa Day, the day we celebrate some few people who we believe liberated this country. We say Kenya a sovereign state. But to me and to most Kenyans, there’s nothing to celebrate. Corruption is still rampant and enriches a few. Only the elite is celebrating the day preserved for the them to gather and enjoy what they’ve gathered, collected and robbed. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Those celebrating this day are the same people who make us fight every year.

JUSTIN N. NKARANGA, Mombasa

TRIBELESS MAZRUI: One of the greatest scholars in Kenya passed on this week. I have no doubt that anyone who has achieved basic Kenyan education knows Prof Mazrui.

Mazrui has been mourned with Kenyans of all walks of life and all the mourners have had almost the same message! He was an upright thinking human being who existed.

Mazrui comes from Kenyan Coast; a place that is rich in culture and has maintained it to date! I have no doubt that Mazrui respected his culture and that is why in his will he had insisted to be buried in the family graveyard. One this fascinates me! It is not only the Coast people who have mourned Mazrui! He has been mourned by everyone and for the last few days, his death has become a unifying factor! Mazrui didn’t capitalize on his tribe at all. He didn’t seek favours from his tribesmen! This is a great quality that Kenyan scholars and those aspiring to scholars need to pick and pass it to future generations.

Majority of modern intellectuals unlike Mazrui base their arguments on tribe. This can be evidenced from opinionates in newspapers and talk shows in our radio stations and televisions whose panelists are scholars. They argue and base their scholastic researches on tribe! May the good spirit of Mazrui be upon such scholars that they may look at things in a better way regardless of their tribes!

RIP Mazrui. You changed the world!

JULIUS MATEI MOGA, Nakuru

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

TEACHER'S DEMANDS RIDICULOUS. Some of the 37 demands by the teachers’ unions are simply outrageous, says Paul Otieno. What they expect the taxpayers to foot, and, which have flabbergasted him, he adds, include “entertainment, and children’s education allowances”. Others are car and motorcycle mileage claims. “The MCAs, MPs, doctors, university lecturers, civil servants and now, teachers, are treating the Exchequer like their own piggy bank, but do not want to be held accountable for their low standards.” His contact is [email protected]

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VANITY OF VANITIES. Nothing puts off Mathew Mwangi more than drivers with their headlights on during daytime. This, he says, is another of the peculiar habits of Kenyans, “especially the owners of some pricey models”. He poses: “Of what use is it having headlights or parking lights on during the day? Isn’t this just a way to show off your high-class vehicles or is it meant to warn that a rich fellow is coming through?” According to him, pedestrians might notice the car, but not the person inside, “so this vanity is pointless”.

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POLICE HARASSMENT. Traffic police in Nairobi’s Industrial Area have been harassing motorists, charges Zulikar Jamal. His pick-up was recently detained by a senior officer who claimed its body “was too high”, and yet this is determined by the Motor Vehicle Inspection Unit using two formulas — 1.5 times the wheelbase or 100cm from the cabin being the highest point. His is five centimetres shorter than the limit, but the “super cop could measure it with his naked eyes and demand a Sh3,000 bribe”. For the details, his contact is [email protected]

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MILITARY ATTIRE IMPRESSIVE. The military attire President Kenyatta has lately taken a liking for makes him look “regal, standing right, as he salutes” his juniors as the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, remarks Jasper Ouma. However, Jasper is not convinced that the white boots he seems to prefer are part of the uniform. To him, the President seems to be making a fashion statement that is not in tandem with the rest of the military outfit. His contact is [email protected]

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EXPLAIN THIS, CBK. A trader at Embakasi, Nairobi, Daniel W. Mwangi, has noted “something peculiar” in the currency notes he has been handling, and which he hopes the Central Bank of Kenya will shed light on. In the past couple of weeks, most of the notes he has received turned out to have been printed on the same date. The Sh50 and Sh1,000 notes, for instance, were printed on July 16, 2010. “Does the Central Bank send notes from the same batch to specific regions?” His contact is Tel 0723568221.

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CALLING GOOD SAMARITAN. Kudos from D. Ndonga to the woman in a black Toyota Voxy van, who picked him up from the tarmac on Kiambu Road after he suffered an asthmatic attack and ensured he got treatment “in the nick of time”. Though he was “unable to stand, walk or talk, she courageously” carried him to her van and sped off to Karura Dispensary where he was quickly attended to. Says he: “Don’t be cheated. We still have some gallant and selfless Kenyans in our midst.” Ndonga, whose contact is [email protected], hopes to hear from her soon.

Have a caring day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax 2213946

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

HE'S A CLEAN BROOM. There is light at the end of the tunnel since the arrival of new Immigration boss Gordon Kihalangwa, says Sharmi Balla, adding: “I think he is not taking any nonsense from anyone.”

On the issuing of only 1,000 work permits in a week, she believes it is not due to a go-slow but “so that every application is checked to ascertain whether there is no Kenyan who can do the job for which one is being sought”.

The retired Maj-General is, according to her, “the right person to clean up the department”.

Her contact is [email protected]

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JUBILEE FANS PATRIOTIC. Though the Jubilee administration has not lived up to expectations especially on the sharing out of top government positions, George Mburu says the conduct of their supporters has been exemplary.

“At Jubilee rallies, the fans carry the National Flag, unlike their Cord counterparts who often display American flags at their meetings.” George has never understood what message this is intended to convey.

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AVENUE FOR GRAFT. Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli’s suggestion that the owners of private cars must take them for annual inspections starting from next year does not make sense, says Geoffrey Makau, adding that he should have begun by giving “data on how the inspection of commercial vehicles has reduced the carnage on our roads”.

This move, he adds, will only open more avenues for corruption, and he is accusing the Jubilee leadership of needlessly implementing punitive measures “against wananchi in these difficult economic times”.

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ASKARIS CHEATING. Nairobi City County’s cashless system for paying parking fees is being hampered by some staff, proving just how true the adage that “old habits die hard” is, says Kamichore Mutindira.

Parking attendants, he claims, are circumventing the electronic system to collect cash. He hopes Governor Evans Kidero will put his foot down to stop the habit, “which negates the purpose of the online payment”.

He poses: “Why are the staff so keen to collect cash while garbage chokes the city centre?”

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SPEED LIMITS INANE. The criticism of the unrealistic 50kph speed limit on some roads in Nairobi is valid, says Quince Viraj.

Agreeing with columnist Macharia Gaitho that the speed limits do not “make sense in this day and age”, Quince says that on October 13, he witnessed on Mombasa Road, police flagging down motorists for allegedly exceeding the 50kph speed limit.

The result was a traffic tailback for several kilometres. “Imagine the delay! For God’s sake, let us stop this insanity.”

His contact is [email protected]

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PUT UP PROPER SIGNS. Section 42 (3) of the Traffic Act, Dr M. K. Adalja says, makes it mandatory to erect speed limit signs on roads.

He cannot help faulting traffic police and National Transport Safety Authority officials who have been arresting motorists for exceeding speed limits in the absence of such signs, which he terms illegal.

“Motoring organisations, like the Automobile Association, should take them to court for the unlawful prosecution of motorists,” he pleads.

His contact is [email protected]

Have a lawful day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax 2213946

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

LET INSURERS DECIDE. The planned annual inspection of private cars announced by Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli is not possible, says George Mzera. According to him, “this will only promote corruption as certificates will be bought left, right and centre”. The inspection of matatus and other commercial vehicles, he adds, “has never had the desired effect and only benefits the garages”. This task should be left to insurance companies to determine which vehicles to cover.

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OVERCHARGED ON PREPAID. What Kenya Power says in its ads on the billing of consumers with prepaid meters and the reality on the ground are starkly different, says Peter Karuri. On September 1, he got only 78.4 units for a Sh1,500 purchase, and yet he had expected some 84.6 units, according to their calculations for September, as indicated in their advertisement. He is still convinced that pre-paid meter consumers are overcharged and wants statements issued. His contact is [email protected]

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WHY THE ESTIMATES? On August 30, Joshua Angugo Simbowo received a text message in which Kenya Power advised it would be sending electricity bills by SMS or email. On September 2, he got a message informing him that his bill was Sh540, with the current reading being 0, the previous reading 0, and consumption 17kw, amount 55. Though he paid the bill, he adds, he was disappointed to note that this was an estimate. On October 3, he got another SMS saying his bill was Sh296.56. His account is No. 3010488-01 and his contact, Tel. 0733795794.

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MORAL DECADENCE. The recent self-audit in which the IEBC admitted that there were “incurably numerous malfunctions of machines” and suspect behaviour by some commissioners and staff in last year’s General Election, says James Ossome, disproves the claim that the Jubilee coalition “won fair and square”. He adds: “The tyranny of numbers was, in fact, a tyranny of fraud and moral decadence. But bravo to Kenyans for accepting the flawed results and moving on to avoid the chaos witnessed in other countries!”

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SLEEPING IN THE BUSH. The people of Matiandui Village in Kangeta Location of Meru County have taken to sleeping in the bush to avoid being attacked by robbers, says Jackson Ngera. But whenever police officers at Maua Police Station are called, their standard response is that say they don’t have a vehicle. The Administration Police at Kangeta market “are either of no use as they also don’t respond to distress calls or their phones are switched off”. Can Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo bail us out?” His contact is [email protected]

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NOW WE FEEL SAFE. But in Nyeri County, Kimani Mburu is full of praise for the police officers who rush to assist those in danger on receiving a distress call. On September 13, he and his family were attacked at their home by gun-toting gangsters. Neighbours noticed the family was under siege and called Nyeri Police Station. “The response was swift and well-coordinated. The police took about 10 minutes to arrive, but the raiders had sensed danger and vanished. Kudos to the officers. I feel safe with them around here.” His contact is [email protected]

Have an impressive day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Cutting Edge -

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WHY DOES RIVER TURN GREEN? Can Nema explain why Riara River in Kiambu County sometimes turns green? asks Mathew Kibe. The people who live near the river banks suspect there is something fishy going on. But they are even more worried that children, who often play in the river on the way to school, could be exposing themselves to grave risks. Also threatened are livestock. The river, he suspects, is one of the most polluted in the area.

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STRANGE OBSESSION. Kenyans’ obsession with the cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto is dominating discussions on social media, says Samm Siloya, adding that even the news coverage is also mostly about the two national leaders accused of crimes against humanity. But the hype, he adds, is at the expense of other matters of great importance, such as the Ebola threat, and the implications of a possible outbreak in Kenya.

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SWINDLERS AT LARGE. Beware the smartly dressed con woman who works in cahoots with some men in Nakuru’s town centre, warns MH, whose acquaintance lost a cool Sh200,000. The group operates along Kenyatta Avenue and will often be seen plotting their moves at the Westside Mall’s parking. “The woman will approach a stranger, pretending to know them. A man will then appear and ask for directions. In the meantime, the target will begin to feel dizzy and faint as the thieves make away with the victim’s belongings.

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. . . AND STREET FAMILIES, TOO. In Nairobi, there is a group of between 10 and 20 street boys, nay, nasty men, who have been robbing pedestrians in the city centre in broad daylight, reports Leo Kiplangat. They always move in mobs and mostly target women. On October 8, the gang terrorised pedestrians on Kenyatta Avenue. As county askaris seem unable to deal with menace, Leo wants Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo to intervene and arrest the robbers.

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SWEET LEGAL TENDER. In 2012, the Central Bank of Kenya stopped the issuance of sweets in lieu of change in supermarkets, confirming that there were enough coins in circulation, recalls Moses Gathara. He says the motive in the continuation of the sweets-for-change ploy by supermarkets can only be to maximise their sales. “Giving customers sweets at the selling price is technically a sale, too. “If the sweets are now legal tender, can I also give them some when I am short of loose change?”

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ANOTHER PECULIAR HABIT. To the growing list of the peculiar habits of Kenyans, Churchill Amatha wishes to add the use of lifts. “Some people will see you approaching a lift, which is not full. They won’t bother to wait for a minute. Do they want you to scream that they halt, run and put your hand/leg in the door, or dive for the switch for it not to leave you? Why not wait for others to embark. You don’t break a bone by sharing the facility instead of having it return to ground to pick up one person.”

Have a selfless day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Cutting Edge

IDLE CROWDS ALARMING. As the dust settles on the massive welcome accorded to President Kenyatta by his supporters on his return from the ICC in The Hague, William Kamau, says the mere presence of such crowds should alarm the leaders. He adds: “The ruling class should be worried when they see large crowds of young people turning up for their homecoming rallies especially on a week day.” According to him, “this is a warning of disaster-in-waiting and looming conflict between the haves and have-nots”.

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POLITICIANS NEVER LOSE. A most disturbing trend today, Devere Mwangi moans, is the reluctance by politicians to concede defeat in elections and much more. “No politician ever lost an election; they are all rigged out. No politician has ever died of a natural death; they are all killed. No politician had ever accepted he was in the wrong; it’s his rivals’ work. Any evidence against a politician is always hearsay even where he is captured on camera live preaching hate speech. The politician will always have his way.

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UNFAIR NAME CHOICE. At the junction of Jogoo and Rabai roads in Nairobi’s Eastlands, Naivasha Supermarket has enhanced its presence, but Shisanya Majanja is not entirely happy. His grouse is with the naming of the supermarket that has sprung up at the site that used to be occupied by jua kali artisans and petty traders, who were squatting on a church’s land. Says he: “It has been named Naivas Buru Buru and yet it is smack in Makadara. Of course, it is human nature that we associate more with affluence!” His contact is [email protected]

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WRONG NAME. Also on matters of names, Jim Webo wonders why the owner of a funeral home would choose the name, Precious Funeral Services. He says he could not suppress a chuckle on Mombasa Road, Nairobi, the other day, when he saw the word Precious emblazoned in the side of a funeral van. “What is so precious about death, when it is all about mourning the loss of a loved one? Couldn’t they have chosen a name that consoles the bereaved, such as, ‘In the hands of God Funeral Home’, perhaps,” he asks.

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POLICE ROTTEN. For several hours last week, John Kimani claims, he was locked up in the cells at a police station in Nairobi’s Eastlands on trumped-up charges after refusing to pay a bribe. But what disturbed him most, John adds, was the number of young boys “who had been arrested for no reason”. They were only released after their parents coughed up between Sh1,500 and Sh2,000. Also in the police station, John claims, the officers indulge in excessive drinking. His contact is [email protected]

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NGUGI IGNORED AGAIN. Having waited with bated breath for the announcement of the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Shisanya Majanja is still smarting with disappointment as he had hoped novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s turn had finally come. This, he had thought, would bring to two the number of Kenyan Nobel laurettes, including Prof Wangari Maathai. But he has not entirely lost hope. Shisanya says retired marathon star Tegla Loroupe is a future prospect for her peace efforts among the communities on the Kenya-Uganda border.

Have a hopeful day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax 2213946

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

NOTHING REMARKABLE: There was nothing “unprecedented, unthinkable or historical” about President Uhuru Kenyatta handing over power to his deputy William Ruto as he left for The Hague, Joseph Orina says.

He cites an example of American President Ronald Reagan, who handed over to Vice-President George H Bush before undergoing surgery.

“South African President Nelson Mandela also appointed opposition leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi,” states Orina. “Kenya did not invent the wheel.”

His email address is [email protected]

**********

BE SERIOUS, LENKU: W Kirui is surprised Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku asked Nairobi residents to turn up “in large numbers” to welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta on his return from The Hague last Thursday.

“It is ironical as the man in charge of security should know that large gatherings are fodder for terrorists,” he opines. “Secondly, he is breaching the spirit of the Constitution by joining the political league. Partisan CSs should quit their jobs and join politics.”

Kirui’s email address is [email protected]

**********

WHAT ABOUT THE ECONOMY?: Business persons along Mombasa Road, Nairobi, must be counting massive losses.

This is because of the unprecedented, hours-long traffic jam that was witnessed as early as 8 a.m. as President Uhuru Kenyatta made his way from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to his Harambee House office on his return from The Hague, Ruth Gituma says.

She poses: “Do the organisers of such processions ever care about the economy?”

Her email address is [email protected]

**********

FOLLOW THE LAW: There is a law governing acquisition of private property for public benefit, which should be strictly followed in dealing with privately-owned houses holding up completion of the Lang’ata Road expansion project, Gitau Gikonyo advises.

He says it is not owners of the houses who are blocking the project, “but the Treasury and the National Land Commission for failing to pay the agreed compensation”.

“How would Jane Koi feel if her own house were demolished without compensation?” Gikonyo asks.

His email address is [email protected]

**********

FORGOTTEN BACKWATER: Kawangware is a glaring example of Nairobi City County’s ineffectiveness, Thomas Yebei says. The place, he explains, has no sewer system. So raw sewage flows along most roads and heaps of garbage are strewn all over.

“The main road resembles the lunar surface, with deep gulleys,” he states. “Street lighting is non-existent, matatus and buses obey no traffic rules and traffic jams are endemic… Kawangware is a forgotten backwater.”

Yebei’s e-mail address is [email protected]

**********

FULL OF PRAISE: Mombasa resident Derek Onyango Liech is elated about the “first-class service” he received at the Registrar of Persons office at the former Bima Tower building on the island.

He went there to apply for a replacement of his old national identity card. “To my utter surprise, the whole process, from filling the forms to taking the photo, was done in less than 10 minutes,” he says.

“A lot has changed, thanks to the faster and more efficient workers!” Onyango’s email address is [email protected]

**********

BEWARE OF THIEVES: There is a gang operating along Mombasa Road, Nairobi, that pounces on people as they come out of banks and snatches the money they have withdrawn, warns Peter Ochungo.

He says that its members, who often ride in a white car, have been quite active on Airport North Road in Embakasi.

“It seems to have a network that alerts them about those who have made large withdrawals,” he states.

Ochungo says he was targeted after he had just withdrawn money but escaped by God’s grace.

His email address is [email protected]

Have an alert day, won’t you!

[email protected]; PO Box 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax: (20) 2213946

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WORKING NATION? About 100 MPs and some government officials accompanying President Uhuru Kenyatta to The Hague for the status conference on his case in the ICC hardly portrays the picture of the so-called “working nation” Kenyans say they are, remarks Mohammed Fazal.

These leaders, he adds, should be devoting their energies to building “a better Kenya for tomorrow”.

He poses: “Or are they implying that nation building is only for the common mwananchi?”

His contact is [email protected]

**********

CART BEFORE HORSE. Declaring that he is not a lawyer and has no intention of ever becoming one, Isaac Ngure says the manner in which the ICC has handled the case against President Kenyatta is a shame!

The proceedings have left him wondering who was supposed to investigate the case, as the prosecutor keeps on asking for evidence from the Kenya Government.

“It’s strange that they have a suspect and are now looking for evidence, instead of getting evidence and looking for the suspect.” His contact is [email protected]

**********

CITY IN A MESS. The leadership of Nairobi City County deserves an E on Sue Mcphee’s scorecard.

Says she: “I am writing to detail my dissatisfaction with the way the city is being run. On almost a daily basis, we are forced to deal with faeces-throwing parking boys, side mirror thieves at the Westlands roundabout, daily robberies, garbage heaps, traffic jams… the list is endless. May I remind Governor Evans Kidero that he pledged to solve all these issues?”

Her contact is [email protected]

**********

TRAFFIC PAIN. Residents of Nairobi’s Imara Daima neighbourhood have never had it so rough, having to contend daily with a traffic nightmare that has persisted since their road was dug up to lay cables and mounds of soil left a month ago, moans Michelle Wanjiku.

Motorists, she adds, are forced to slow down on the stretch all the way to Riara Springs School.

A short distance of three minutes to the main road by car, now takes over 30 minutes. “Can the county government come to our rescue?” she pleads.

**********

YES, ARM MCAS. Definitely tongue-in-cheek or isn’t it? Frank Laurence says it would have been a good idea to let the members of county assemblies have all the guns they have been clamouring for, a request that has been vehemently rejected by many, who have warned that it would lead to unimaginable mayhem.

Frank adds: “I am in agreement that the MCAs should have guns. After watching the recent Makueni fiasco, I think they will save us the problem of having to eliminate them.”

His contact is [email protected]

Have a calculated day, won’t you!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

POWER CHATGES TOO HIGH. The closure of manufacturing companies and other divestitures are happening because the cost doing business in Kenya is too high, remarks Churchill Amatha. And the answer to the query on what Egypt is doing right that Kenya is not, he explains, has to do with the cost of electricity. “Electricity is so expensive that it accounts for up to 40 per cent of business costs. Reduce these costs and companies will be rushing back. Others are cheap counterfeits because of porous borders and business unfriendly laws.” His contact is [email protected]

***************

VENDORS CHEATING. Distributing a free daily newspaper is not easy, says George Mburu, adding that it is prone to cheating by some vendors who will collude with some people to ensure they gain something from it. “The vendors have created their own clientele from whom they sometimes get tips. Also, some readers will collect more papers from several vendors just because they are free.” The solution, according to George, is “to charge a minimal price to curb this”. His contact is [email protected]

*****************

WASTE OF MONEY. Even after loads of money was spent installing new traffic lights and cameras in Nairobi’s city centre and surrounding areas, Willis Aguko is disappointed that they are rarely ever in use and wonders why. In most cases, he adds, traffic police are always at road junctions controlling vehicles. “Does this mean that the lights are unreliable or just ineffective? And how come nobody has ever been prosecuted having been caught on camera flouting a traffic rule?” His contact is [email protected]

****************

CHARGE UNREASONABLE. Charging passengers a fee on disembarking from ships, including cruise liners, at Mombasa Port is an economically flawed decision, says R. Hood, writing from Nottingham in the UK. “This charge is detrimental to the economy as the passengers could choose to go elsewhere denying Mombasa the revenue.” And his guess is that such visitors will instead opt to go to Dar es Salaam. “No other country in the world charges passengers as they disembark at a port,” adds Hood.

*******************

MOST TOUCHING. Watching QTV’s evening news at his home in Elburgon, Nakuru County, W. Kirui says, there is always “a very touching item on people suffering from strange ailments” who urgently need financial assistance. Kirui, who is grateful to the station for this useful service to the community, wishes more could be done to assist these people. One way, he suggests, is to set up a fund to which “viewers can, in their own small ways, contribute to help these helpless people”.

*****************

MAKE IT AFFORDABLE. The fellow who dismissed the increase of the cost of a marriage certificate from Sh200 to Sh500 as a small thing that Kenyans shouldn’t whine about needs to attach more meaning to numbers, says Silas Nyambok. “This represents a 150 per cent price increase which cannot be justified, or the Registrar of Marriages has adopted the Nairobi matatu-style inflation where fares rise more than twofold after it rains.” Also, he declares, such basic government services should be affordable to all.

Have an affordable day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Cutting edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

STOP THIS GANGSTER. A young man on a motorbike has become a terror to residents of Buru Buru Phase 4 estate in the Eastlands, whom he robs and speeds off, reports Lucy Wanjiru. He has been spotted sometimes alone or carrying a passenger before he strikes, mostly snatching women’s handbags. He has been particularly active in the past three weeks, with the last incident having occurred on Monday, at 9.20pm. Lucy wants the Buru Buru Police Division to stop the thief to end his victims’ agony.

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WE MUST TALK. This is an encounter veteran broadcaster Ngulamu Mwaviro will not forget soon. On Monday evening, a young man’s car, which had stalled and was being pushed, hit Ngulamu’s car bumper right in front of a police officer at the Globe Cinema roundabout in Nairobi. He agreed to have the damage repaired, but once the car was jump-started, he zoomed off “even with the mechanics’ tools”. Unfortunately for him, his national ID was left in Ngulamu’s hands. “I am calling him to have this matter amicably solved.” His contact is [email protected]

*****************

EMPTY THE DUSTBIN. There is a big dustbin outside the Hurlingham Medical Centre, near the Total matatu stage, which has been overflowing with refuse, turning the whole place into a stinking mess, says Joan Nyambura. While it’s the city county government’s duty to collect litter, Joan can’t understand why shopkeepers and others who throw their rubbish into the bin cannot find a way of emptying it. “It is an unpleasant sight that is not good for business.”

******************

WHY YOU WERE DISCONNECTED. Nairobi Water Company, responding to Dorcas Khasowa’s claim that her water supply was disconnected despite having paid her bill by M-Pesa, says the account in Marron Kaguni Wanjiku’s name had an outstanding debt of Sh2,108.51 as of September 9. The two payments made on September 10 and 29, of Sh350 each, left a debit of Sh1,409.51, hence the disconnection, says corporate affairs co-ordinator James Karanga. However, the balance was cleared on October 4 and supply restored on October 7.

*****************

POWER WHEN I DIE? Basil Lewela’s father, who is now 73, is a worried man. Having paid Sh35,000 at Kenya Power’s Voi office for electricity connection, he was later slapped with a revised quotation of Sh299,000 and now fears he might not live long enough to see the light in his home, as some people he knows also passed on after waiting in vain for years. “It is a trend now that one dies and the family gets connected, and yet we should be enjoying our sunset years.” The reference number is E22412013100084 and his contact, [email protected]

****************

ITS A SAGACIOUS DECISION. The decision by President Kenyatta to hand over power to Deputy President William Ruto so that he could go to The Hague for the status conference on his case is “unprecedented, unthinkable and historical”, remarks Asoka Itur. And not about to run out of adjectives to describe the power swap in which Ruto became the acting President, he adds: “It is selfless, courageous and truly patriotic.” According to him, “history will judge him well and I am proud of this act”.

Have an unprecedented day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax 2213946

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

UNITED IN SYCOPHANCY. Many MPs are united in “abject sycophancy in the name of solidarity with President Uhuru Kenyatta”, over his trip to The Hague for the Status Conference, says Onyango Alare.

He is appalled that a lot of money will be spent on the travel and accommodation of scores of these politicians who will be accompanying the President.

“The pay for the days they will be at The Hague should be deducted as they will be doing what they not elected to do.”

**********

HELPING BENT COPS. The stalling of judicial reforms to speed up delivery of justice is a boon to corrupt police, says Mulwa Sadat, arguing that many people would rather pay bribes to avoid arrest.

“A policeman will arrest you on trumped-up charges knowing that the magistrate has limited time and won’t attend to many people. Many innocent people plead guilty so they can pay fines and earn their freedom, because if locked up, they could end up being sent to remand cells from where it won’t be easy being rescued.”

His contact is [email protected]

**********

THEY ARE EXTORTERS. National Transport Safety Authority personnel on the Thika Superhighway are a confused lot, says Kariuki Casmir.

Whereas there are road signs indicating speed limits of 80kph and 100kph, he adds, the NTSA officials have been pouncing on motorists, accusing them of driving at more than 50kph and having them slapped with heavy fines.

“This is way a way of extorting money from the public. They should bring down those signs and erect 50kph ones.”

His contact is [email protected]

**********

NDUVA’S DRAMA. The report about Transport Principal Secretary Nduva’s vehicle being flagged down by traffic police and his driver accused of speeding is too good to be true, says Zoeb Tayebjee.

“I think the whole episode was a well-managed drama to calm down motorists who have been complaining of harassment on some roads for driving at more than 50kph. VIPs’ cars are always driven fast, sometimes on the wrong side of the road without any fear of arrest.”

His contact is [email protected]

**********

TREATED VERY BADLY. Can Kenya Power go to the rescue of 13 residents of Nkorrompoi in Kitengela, Kajiado County, whose dream of getting electricity has yet to be realised five months since they applied?

Joseph M. Mucheru says they sent in a joint application under the “Umeme Pamoja” scheme on the advice of an employee of the power utility.

“To date, the Kitengela office of Kenya Power feeds us cock-and-bull stories, yet the nearest transformer to our houses is 200 metres away.”

His contact is [email protected]

**********

EXERCISE KEY TO HEALTH. Every job should require at least 30 per cent physical activity as a health measure, proposes Mathew Mwangi, adding: “It is evident that long hours sitting in the office is the cause of lifestyle diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart illnesses.”

All companies should be required by law to ensure their employees take regular exercise at work. “Our ancestors engaged in physical activity most of the time and didn’t suffer such diseases. The modern workplace needs serious reforms.”

Have a healthy day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

NO GUNS FOR MCAS. The recent confrontations between politicians in Makueni, Machakos, Kisii and Kisumu counties are enough confirmation that MCAs’ demand for guns should never be entertained, says Vincent Mariita.

Granting them their wish, he adds, would be “a dangerous blunder”. Also considering their vast numbers, dishing out so many firearms would be a big headache for Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo and officers to maintain law and order.

His contact is [email protected]

**********

STAGE-MANAGED. The arrest of Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli’s driver for speeding near Utalii Hotel on the Thika Superhighway in Nairobi is hardly convincing, says David Ng’ang’a.

According to him, the incident could have been stage-managed to show just how effectively the National Transport and Safety Authority under his ministry is doing its work.

“I stand to be corrected, but the PS looked more than ready and prepared to issue a press statement on the matter.”

His contact is [email protected]

**********

SCARED BY 'PORTERS'. Following his recent encounter with two men purporting to be porters at the JKIA’s Terminal 1 C, Alfonso Gribaldi wonders how such suspicious people are able to operate so freely and within full view of police.

He says he declined their offer of assistance and they tried to grab his luggage and load it onto their trollies, but the officers, who could see what was going on, did not intervene.

“When I raised my voice, they moved on to their next potential victim, leaving me badly shaken.”

His contact is [email protected]

**********

REMARK STUPID. A clergyman’s remark at a school prayer day in Murang’a County that he was “really happy” when former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was whipped at a Cord referendum rally in Kwale has saddened Fredrick Okaka, who says it is tantamount to teaching negative values to youth.

“Did he stop to think about what he was telling the young? That it is okay to hate and even rejoice when someone you do not like is humiliated. What if one of the students was a relative of the former Prime Minister’s?”

Okaka’s contact is [email protected]

**********

NO WATER AT TIWI. Since August, the people of Tiwi in Kwale County, have not had any water in their taps and before then, the supply was “very irregular”, moans a local resident.

Calls to the Kwale Water Board, he says, have only yielded promises and nothing much. But he has dug deeper and found out that the water shortage has something to do with failure to pay electricity bills for the pumping stations.

“We depend on tourism and need water for our visitors. Can the authorities look into this?” he pleads.

**********

UNDER-PERFORMING. The Tourism Strategy for 2013-2018, Donald Oluoch says, portrays a complete lack of vision by the people expected to help boost earnings in the sector.

“There is no drive to improve or open new tourist attractions. The same old offerings will not give us the targeted three million visitors.”

Donald thinks Kenya can get six million visitors a year, as it has “better natural attractions than, say, France, which received 84.7 million visitors last year, and Israel’s 3.5 million visitors”.

The ministry, he adds, can do better. His contact is [email protected]

Have an attractive day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

AG, clergy, marriage, kenya power,

CHEATED BY BUTCHERS. Do the weights and measures officials still conduct impromptu inspections to ensure the calibrations are not tampered with? Hilda Njuki doesn’t think so and is warning consumers to beware, particularly of butchery weighing scales. Recently, Hilda bought 2kg of tilapia fillet at the City Market, Nairobi, but became suspicious after paying for it. She, therefore, went to another shop and had the fish weighed on an electronic scale and it was only 1.4kg. “Can the authorities stop these cheats?”

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IN THE DARK. Residents of Manoni in Mombasa’s Mtopanga area are concerned about intermittent power outages and insufficient or excess voltage in recent days. Josephine Jidel says they have religiously reported the matter to Kenya Power but help has not been forthcoming. “I am sorry to say we are not getting value for the money we pay to the firm. How do I get compensated for the stress and expenses incurred? Please find a lasting solution to these problems.” Her account number is 2278895-01 .

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PUNISH CROOKS. Kenya Power will definitely be keen to immediately get to the bottom of this one. A resident of Chuka Town in Meru County, Ephanuel Njagi, says he is “very distressed” after receiving a call requiring him to pay Sh3,000 so that his application for power connection could be speeded up. He hopes the power distributor will crack down on employees whose palms must be greased for them to do a job. The reference is No E25222014090117. For the details, his contact is [email protected]

*****************

CLERICAL EXCESS. News that some clergymen are up in arms over a decision by the Attorney-General’s office to increase the price of a marriage certificate from Sh200 to Sh500 is hardly surprising, says W. Mwaura. In the peculiar way of Kenyans, he adds, they will complain about such a small increment, but will “bombard everyone with invitations to pre-wedding parties where they are expected to donate generously”. What churches charge for a wedding, he claims, is also much higher.

*****************

IRRITATED BY WATER FIRM. Begging to differ with those who have been heaping praise on Nairobi Water Company lately, Dorcas Khasowa says she is a frustrated customer. Twice in one month, she adds, the firm disconnected her water supply, on September 8 and 29, despite having paid her bills through M-Pesa. The transaction numbers were FQ08PB142 & FS44ZQ455, which a company employee would not even agree to look at. Her meter account number is 1524454. Her contact is Tel 0722858215.

*****************

SOCIAL SUPPORT. The story of a homeless Kenyan in the United States who is seeking help to return home confirms that all that glitters is not gold, says X N Iraki. According to him, the US, Canada and other developed countries are “great places to live in as long as you are young and energetic”. However, “they are very expensive places to age in”. Nursing homes, he explains, are just as expensive as paying one’s rent. “We should stop taking for granted our social support system where children take care of their old parents.” His contact is [email protected]

Have a golden day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

STOP THE NEGATIVITY: Kenya’s new status as a middle-income country is good news that some analysts have been too negative about, Fredrick Mukabi states.

He is disappointed that instead of celebrating the landmark achievement, the critics have been using every opportunity to remind Kenyans about economic problems.

Fredrick says: “Can’t we be optimistic for once and highlight the positives, such as the improved regional and global standing, and better trade concessions? I think we are too pessimistic”.

His email address is [email protected]

**********

FREE PAPER INDEED: Kimani Njoroge asks how free free newspapers are.

He states their distributors only target people who can afford them.

“Try walking in the morning and request for a copy from one of the vendors and see the scowl with which they will look at you to ensure that you won’t gather the courage to ask for it again,” he says.

Kimani is convinced that “you only qualify for the free copy if you drive a car”.

He wonders if they should just be sold at lower prices.

His email address is [email protected]

**********

CURIOUS ABOUT DARKNESS: Jimmy Ndirangu recalls that when he was in school, he learnt in science classes that light travels in a straight line.

He also learnt about things like “refraction, its speed and all that”.

He had hoped to gain knowledge about characteristics of darkness, but that was never to be, “yet darkness covers half of our lives, puts us to sleep and people make a lot of money to keep it away”.

Jimmy wishes Kenya Power experts and others could shed some light on darkness “or the absence of light”.

His email address is [email protected]

**********

THE CONCRETE TRUTH, PLEASE: The introduction of concrete electricity poles has been touted as a measure to enhance environmental conservation as trees will not be felled. But they are also more durable.

However, John Gitau has some doubt on whether some of the poles he has seen are actually made of concrete. He saw one knocked down by a vehicle on Jogoo Road, Nairobi, the other day, and it did not look so.

John asks: “Can Kenya Power shed some light on this, please?” His email address is [email protected]

**********

PUNISH THEM: The shoe-throwing youth of Migori county who disrupted President Uhuru Kenyatta’s public rally, and the man who whipped Cord leader Raila Odinga and Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya at a meeting deserved to be severely punished, Jimford Kebira says.

According to him, once an individual commits a criminal offence, it becomes a State-versus-that person matter and the law must take its own course.

“Pardoning such people is condoning impunity,” Jimford says.

His email address is [email protected]

**********

IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT: Sydney Munika asks when Kenyans will learn to enjoy good offers instead of needlessly grumbling about them.

He cites criticism of Jambojet airline’s special fare offers. These, he explains, are based on the first-come first-served policy, and the trick is to simply book flights early.

“The last-minute rush will make you pay more” he states. “It is not a bus, so you can book the lowest ticket two months in advance and fly with no extra charges.”

Sydney’s email address is [email protected]

**********

CLOSURES ALARMING: The government’s pledge to create more jobs for youths now sounds rather hollow to Ken Butiko, who is alarmed at the rate at which manufacturing companies are closing down plants, opting to import and sell the goods they have been making in the country.

He says: “What is happening on the manufacturing front is worrying. Eveready East Africa has shut down a factory. Cadbury’s Kenya, too, will do so. The common denominator is that they will now be importing goods from Egypt to sell in Kenya. What is Egypt doing right that we are not?”

Kennedy’s email address is [email protected]

Have a disciplinary day, won’t you!

[email protected]; PO Box 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax: (20) 2213946

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WE KILLED EVEREADY. The news of the closure of the Eveready East Africa battery manufacturing plant on the Eldoret highway in Nakuru is painful, indeed, for the loss of badly needed jobs in the town, says Levin Bett. He is particularly worried about the “multiplier effect of more than 50 people losing their jobs” in these difficult economic times. But with a tinge of irony he poses: “Isn’t the problem one of our own making, as we buy counterfeit dry cells, thus exporting jobs?” He quips: “It’s time to reap what we have sowed.”

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STOP THIS MESS. There are so many tastefully built residential and commercial estates in and around Nairobi, but the beauty is spoilt by granting permission to some unscrupulous developers, moans Diana D’Souza. These people, she adds, are squarely to blame for “the construction of the monstrosities that obscure the beautiful buildings and rob all of their privacy at home or office”. And not only do people lose the privacy, she explains, “the value of their properties is completely beaten down”.

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GK CARS' MENACE. Driving on Magadi Road to or from Ongata Rongai Township, which some people now fondly refer to as Diaspora, has become a veritable nightmare, remarks Paul Manga. “While traffic police have managed to tame the rogue matatus, whose drivers know little about traffic rules, we now have ‘GK vehicles’ that overlap all the way, posing great danger to law-abiding citizens who take hours in traffic jams. Now that police cannot stop them, who will rid us from this menace?”

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ROAD WOES. Although this may be belated, it’s important to give some thought to some of the oddities of our times, remarks David Jasondu. A new hotel on Lang’ata Road, Nairobi, he adds, has been put up on land that previously belonged to the Kenya Airports Authority and to show the might of those behind it, a bus stop had to be relocated. “As a result, there is permanent congestion on the road. It’s only in our part of the world where someone can put up a private property this way and even redirect the traffic flow.”

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LEADERS HAVE FAILED. The mounting clamour for constitutional change through a referendum, Ben Njenga says, is a vocal demand on how the national cake should be shared among the various groups. However, he adds, none of the loud campaigners for the groups pushing for changes to the Constitution has “ever suggested how we can bake a bigger cake at both the national and county levels of government”. According to Njenga, “herein lies the tragedy of our democracy; it nurtures pedestrian leadership”.

Have a productive day, won’t you!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

LIGHTS OR WHIPS? Can the Nairobi City County government’s road experts clear the perpetual jam on the link road between Westlands shopping centre and Ngong Road at its intersection with Riverside Drive? urges Richard Mundia. The Japanese contractor, he says, did a “wonderful job, but forgot about Kenyans’ bad road manners”. Drivers will enter the intersection from all the four different directions, block one other, and generally waste valuable time. Are traffic lights or whips the solution?”

******************

SURCHARGE THIS PERSON. Fred Otieno was dead right about the warped thinking by whoever put up bumps near a flyover on Mbagathi Road, notes David Jasondu. “Immediately they realised the folly of having the bumps, the authorities ordered their removal after a day or so. But since the money was spent because somebody made a poor judgment, will the matter just be left like that?” Jasondu wants the culprits surcharged for causing the misuse of taxpayers’ money. “And while at it, what became of the lights that had been installed on that road?” he asks.

******************

JAMBOJET REASONABLE. Unlike Abu Ayman, who claims that low-cost airline Jambojet’s special offers are suspect, Njoro Njoroge, a land surveyor, says he is a “very satisfied customer” since he started flying with them, taking advantage of their affordable fares. He adds: “I have flown with Jambojet often and I have found their fares the most fair. In fact, I have never paid more than Sh6,000 for a return ticket to any of their destinations. All you need is to book early. This happens elsewhere in the world.”

*****************

VISIT OUR WEBSITE. Jambojet CEO Willem Hondius, responding to Abu Ayman’s complaint, says the 5,000 seats allocated for the ‘Super Sale’ offer were available from September 29, at 11am. “Subsequently, the sale price will be available on certain flights to all the destinations in October and November. By using the low-fare finder on our website, one can determine on which flights the special fare for the 5,000 seats applies,” he says, assuring Ayman and others of the airline’s commitment to making flying affordable.

*****************

SECURITY SLOPPY. As companies and other organisations have, in recent years, apparently tightened security at their premises, Mungai Kihanya says a glaring oversight is eroding any gains that may have been recorded. He has noted that while the security officers pay great attention to those entering the premises, little or no attention is given to those exiting. “As a result, thieves have a field day.” One school recently lost 300 textbooks because the thieves’ car was not checked as it left the compound.

*****************

CUSTOMER ECSTATIC. Kenyans are ever complaining about poor customer service, but Fiona Shimuli thinks it is time more credit was given to those who excel. She had a problem at the University of Nairobi’s Examination Centre on Chiromo Campus and “two very senior employees in the registry took time to listen and handled me with dignity, respect and patience”. She says she can now understand “how the university is able to provide such quality education and training. It is because it employs some of the best”.

Have a thankful day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax 2213946

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

ARGUMENT SPECIOUS. While he has nothing against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s opposition to the referendum campaigns by Cord and some governors, Onyango Alare won’t buy his argument that this will increase taxes.

The President’s talk about taxes, he fears, must be used as a smokescreen to introduce more levies for the “already burdened” Kenyans.

According to Onyango, the people already know what is good for them and should be allowed to decide without any intimidation.

**********

HELP FOR MOTORISTS. Help is available to Mohammed Hussein and other motorists, who find themselves cornered by wayward traffic police officers, says Cyrus Muturi, an online services officer of the Motorists Association of Kenya.

Agreeing with Mohammed that the officers often go overboard, Cyrus advises those aggrieved to seek help through [email protected]

On the website, www.motoristassocationofkenya.com, they will also find a column on the rights and responsibilities of motorists.

His contact is [email protected]

**********

KOPA CASH IMPOSSIBLE. Airtel customer Paul Macharia says the mobile phone service provider’s Kopa Cash system is impossible.

Paul has tried to apply for the loan following all the required steps but did not make any headway.

Says he: “After following all the instructions on the application on the phone, the message that finally pops up is, ‘No items found… go back’.”

To him, this simply means the service is not working and should either be upgraded or done away with.

His contact is [email protected]

**********

FLIGHT OF FANCY? The low-cost Kenya Airways subsidiary, Jambojet, has been on an advertising blitz promoting its ‘Super Sale’ offer of Sh1,950 one-way tickets for 5,000 travellers to book between September 29 and October 2 for travel in October and November, notes Abu Ayman.

However, this has been a hoax, as it is “hard to get the Sh1,950 tickets”. In fact, he adds, the fare has been a minimum of Sh10,950.

He thinks Jambojet is doing a disservice to its customers by not coming clean on the issue.

**********

RETURNS POLICE POOR. The returns policy of Nakumatt is terrible, says Shobhna Shah, reeling from two experiences.

A few months ago, Shobhna bought a Thermos flask from Nakumatt High Park and on pouring tea into it the following day, it was cold in less than an hour, instead of the standard time of eight hours.

It took her five hours to convince the management when she return it. Last week, she bought a juicer and after three days, it stopped working.

Again, after three hours of going up and down, she was told the technician was not in.

Her contact is [email protected]

**********

A BUMPY RIDE. Fred Otieno has issues with the Nairobi County government’s department in charge of roads.

While he welcomes any efforts to curb fatal accidents, he is not impressed by the measures taken recently.

He particularly takes issue with the erection of bumps on Mbagathi Way, right next to a pedestrian flyover. According to him, this was not a wise decision, as it has just worsened the endemic traffic jams at this spot on.

His contact is [email protected]

Have an effective day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

ACTION AT LAST. Though it may be too early to celebrate, an elated Joe Musyoki says traffic police from Industrial Area Police Station in Nairobi, have finally established the cause of the perennial jams in the evenings on the two-kilometre stretch of Mombasa Road between Bellevue and the General Motors plant.

An illegal bus stage near the GM junction, he reports, has been removed and an officer on a motorbike deployed to ensure smooth traffic flow.

Stern action must be taken against matatus that defy the ban.

**********

CYCLISTS IN DANGER. Somebody should go to the rescue of cyclists who risk death daily fighting for space with motor vehicles on the narrow road between Westlands shopping centre and Lower Kabete, Nairobi, Michael Kinuthia pleads.

“The cyclists are always in danger of being knocked down by motorists overtaking them, especially at the hilly bends on the road.”

The solution, according to him, is to create a cyclists’ lane and he wishes one of the blue chip companies could adopt this as part of its corporate social responsibility effort.

**********

TOO MANY BLACKOUTS. Power blackouts have become the order of the day in Kakamega Town, the business hub of the western Kenya sugar belt, moans George Njeru.

Also affected, he adds, are the outskirts and nearby trading centres where small-scale enterprises are severely hampered.

“Power failures have become the norm as business is disrupted and electronic appliances exposed to grave risk.”

Complaints to Kenya Power at their offices in the town and on their Twitter handle have yielded nothing.

**********

DEMOLISH HOUSES. The privately owned houses holding up the completion of the Lang’ata Road expansion project in Nairobi should be brought down in the interest of the greater public, says Janet Koi.

The construction, she adds, came to an abrupt stop at the Galleria Mall-Bomas of Kenya underpass “because three beautiful houses stand in the way”.

She wants to know why a project that is going to benefit hundreds of thousands of Kenyans should be blocked by a few individuals for three years and counting.

**********

CAN DO BETTER. While fully agreeing with the view that the service at Nairobi Water Company’s new offices in the Cameo Cinema building is superb, Jane Muthoni is convinced that it could be much better, with a little more effort.

She was there recently and was wowed by the big smile on the usher’s face. One major drawback, Jane adds, is that bills never come on time.

Secondly, customers need an effective SMS system, as “theirs does not work too well”, or an online bill alert service.

**********

BIASED AGAINST FATHERS. The blatant bias against fathers is evident in many media adverts, TV commercials and billboards carrying messages on the welfare of children that are erected along roads in Nairobi and around the country, notes Ruth Gituma.

“Only mothers are portrayed as playing crucial roles in the lives of their children. But thanks to Dead Beat, we now know there are dads who play their parental roles effectively.”

Ruth is looking forward to seeing adverts saying, ‘Thanks Dad’ or ‘My daddy says x is good for my teeth’.

Her contact is [email protected]

Have a balanced day, won’t you!

E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

LIGHTING UP THE CITY: The government should advance some money to Kenya Power to get the street lights in Nairobi working again, urges Diana D’Souza.

The new road linking James Gichuru and Ngong roads which was built by the Japanese and Kenyan governments, she adds, has hundreds of lampposts, but no lights and, therefore, it is in total darkness, and so is Mageta Road.

“This should be treated as a priority. Right now the lampposts are a big temptation for gluttonous vandals.”

************

RARE KUDOS FOR KP: A word of kudos to Kenya Power from Bonstein Sisa, who says the benefits from the firm’s recent rebranding are evident from its outlook and improved services.

His prepaid meter malfunctioned and could not load tokens. He visited Electricity House in Nairobi, and found courteous staff, who promised to call at his house the following day, and they actually did and sorted out the problem.

“This is the Kenya we want, dedicated devoted and efficient.” His meter number is 04225641150.

***********

STRESSED OVER ID: The Registrar of Persons is causing heartache for Abdi Haji who has gone through hell trying to ensure his daughter gets her national identity card.

She applied in July, and both had to appear before the District Security Committee in Taveta on July 3, after which Hodhan Abdi was given a waiting card.

To date, her documents, which were apparently sent to Mombasa, have not reached the headquarters in Nairobi. As a result, she cannot join college. The waiting card serial number is 2350794065. His contact is [email protected]

************

WE NEED WATER: Can Nairobi Water Company rush to Savannah Estate in the Eastlands to avert an epidemic?

Local resident George Ngarama says the residents have had to contend with a broken sewer which has been discharging the muck for the past one month as nobody is bothered about the health hazard it poses in the neighbourhood.

The company, he pleads, should not wait until an epidemic breaks out to rush in and fix the sewer. George, whose contact is Tel 0720124812, is ready to point out the spot.

************

THREE YEARS, STILL COUNTING: The rehabilitation of roads in the Upper Hill area of Nairobi has been agonising for the people who work there, and Thomas Yebei is disgusted that the reconstruction of a mere 5.4km of roads has taken close to three years and there is no sign that it is going to be completed soon.

But the clincher for him is that the project site is 300 metres from the Roads Cabinet Secretary’s office and 30 metres from the office of the director-general of the Kenya Roads Board. “If they can’t make it happen, what of the far-flung places.”

***********

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE: Training specialist Okumba Miruka says though the word “oversight” is a noun meaning either an omission or supervision, it has lately been corrupted by Kenyan politicians.

He poses: “Where did they get the impression that it is a verb when, for example, one Senator says, ‘Our role is to oversight county governments’? Do they know they are exposing their linguistic ignorance? If they must use the word, they should say, ‘Our role is to exercise oversight over county governments’!”

Have a meaningful day, won’t you!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

REMOVE GOVERNORS' TERM LIMIT: As debate rages on the need to change some parts of the Constitution, Alan Masakhalia thinks this presents a great opportunity to review the two five-year term limit imposed on governors.

“Why should governors serve for only 10 years, when Senators, MPs and MCAs can serve for as long as the voters want?” he asks.

A Busia County native, Masakhalia is urging the National Assembly to scrap the term limit “so that dedicated and committed governors can continue serving”.

His email address is [email protected]

**********

BEAUTIFICATION NOT ENOUGH: The Mombasa County government is doing pretty little on roads despite the rapid increase in the number of vehicles, says Collins Mwatati.

According to him, no new roads have been constructed in the resort town and its environs in the past five years, “which is not good for a town that aspires to become Kenya’s second city”.

He states that while counties like Machakos are building new roads, Mombasa is repairing those built 20 years ago.

Mwatati’s email address is [email protected]

**********

MOTORISTS HAVE RIGHTS TOO: Feeling the pain of motorists at the hands of wayward traffic police is Mohammed Hussein, and he would like a solution found as soon as possible.

“Is there is a website or agency that can give motorists information on what their rights are and what the police can or cannot do?” he asks.

Hussein would also like to know if there is a telephone number or hotline one can call when confronted by the officers, because this would help many people in various ways.

His email address is [email protected]

**********

HIGHWAY ROBBER IN UNIFORM: There is a tall traffic policeman on a motorbike who is engaging in highway robbery, targeting motorists driving to Industrial Area in Nairobi in early mornings, reports Angela Maina.

She says: “I have seen him as early as 6:30 a.m. on the railway bridge section on Uhuru Highway, banging cars with his fimbo! He has been known to frisk pockets and open bags, snatching money from drivers. His main hunting ground is Uhuru Highway. I have heard from a victim that he is ruthless”.

Ms Maina’s email address is [email protected]

**********

DISAPPOINTING OUTFIT: Just like in the days of the old Nairobi City Council, the Inspectorate Department under the new city county government is a disappointing outfit that has failed to ensure law and order in the metropolis, says Aitor Mwakio.

The performance of whoever is in charge of the department, he states, leaves a lot to be desired. On the condition of the department’s Dagoretti offices, he remarks: “Pathetic is a rather lenient word”.

Mwakio’s email address is [email protected]

**********

LEARN FROM WILDERBEESTS: The spectacular wildebeest migration that is a major tourist attraction is also a lesson on wildlife protection, says Douglas Mokamba.

He explains that while the rush appears spontaneous, there is some order as the smaller and weaker animals are protected from predators by keeping them in the middle, with the strongest ones on the sides.

“But herds still leap off cliffs and dive into crocodile-infested rivers in the migration,” Mokamba says. His email address is [email protected]

**********

ITCHING TO GO DIGITAL: Misiani Obino says he can’t wait for the introduction of the promised smart driving licences as he is tired of carrying around the “ugly” booklet issued to Kenyan drivers.

He hopes the Registrar of Motor Vehicles will speed up plans to go digital and give motorists a presentable document they can easily and proudly carry in their back trouser pockets, and that when it is eventually issued, it will be modelled on those issued in the United States, which are easier to renew.

Obino’s email address is [email protected]

Have a sleek day, won’t you!

watchman@ke.nationmedia.com; PO Box 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax: (20) 2213946

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

UHURU, GO TO THE HAGUE: President Uhuru Kenyatta should go to The Hague next month for the status conference on his case, for this will do no harm to his stature, says Joe Macharia.

Instead, Joe argues, the President’s appearance “will, in fact, boost his rating internationally as a respecter of the rule of law”.

The Naivasha resident is convinced that what the judges will tell the President is that they are “sorry for what he has been put through” and that he is free to go home. His contact is joemacharia@yahoo.com.

***********

THREE-YEAR WAIT: What a long wait it has been for Peter O. Otuo, an elderly resident of Homa Bay County, who applied for electricity connection to his home in East Kanyada Location in 2011, and is still waiting to date, despite having paid the requisite charges and making countless trips to the local Kenya Power offices!

During his numerous follow-ups, he adds, he has been subjected to the “same explanations, excuses and promises” and he can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. His reference is E24422011020023 and his contact, Tel 0723086842.

***********

GOOD IDEA GONE BAD: What was a great idea, a loan or hire purchase scheme to enable the people of Kilifi County to buy solar kits, has apparently gone wrong for some who rushed to sign up.

The loans were being offered by K-Rep Bank through its office at Bamba for the people of Ganze sub-county. The beneficiaries, including Emmanuel Masha’s sister, paid a deposit and the balance in instalments amounting to Sh10,000.

But the kits malfunctioned soon after installation, and K-Rep recalled them for replacement. They are still waiting many months later.

***********

IRKED BY EQUITY: A loyal Equity Bank customer of many years, Ciiku Tharao, is so upset that she is now thinking of other options.

What has broken the camel’s back is that for several weeks now, the bank’s Yaya Centre branch in Nairobi has been opening its doors at 8.20am despite having a notice prominently displayed at the entrance, indicating that it opens for business at 8am.

“Why the half-hour delay, causing customers to wait outside in chilly mornings?” She is waiting for the answer at Miriam.tharao@gmail.com.

***********

IS IT A HOAX? Can Kenya Power reassure prepaid meter customer Allan Indiazi, who thinks the sale of tokens is a fraud?

On September 9, he paid Sh800 through M-Pesa and got 44.6 units. Just a week later, on September 18, he paid Sh900, and received only 41.2 tokens.

Kenya Power should shed light on the billing so that he and others can know the correct price of a unit of power. “I am beginning to have a feeling that someone is playing games on consumers.” His meter number is 04215254048.

***********

SERVICE SUPERB: But coming in for rather rare accolades is the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company, which recently moved office from Comcraft to the Cameo Cinema building in the city centre.

An elated Dilip Shah says he was there recently to pay his water bill and was impressed by the superb services offered by the staff. Particularly striking, he adds, is the “excellent organisation” that enables the efficient delivery of services to the public. His contact is d666shah@gmail.com

Have a remarkable day, won’t you!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

LIGHT UP SUPERHIGHWAY. For how much longer will motorists travelling at night have to wait to see a well-lit Thika Superhighway? asks Ruth Gituma, adding that though numerous promises have been made by the Kenya National Highways Authority in the past, nothing has come out of them.

The section between Allsopps and the GSU headquarters in Nairobi, she adds, is “particularly notorious for muggings”.

For any advice, she says, the Adopt-a-Light boss Esther Passaris is a good bet.

**********

GET RID OF BODA BODA. The Nakuru County government should rid its central business district of the menace of boda boda operators and Tuk Tuks, urges Ruth Gituma.

While the two provide a valuable service transporting commuters in the town, they should have designated places where they can pick up and drop off passengers, instead of “weaving into and out of traffic in the CBD”.

She hopes Governor Kinuthia Mbugua will give the matter the urgent attention it requires.

Her contact is ruthmuhiuha@yahoo.com.

**********

HEATERS DANGEROUS. How safe are electric instant water heaters? asks Mathew Mwangi, alarmed at the increasing popularity of the gadgets countrywide.

“They are cheap, convenient and easy to install. However, they are not very safe,” he adds, citing incidents in which some people have been electrocuted while using the devices.

According to him, they are now being referred to in some places as “suicide showers”.

He wants the Kenya Bureau of Standards to step up efforts to ensure their safety.

His contact is mathmwangi@yahoo.com.

**********

MAKE THE MAU REALLY WILD. The easiest way to get squatters out of the Mau Forest to save the key water catchment and end the politicking over it is to flood it with elephants, hyenas, crocodiles, and leopards, says Victor Isaidia.

“Once settled in the middle of the forest, nobody will dare buy or grab the land in it just like in the Maasai Mara, where not an inch has been grabbed. This is the way to solve this problem that has become a thorn in the government’s flesh.”

His contact is vickyisadiah@yahoo.com.

**********

BILL OUTRAGEOUS. A resident of Kaimosi in Vihiga County, David Lagat, is alarmed at an “outrageous bill” from Kenya Power.

A loyal customer since 2008, David is required to pay a massive Sh45,467.20, which is a shocking increase over his average monthly payment of Sh400.

He has made numerous trips to the local Kenya Power office withiout receiving any help. Now he fears that his power could be disconnected any time.

His account is No. 2580565-02 and his contact, lagat66@gmail.com.

**********

TRAFFIC BOSS ASLEEP. Can the Traffic Commandant in Nairobi County ensure the officer who controls the stretch of Mombasa Road from the General Motors plant to the JKIA in the evenings does his job? urges Kiogora Muriuki.

In the past few months, Kiogora reports, matatu drivers have been clogging two lanes, leaving only one and causing traffic snarl-ups all the way from Capital Centre, “with not a single policeman in sight”.

How long shall we endure this? asks Kiogora.

Have a smooth traffic day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Cutting Edge - Tuesday September 23, 2014

CONUNDRUM FOR CORD. The biggest irony in Cord’s push for a referendum, Abud Salim says, is the fact that the IEBC, which the opposition coalition wants disbanded, will have to verify the signatures and pave the way for its own possible dissolution. And he wonders how Cord would recognise its ability to verify the signatures even as it questions the electoral body’s ability to carry out its own mandate. “Also, it is the same IEBC which issued the Cord Senators, MPs and MCAs with their certificates.”

******************

ITS 'PESA MIFUKONI'. While the ‘Pesa Mashinani’ campaign is an enticing slogan, it is not about taking more money to the grassroots but into their own pockets, claims Peter Mburu. According to him, the clamour for a referendum is plainly about ‘Pesa Mifukoni’, as the people continue to witness the extravagant style of county leaders “who help themselves to hefty allowances they do not deserve”. Should the vote give more money to governors, they will end up lining their pockets even more. His contact is pmburu@hotmail.com.

*******************

ROUNDABOUT RULES. Joining the debate on driving at roundabouts, David Warutere says there is a basic traffic rule, which must be obeyed by all motorists. It is that drivers approaching a roundabout must wait until those already in it go round before entering it. They are not expected to indicate or change lanes at a roundabout. He thus disagrees with N. Albert that someone driving from the Haile Selassie Avenue side towards Harambee Avenue needs to signal his direction at the Parliament roundabout.

******************

WHY I SUPPORT DUALE. The only reason Kahura Ndung’u supports National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale in his outburst against Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto is that “our governors have been behaving like demigods”. He adds: “They don’t want to be accountable to anyone on their spending of public money, yet some have credibility issues.” Kahura believes that public money must be accounted for and he is not convinced that “Duale’s remark was meant to show disrespect to our mothers”.

*******************

WHAT ABOUT HORTICULTURE? Private companies were behind the initiative that culminated in a 25-member delegation from the UK, including Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf, coming to Nairobi to seal business deals worth $15 billion, says Anil K. Shah. But Anil is disappointed that De La Rue, Prudential and Barclays are only keen on “safe investments in the energy sector and financial services”. He poses: “Why do they shy away from horticulture and other sectors? And why such a big delegation to witness already concluded deals?”

*******************

KBL PROMOTION WRONG. For a big campaign by organisations like Kenya Breweries ‘Twende Kazi’ promotion, Dennis Mbakhila says the least he would have expected is accurate information on the popular sport, and especially on Harambee Stars. The Kenya versus Nigeria game played at Kasarani Sports Centre, Nairobi, in 1997, which ended in a 1-1 draw was a World Cup, and not, an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. “Ironically, Musa Otieno, who appears in the advert, was in that squad.”

Have an informative day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax 2213946

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Cutting Edge - Monday September 22, 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

IT'S UNDEMOCRATIC. The suggestion that presidential candidates who garner more than 50 per cent of the votes in their home regions should forfeit the extra votes to their opponents is undemocratic and unworkable, says Ben Njenga. This, he says, is the best confirmation that Kenyans are prisoners in their tribal cocoons. New National Reconciliation and Cohesion boss Francis ole Kaparo should mount an aggressive campaign against tribalism. “The country will never get high quality leadership if tribe remains the yardstick for electing leaders,” Ben says.

******************

LIGHT UP SECTION. Why can’t the streetlights on the section of the Eastern bypass between City Cabanas to the Kenya Airways headquarters at Embakasi be switched on? asks Peter Busienei. The area, he adds, is always “very dark” in the evenings and early in the mornings despite a large number of people crossing the road to or from work. He hopes Transport Secretary Michael Kamau or new KQ boss Mbuvi Ngunze will intervene to ensure that the place is lit up and made safer for pedestrians.

***************

CALLING SAFARICOM. Can Safaricom go to the rescue of some of its subscribers in Nyeri County who are contemplating throwing away their SIM cards, as they have for a good seven years now waited in vain for the “extremely poor” network signal to be enhanced? Stephen Waititu says that in Kiang’ondu Village in Mukurwe-ini, having a Safaricom line is no longer a mark of pride, as they can hardly make or receive calls. “We have made numerous complaints but all we get are promises that yield nothing.”

***************

ITS BRAIN GAIN. Reacting to the hullabaloo over the recent proposal by South Sudan’s Labour ministry to have foreigners kicked out so that locals can take over their jobs, X.N. Iraki says this does not make economic sense. He adds: “In fact, they should be very grateful for getting high returns from workers they never trained or fed. It is, in fact, brain gain, unlike countries such as Canada, US or Australia, that are desperately looking for highly educated workers to drive their economies. Skilled workers are like beautiful girls; they rarely miss suitors.”

***************

LEADERS USELESS. Some “big mouths” at the national level are doing pretty little for their people, says Ken Toroitich, seething with anger over the appalling condition of the roads in Elgeyo-Marakwet County. The nearly 60-km Iten-Kapsowar road, he adds, is so bad that the old “face-me” matatus are the only ones in operation, due to the high maintenance costs. “Ironically, the area is a rich hub for agricultural produce like mangoes, potatoes and maize. Politicians must do something or forget about re-election.”

***************

WHO WAS TUMBO The Lt Tumbo Street in Nairobi was named after John Charles Tumbo Kalima, a senior military officer who led the fight against the insurgency in the north-east of the country (the Shifta war), says Steve Wathome. According to Steve, Lt Tumbo was killed in an ambush between Garissa and Wajir. “He was a brilliant soldier and had he lived, he would have been in the league of the first African Kenya Army Commander, Major-General Joseph Ndolo, and his successor, Gen Jackson Mulinge.”

Have a memorable day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

NOT HIS MOTHER'S MONEY: National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale’s remark, “the money does not belong to your mother”, in his row with Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, may have upset many people.

But Lucy Ann sees nothing wrong.

She says: “Some are saying he insulted and belittled women, but I see it differently. He, indeed, elevated mothers. Mothers are so generous that their children can count on them any time. Perhaps, Duale was looking at Ruto the same way one sees a spoilt child”.

Her email address is lucianwahome@yahoo.com.

*********

CONSIDER NYS OFFICERS TOO: The rebranding of the National Youth Service has been long overdue, Watson Khaemba says. The organisation, he states, does a lot of good — keeping young people fruitfully engaged in learning useful life skills.

However, he wishes it could also look into the plight of a core group of its officers who make it happen:

“Some have waited for four years to get confirmation of their promotions as senior sergeants”. For details, contact Khaemba through idaarayetu@yahoo.com.

*********

A CARTEL: “It’s a farce,” says Mulwa Sadat about the ongoing crackdown to force motorists to drive at 50kph in Nairobi.

Recently, he was flagged down on Waiyaki Way and told he had been speeding. He was ordered to get out and lock the car and hand over his driving licence and keys to a policeman who looked inebriated.

He was later taken to Kabete Police station to pay a cash bail. On asking the officer why they kept him for so long, he said it was because he had been “very uncooperative”.

Sadat’s email address is mulwasadat@hotmail.com.

*********

INADEQUATE TOOLS OF WORK: While he has nothing against local contractors, James Githinji says most of them are handicapped for lack of equipment.

This, he states, is the only plausible explanation of the snail’s pace construction they are synonymous with.

“Chinese firms are doing much better than the locals, who seem to share equipment,” he says, naming work along Enterprise Road, Lusaka Road and a road leading to the Kenyatta National Hospital as examples of projects that have dragged on for too long.

Githinji’s email address is jgithinji2012@gmail.com.

*********

WAKE UP, KRA: The Kenya Revenue Authority need not work too hard to boost its revenue collections, as Joshua Odingo can see plenty of untapped potential in just a single section of the informal sector: the quarries providing building stones.

Only one quarry, he says, rakes in a whopping Sh800,000 every month, and, therefore, a princely Sh9.6 million annually, but the dealers do not issue any receipts to buyers.

“Is the taxman still awake?”, Odingo, whose email address is otmai.odingo@gmail.com, asks.

*********

AT THE MERCY OF POLICE: There is a hidden hand in the traffic jams between Syokimau and City Cabanas on Mombasa Road, says George Kinyua.

The traffic flow along the 10-kilometre stretch, he states, is always unpredictable. On one day, he explains, there will be absolutely no jam, and on the next, heavy congestion.

He claims police block traffic on the highway to let through vehicles from Embakasi and use the ensuing gridlock to extort bribes. Kinyua’s email address is gkkinyua@gmail.com.

*********

FORGOTTEN HOUSES: Crying out for a facelift are the Nairobi City County’s Buru Buru Flats near a police station, says Fredrick Kimani, appalled at the total neglect by the old city council that has seen the buildings turn into an eyesore in the otherwise neat Eastlands suburb.

Since the blocks of flats were put up in 1978, he observes, they have not seen any maintenance — not even a fresh coat of paint — to date.

Also falling apart are other county residential estates in the same area. Kimani’s email address is fredrickimani@gmail.com.

Have a decent day, won’t you!

watchman@ke.nationmedia.com; PO Box 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax: (20) 2213946

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

OPEN WESTGATE. The best way to commemorate one year after the Westgate Mall tragedy is to open it, and not to just show films that reopen old wounds, remarks X.N. Iraki, adding: “It took the terrorists a day to have the mall closed.That it is now taking more than a year to open it means the terrorists won. The main guest at the commemoration should have popped a champagne bottle at the newly opened mall to demonstrate the resilience of the Kenyan people. Open Westgate now…”

His contact is xniraki@gmail.com.

*********

HOSPITAL AGONY. The Nairobi Hospital is no longer the comfortable and exclusive institution it once was, charges Wamuyu Gatheru.

Recently, she had a patient and “everything from admission to nursing care and even discharge, was difficult, just like in the public hospitals”.

Even after waiting for an hour, she claims, no bed was available.

“The patient was entitled to a private room but never got one. The bathrooms were dirty and the plumbing in poor shape. It took almost five hours to discharge the patient.”

Her contact is wgatheru@gmail.com.

*********

SUPERMARKET AGONY. Often, Frans van den Houdt says, shoppers wonder why supermarket tellers are “so ineffective and inefficient and why supervisors cannot step in”.

Last Saturday morning at Chandarana Supermarket in Yaya Centre, Nairobi, he says “an extremely incompetent guy at one of the tills kept a long queue of shoppers waiting for 15 minutes”.

An elderly man at the exit, who seemed to be a supervisor, did nothing.

“Isn’t it high time cashiers got proper training and be removed if found incapable?” His contact is fhoudt@gmail.com.

*********

WAITING FOR A PIN. The nearly six-month wait by Michael Nyangi for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for an investment company is finally over.

Kenya Revenue Authority senior marketing and communication official Maureen Njongo says the company’s application has been processed and the PIN certificate duly sent to Nyangi.

And confirming the end of his agony, Maureen adds, Nyangi has already acknowledged receipt of the PIN.

*********

TRAFFIC RULES. Bwanaheri Kalela won’t buy the suggestion by N. Albert that a driver at a roundabout must indicate in which direction he is going.

Says he: “While driving at a roundabout, the lane into which you enter it will clearly show where you are going. And the basic driving school rule is that you must never change lanes at a roundabout. Therefore, the issue of having to switch on one’s indicators to show in which direction one is going simply does not arise.”

His contact is hkalela@gmail.com.

Have a competent day, won’t you!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

POLITICAL BANKRUPTCY. A peace-loving Kenyan who shuns publicity, James Ossome, says he is ashamed of how low politicians have sunk in their rhetoric. He has been particularly taken aback by the utterances of some associates of Deputy President William Ruto against Cord leader Raila Odinga instead of concentrating on tackling the myriad challenges facing the country. “If they think this is what being a digital leadership is all about, they should be told it borders on acute political bankruptcy,” adds James.

****************

LET DOWN BY AIRTEL. Calling Airtel are the residents of Upper Kimbo, especially the area between Kimbo and Toll Station estates off the Thika Superhighway, says Samuel Kamau. The mobile service provider’s network signal, he adds, has been extremely poor over the past one month and their numerous complaints have not yielded any response from Airtel. “We are not able to make any calls in our houses,” moans Samuel, whose telephone number is 0731697108.

****************

APOLOGISE, KCB. David Motari says even though KCB may have been right to take precautions to safeguard his money when it deactivated his new chip ATM card, its failure to inform him about it is inexcusable as he couldn’t access his salary to pay for his utilities. “My only crime was having used the card to check my balance at an ATM in Doonholm, Nairobi, the bank claims had been compromised.” And now, he claims, he has been advised to apply for a new card, for which he will have to pay. “KCB owes me an apology.” His contact is dmots2005@yahoo.com.

****************

WHO WAS THIS MAN TUMBO? There is this little street that links the Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters, Times Tower, to Harambee Avenue in Nairobi, which was apparently named in honour of a former military officer, Lt Tumbo, notes Dave Tumbula, adding: “What was this Lieutenant Tumbo’s claim to fame and eventual national recognition?” Every time Tumbula walks on that street, he cannot help wondering who this Tumbo was and what could have happened to him.

****************

WHAT IDP CAMPS? The recent criticism of a university’s decision to build pit latrines for the displaced post-2007 election violence victims as part of its corporate social responsibility was fair, says Otieno Ochanda. Not long ago, Otieno recalls, the top Jubilee leadership presided over a ceremony in Rift Valley, where it was announced that all the camps for the internally displaced people had been officially closed. “So, where exactly will they put up latrines?” asks Otieno.

*****************

READ TRAFFIC RULES. The raging debate on the 50kph speed limit within the city, Andrew Njau says, has left him wondering which driving schools, if any, the protagonists attended. “Not only was it one of the examination questions asked, but is also included in the training manuals of respectable driving schools.” The issue, according to him, is the need to replace the signs indicating the speed limits, which were vandalised by unscrupulous scrap-metal dealers. “Obey the law as it serves a purpose, even though it may not be to your liking.”

Have a sensible day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WHO ARE YOU, KIND SIR?: Just over the scare of a near-fatal crash on the Kericho-Nakuru highway, three kilometres from the Total junction, on July 7, Samuel Ooko wishes he could meet the Good Samaritan who rescued him and his passengers that night.

The driver, Samuel has been informed, works for Solel Boneh International in Kericho.

He took them from the scene and drove them to Siloam Hospital on the town’s southern outskirts.

“Kindly get in touch with me,” pleads Ooko, whose e-mail address is samjasiala@yahoo.com.

**********

KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES: Members of the Kisumu County Assembly should go slow on their clamour for car grants and give priority to fighting insecurity as well as providing water, Freddy Oguo urges.

“Unless they end the insecurity, where will they be driving their big cars?” he asks.

Oguo is also disappointed that people are not being encouraged to harvest water from their roofs when rain falls — something he would have expected women representatives to champion.

His e-mail address is fredyoguo@nokiamail.com.

**********

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME: The government’s Sh87 million aid pledge to West Africa to fight the Ebola outbreak is the height of irony, considering that some Kenyans are starving to death in parts of Baringo and Turkana Counties, Oscar Okoth says.

Keen to remind leaders that charity begins at home, before lending a hand to strangers, Okoth remarks, “I believe that money could have been put to better use at home, to fight hunger, assist the needy and pay teachers’ dues to avert a strike.”

His e-mail address is oscarokoth@gmail.com.

**********

THEY'RE JUST AS DANGEROUS: As he drives in Nairobi, Peter Cheserek says he sees fellow motorists making phone calls, composing and sending text messages and reading newspapers.

But what he finds disappointing is that traffic police will pay attention to drivers speaking on their phones and let others go scot free, yet they also pose grave danger for road users.

Police, Cheserek pleads, should target those texting first, followed by newspaper readers, and those who answer their calls last.

His e-mail address is prokipchumba@yahoo.com.

**********

CHECK BEHAVIOUR, NOT SPEED: The 80kph and 100kph speed limits for highways are unrealistic for modern vehicles and vastly improved roads, says Daudi Nturibi.

Joining the debate on the crackdown on motorists in Nairobi to enforce a 50kph speed limit, Nturibi says it is the behaviour of drivers that is to blame for increasing fatal road accidents.

He feels more sensible and practical speed limits should be 100kph and 130kph on highways and 70kph in built-up areas.

His e-mail address is dnturibi@gmail.com.

**********

POLITICS AND MEDIA: James Githinji, mad about pronouncements by some leaders and the coverage they are given, asks whether politicians and the media deliberately trying to drive Kenyans up the wall.

He has been particularly enraged by reports of MCAs campaigning for allowances for their “bored and lonely wives”, and senators seeking a pay rise.

“These and other selfish schemes and demands by the politicians can lead to civil unrest,” Githinji warns.

His e-mail address is jgithinji2012@gmail.com.

**********

OFFICER IS RIGHT: A driver joining a roundabout and exiting to the right must indicate at all times, says N Albert, disagreeing with the criticism directed at a traffic policeman on this page last week.

“Assuming you are coming from Haile Selassie Avenue, driving along Parliament Road and turning into Harambee Avenue, you should signal the cars from (the) InterContinental Nairobi side so that they are aware of your intention and give you way,” he says. “It’s simply logic for competent drivers to know the norms. The cop is right.”

Albert’s e-mail address is n.albert010@yahoo.com.au.

Have a logical day, won’t you!

watchman@ke.nationmedia.com; PO Box 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax: (20) 2213946

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By EDITORIAL
More by this Author

STOP INTOLERANCE: While rowdy youths were shouting and throwing shoes to disrupt a public meeting addressed by President Uhuru Kenyatta at Migori, in Kisauni, Mombasa, a man was being beaten up for shouting slogans against the opposition Cord’s push for a national referendum, notes Ken Butiko.

The two incidents, he explains, demonstrate how “politically immature and intolerant Kenyan society has become”.

He poses: “Must we resort to violence when confronted with a different view. We are destroying the fabric that holds the nation together!”

His contact is kennedy.butiko@yahoo.com.

**********

TRAFFIC FLOW: The authorities in charge of the Kiambu Road have become real jokers, says Mumbi Njoroge, not impressed with the attempt to “improve” the flow of traffic by erecting two sets of bumps at the entrance to Ridgeways Mall, which she dismisses is “ludicrous”.

As a result, she moans, there are snarl-ups every morning and evening. According to her, an expansion of the road, with an accelerating and decelerating lane at that point would have sufficed.

Her contact is njoroge.mumbi@gmail.com.

**********

MISSING PARCELS: Nairobi resident Shainaz Khan is worried that her two book parcels sent from the Good Book Guide of the UK over five months ago, have not been delivered.

Her enquiries at the Village Market Post Office have yielded nothing, and she now wonders whether other GBG members have experienced a similar problem. “If the parcels have been seized by Customs for VAT, I wish to inform them that the invoice is tucked under the address label.”

Her contact is shainazkhan302@gmail.com.

*********

MATATU STAGE: Nothing upsets Mombasa resident Nancy Kamugane more than having to wake up every morning to go to work, only to be frustrated by traffic police and county askaris on Nyali Road.

“We are confused as we don’t know where the matatu stage is supposed to be. Every morning we are taken to a different place to board matatus from Kongowea Market. We are forced to wait for 30 minutes for the matatus. Are we being mistreated because we are poor?”

Her contact is nancyw112@gmail.com.

*********

LOST CAUSE: Having keenly followed the “Bring-back-our-girls” campaign that featured American First Lady Michelle Obama, Pauline Atieno is disappointed that the attempt to free the 200 girls abducted by Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants has gone rather cold.

She poses: “How come the drive seems to have suffered the nine-day wonder syndrome! Or have they resigned themselves to bringing back grandmothers some day?”

Her contact is paulacoguna@gmail.com.

Have a hopeful day, won’t you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

CASH-LESS FEE EXPLAINED: Nairobi County’s new cashless system for parking fee payment allows the use of M-Pesa, Airtel Money and 20 other electronic methods, Jambo Pay CEO Danson Muchemi clarifies.

Users create an account on their phones by dialling *217# or signing up at http://epayments.nairobi.go.ke. One can top up using any mobile money options, Visa, MasterCard and various banks.

“The system is convenient as parking and other bills can now be paid through the phone.” He can be reached on Tel. 0709920000 or dmuchemi@webtribe.co.ke for details.

***********

EDUCATE CROOKED COP: There is crooked traffic policeman on a motorbike who has been preying on motorists between the entrance to the National Assembly and the Parliament Police Station in Nairobi, Quince Viraj reports.

He will, for example, insist that at the roundabout, drivers indicate the direction in which they are going. “Can someone drum into his head that vehicles at a roundabout have the right of way and it is impossible to indicate where one will exit. Another officer openly solicits bribes.”

***********

WHOSE BUILDING IS THIS? Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu has been doing a commendable job at Ardhi House, notes David Jasondu.

However, he wishes she could liaise with the city government to establish whether a huge building coming up at the intersection of Mbagathi and Langata roads, directly opposite T-Mall, was officially cleared.

“The property is just next to a roundabout and touches on a river bank at a location that was clearly demarcated as riparian land. “Its allocation is a mystery that Ngilu and Governor Evans Kidero should help unravel?”

***********

DISTRESSED: For how long will motorists and pedestrians continue to suffer the consequences of the frequent clashes between hawkers and the Nairobi City County askaris at Ngara? asks Damaris Ngigi.

Quite often, she moans, motorists suddenly get caught up in the mayhem with their cars getting stoned though they have no idea about the cause of the conflict. As they swallow teargas, nearby schools are also affected. Who will put an end to this impunity? She wants to know.

***********

WRONG PRIORITY: Mt Kenya University’s idea of building latrines at a cost of Sh1 million for the people displaced by post-election violence may sound like a good corporate social responsibility project, but it is ridiculous, considering that what they need most is something to put in their stomachs, says Phoebe Okullu.

According to her, the priority should have been a programme to boost the IDPs’ economic status “so they can build their own latrines”.

Her contact is okulluphoebe@gmail.com.

***********

STANDARDISE BUMPS: Bumps being erected on roads in densely populated areas should be standardised as part of efforts to boost safety, urges Naro Moru resident T.B. Muckle.

He adds: “The shape and dimensions of all future bumps should be made so that they allow a vehicle to go over smoothly at low speed, but create severe jarring when one is speeding. The second step is to mark them with quality paint for longevity and good visibility, particularly for first-time drivers at night and in the rain.”

Have a secure day, won’t you!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WHAT A SHAME! It is wrong, idiotic, and a mark of backwardness to heckle a national leader, says Wambua Musembi, upset about the ugly scenes in Migori on Monday, where rowdy youths disrupted President Kenyatta’s rally.

Terribly embarrassed at the shameless show, Wambua adds: “I might not agree with you, but I must respect your opinion and make a decision based on my assessment of your credibility. What happened is not only in bad taste, but also totally against our traditional respect for leaders.”

His contact is fwmusembi@gmail.com.

**********

STOP THIS IMMATURITY. Also appalled at the behaviour of the youths in Migori is Paul Otieno, who sees this as a demonstration of political immaturity.

Says he: “In a sound democracy, if one has views contrary to those of leaders holding a political gathering, then one should not attend that meeting.”

In a politically sound system, he adds, it would “be advisable for one to hold a parallel rally or protest elsewhere because the convenors of the meeting have a right to express themselves uninterrupted.”

His contact is Paul.Otieno@dvn.com.

**********

A LESSON FOR OUR LEADERS. British politician Mark Simmonds recently resigned as Foreign Office minister and MP because he felt the salary and allowances were not enough for his family’s upkeep in London, notes Njuguna Maitiri, adding that there is a lesson here for Kenyan leaders.

“If the senators who are clamouring for higher pay honestly believe they are poorly remunerated, they should ship out and pave the way for those willing to work within the current salary scales.”

His contact is nsmatlaw@gmail.com.

**********

AGONY OF PAYING TAX. The Kenya Revenue Authority must do better to ease the payment of taxes, urges Michael Nyangi, unhappy about the delay in issuing him with a Personal Identification Number for an investment company.

Nyangi applied in April, and nearly five months later, the certificate has not been issued and he continues to suffer needless agony.

If the bosses at the KRA headquarters in Nairobi can spare some time to speed up the processing, the reference is KRA201400078568 and the company’s contact, gatundu.fifty@gmail.

**********

THE RIGHT THING. Though the blowing up and sinking of the drugs-laden ship in the Indian Ocean in Mombasa witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta was an act in contempt of court, it was the right thing to do, says Joe Macharia.

According to him, the benefits, including the increased stature of Kenya in the eyes of the international community in the war against drugs, “outweigh the disadvantages of the action”.

He is, therefore, appealing to the opposition to “look at the bigger picture and stop blowing the matter out of proportion”.

His contact is joemacharia@yahoo.com.

**********

IT IS THE WAY TO GO. The criticism of the Nairobi City County’s new e-payment system is out of ignorance, says Victor Oyango, writing from Accra.

The complainant, he adds, was wrong to claim that for one to top up and be able to use the system, one must visit a Cooperative Bank branch.

“I live in Accra and I am able to top up my Nairobi County wallet using M-Pesa paybill No. 147147 or Airtel Mobile Money. Kudos, NCC! The critic should get serious and move with the times.”

Victor’s contact is victor.oyango@gmail.com.

Have an e-compliant day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

DOUBLE STANDARDS. Though happy that the stolen presidential limousine has finally been brought back to Nairobi from Uganda, Shisanya Majanja says this confirms the double standards that have, sadly, become the hallmark of the Kenya Police Service.

“The zeal with which the police went about recovering the limo is admirable. They can actually do it! But when it comes to Wanjiku losing her wheelbarrow, where are they? I wonder if they asked the President for fuel before embarking on the hunt. We are all taxpayers, you know!”

His contact is trackers05@yahoo.com.

**********

LOST OPPORTUNITY. While the recent destruction and sinking into the Indian Ocean of the hard drug-laden ship at a ceremony witnessed by President Kenyatta signalled the government’s resolve and tough commitment to fighting the menace, it has just ended up being a wasted opportunity, says Paul V. Otieno.

The government, he adds, could have destroyed the drugs but spared the ship. “I would rather the police seized the assets of drug dealers and poachers, auction them, and use the funds to combat crime.”

**********

PAVE THIS ROAD. Kenya Railways built the new Imara Daima Station, hoping to earn money from it, but it needs to do more to realise this, says Maina Muchara.

Though the station is clean and the compound paved, he adds, accessing it is a nightmare, especially when it rains as the road becomes a mud bath!

“The station is only 800 metres from the tarmacked Tecla Loroupe Road. Why not tarmac this short stretch to encourage more people to use the station? They could bring in Kenya Power, which is constructing a base station just next to it.”

His contact is mainamuchara@gmail.com.

**********

CALLING LANGUAGE GURUS. As the season for university graduation ceremonies is here again, with the learners being granted the power to read, Silas Nyambok is calling on English language gurus to unravel an issue that has preoccupied his mind for quite a while.

“Can anyone explain why degrees are ‘awarded’ and diplomas ‘conferred’? Is it wrong to confer a degree and award diploma?” he asks.

After consulting some dictionaries, he adds, his view is that the two can be used interchangeably as they are synonyms.

His contact is ogutawinyo@yahoo.com.

**********

PLEASE HELP. Calling Safaricom is Purity Mwangi, a resident of Kahawa Sukari, just off the Thika superhighway, who cannot enjoy its services because of poor network coverage.

Purity says she has failed to catch Safaricom’s attention via email to boost the area’s network coverage, “which has lately become nil”.

She no longer can use her modem in her house for internet service. “Please ease our communication as we must step out of the houses to call.”

Her number is 0722302900. She can also be reached through wanjirupk2006@yahoo.com.

**********

THIS IS ILLEGAL. The latest trend in which people who feel aggrieved about something block highways is dangerous, unlawful, and inconsiderate, remarks Wanjiru Ciira.

She cites the Narok-Mai Mahiu road protest against deaths from illicit liquor. And a few months ago, she adds, some parents blocked the Nyeri highway to protest the death of a private school pupil.

She warns: “It is criminal to interfere with other people’s freedom of movement. Protesters should only direct their anger at those concerned with their grievance.”

Her contact is wanciira@yahoo.com.

Have a reasonable day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax 2213946

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

ONLY ONE SENSIBLE PLEBISCITE: The only referendum the country needs is for reducing the number of counties from 47 to eight, remarks Macharia Kimani.

He would also like the number of senators reduced to eight and to have only eight women’s representatives, or to have the position scrapped altogether.

To further cut the bloated system, Kimani proposes the reduction of constituencies to 20 per county, to create a total of 160. And the number of MCAs should be slashed.

********

MISUSE OF MONEY: Devolution is the best thing that has happened to Kenya since independence, says Dr George Michuki, noting that transformation is underway in all counties.

However, he is appalled by the rampant wastage in the devolved units, especially the heavy spending on furniture, red carpets, communication gadgets, and so on, which “add no value to the ordinary Kenyan”. Leadership, he adds, is about service and humility, not the comfort of the office holders.

Dr Michuki’s e-mail address is mikinduri2002@yahoo.com.

********

SUMMON BACK GRADUATES: Just like General Motors and Toyota Motor Corporation recall cars to sort out technical problems detected after sale, universities may soon be forced to invite back graduates to sharpen their skills and make them more employable, says Father Eugene Birrer, a Swiss missionary: “After graduation, many don’t find jobs because their knowledge and skills are not marketable. They may have to go back and learn the professions that are now occupied by people from India, China or the West”.

His e-mail address is narap@iconnect.co.ke.

********

A THING TO SMILE ABOUT: The decision to give the City Market a Sh100 million facelift is the best news ever for its scores of vendors and thousands of shoppers, says Dr Sat Ramrakha.

And he is grateful to Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero as well as industrialist and philanthropist Manu Chandaria for the plan to create a more hygienic environment for the sale of fresh vegetables and other groceries.

“This is music to the ears of residents who will, once it is completed, buy and consume the food without fear of infection,” he says.

His e-mail address is satramrakha@gmail.com.

*********

EMBARRASSMENT: Martin Ndila says it is a crying shame that right at the entrance of Tassia Estate in Nairobi, where he lives, the access road is almost impassable, having been flooded with muddy water and a murky discharge from a blocked sewer.

He cannot understand why whoever is responsible for its maintenance, be it the city county government or Kenya Urban Roads Authority, has turned a blind eye to the eyesore, masking a possible cholera outbreak.

Ndila’s e-mail address is ndilamathew@gmail.com.

*********

OLD SPEED LIMITS: There is no point in having five-lane highways and cars with engines above 1500cc “with speed limits set at archaic levels”, remarks David Mwangi, stunned by the latest crackdown on motorists in Nairobi.

According to him, many accidents occur when some drivers attempt to overtake slow-moving vehicles. He cites, as an example, developed countries in which it is a crime to drive below set speeds on specific lanes and some highways.

Mwangi’s e-mail address is david.mck.dm@gmail.com.

*********

THEY'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING: The 50km speed limit being enforced in Nairobi poses a grave risk, warns Jane Muthoni. “Imagine trying to avoid being hit from the back while driving at that speed on Mbagathi Way,” she says.

On Mombasa Road, she observes, this is causing mayhem, as motorists try “not to overtake one another even in clear traffic”. Muthoni laments that it is “no longer possible to gain the time lost in traffic”. She hopes “they are taking the statistics to evaluate in a couple months’ time to see whether it works”.

Her e-mail address is is janemuthoni711@gmail.com.

 Have a rational day, won’t you!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WRONG PRIORITIES. The government’s proposal to splash billions of shillings on MCAs is annoying, considering that it has failed to pay teachers’ outstanding dues for years, says Charles Mwabili.

That Sh12 billion can be found to please politicians and not the teachers, who mould productive future citizens through education, is something Charles cannot take.

“Teachers have every reason to believe that they can only get money out of the government by going on strike.”

His contact is cmwabili@yahoo.co.uk.

*********

TRAFFIC JAM. The National Transport Safety Authority has been collecting millions of shillings from traffic offenders in its latest crackdown, notes Ben Njenga, adding: “But the law of reciprocity demands that when a driver is held up for hours in a traffic jam, he also should demand some compensation from them for failing to ensure an efficient traffic flow.”

The authority, county government and Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau should seek an urgent solution to the perennial traffic jams.

His contact is bnjenga77@gmail.com.

*********

ATTRACTING TOURISTS. The Kenya Tourism Board, D. Njuguna Kinyanjui says, is lagging behind its Tanzanian counterpart, which for several years now, has been advertising and getting the attention of the millions of soccer fans who religiously follow the English Premier League matches on TV.

The Tanzanians, he adds, place advertisements on their tourist attractions in prime locations in the stadiums used by the Barclays Premier League. Kenyans should follow suit.

His contact is kdnjuguna@yahoo.com.

*********

TICKET THIEVES. This is a scandal, yells Dr S. Wabwire, who on leaving the parking at the JKIA, Nairobi, on August 31, was told to pay Sh1,500, but on reaching home and looking at the ticket again, was shocked to find that he had been ripped off. The ticket indicated clearly that he had paid only Sh90.

“The chaps made a cool Sh1,400 from me.” But Dr Wabwire won’t let this one pass.

He is appealing to the firm that provides the ticketing service and the Kenya Airports Authority to get in touch with him for the details.

His contact is wabsil@yahoo.com.

*********

TRAFFIC OFFENDERS. Kiambu Road has become a zone for rampant overlapping during rush hour by public service vehicles and private car drivers, says Anne Mbugua.

The government, she adds, is letting an opportunity to rake in revenue go by failing to slap the traffic offenders with heavy fines.

Enough money, she adds, could be raised to pay the striking doctors and nurses.

“Law-abiding motorists are harassed and get home late. Please, sell this idea to the government.”

Her contact is njerimbu@gmail.com.

Have an orderly day, won’t you!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

GREAT IDEA: The introduction of an e-payment system in Nairobi County is a great idea, says Victor Oyango, extolling the convenience people wishing to pay their rates, levies, and other fees now enjoy.

Though based in Accra, Ghana, Oyango says he is able to pay the land rates for his property and his account is updated instantly. “Previously, I would have to ask someone to go to City Hall and queue to pay for me.

This is definitely the right path to a brighter future and kudos to them!” His contact is victor.oyango@gmail.com.

**********

TAKE THE GARBAGE AWAY: Garbage has become a menace in Nairobi, remarks Iqbal Omar, urging Governor Evans Kidero to intervene. The recently built Eastern Bypass, he adds, has attracted several businesses, especially eating houses, and the result is that roadsides have been turned into dumping sites.

“Garbage is dumped every few metres. The governor must find a solution to keep the city clean. Cities around the world have proper garbage disposal systems. China, with almost a billion people, earns revenue from this.” His contact is iqbal.omar@hotmail.com.

**********

SHAMELESS VANDALS: The city authorities not long ago spent a tidy sum of money to install a razor wire between the Fig Tree Hotel and the footbridge to City Primary School, which hawkers have vandalised, reports Evans Macharia.

This, he adds, is the consequence of failing to take the bull by the horns.

The solution, Evans adds, is to remove the hawkers from the area. “They should stop wasting money as the hawkers removed the fence simply because they did not want to use the footbridge over the busy highway.” His contact is evans_macharia@yahoo.com.

**********

MONEY CAN'T BUY ME LOVE: Now that MCAs want their spouses to be “paid or compensated for being lonely”, Dr Samwel Oresi asks: “What will they do with the money? Will they buy company with the money?

I guess their wives will now afford to purchase the company of younger men, gardeners, and watchmen. The fact that most of these MCAs are illiterate is coming out, as they don’t seem to know that money is not everything. Money can buy you a bed but not sleep!” His contact is samwelnyaguchaoresi@yahoo.com.

**********

STATE OF CHAOS: Nothing saddens George Gitau like watching boda boda (motor cycle) riders hurtling at full speed on the wrong side of the road or on pavements while overloaded. Handcart pushers, too, will be outwitting one another as pedestrians cross at the wrong spot.

Worse, he adds, are hawkers who have encroached on Moi Avenue opposite Ambassadeur Hotel. The authorities, he pleads, must crack down on these people who break rules and endanger other people’s lives under the noses of traffic police and county askaris.

His contact is gitsangele@yahoo.com.

**********

IS THIS PUNISHMENT? Are the people of Kisumu County being targeted for punishment for supporting the call for a referendum? asks Oketch Aoko Richard. “Going by the rhetoric from some people, this seems to be the new ‘ebola’.

We feel we are being punished for being in a pro-referendum region.” And for evidence, he cites “the countless police roadblocks and daily mobile courts on all major roads, Alcoblow/money-minting police checks, and the steady rise in the crime wave.” His contact is oketaokoh@yahoo.com.

Have a curious day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Cutting Edge - Wednesday September 3, 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

MOVE WITH THE TIMES. The 80kmh speed limit for matatus “is very slow and does not make economic sense”, remarks economist X.N. Iraki.

According to the university don, the limit was set when cars had carburettors and no ABS brakes.

“We have put a speed limit of 100km/h even on superhighways. Life is getting faster everywhere else except on our roads. Do we realise how much we slow down the economy with such limits? What is more annoying is our zealousness in making laws on technology, yet we produce none of these technologies.”

His contact is xniraki@gmail.com.

**********

WELL DONE, KCB! All is well that ends well, the saying goes, and it could not have been more appropriate for KCB shareholder Wamahiu Muya, who is based in the United States.

A problem that has nagged him for three years has finally been sorted out. Thanks to the intervention of CEO Joshua Oigara, he adds, his share certificates have been converted into a CDS account.

He is also grateful to KCB Contact Centre, Nairobi, official Jane Makale and Peter Mbau “for making sure the problem was resolved”.

He quips: “That is the way to go, KCB!” His contact is muya@optonline.net.

**********

CURIOUS ROAD PROJECT. Some time back, the Kenya Urban Roads Authority put up a billboard indicating the completion of the Mtindwa Road project at Umoja in Nairobi’s Eastlands as August 2014, and yet to date, the contractor has not arrived on the site, says Joseph Ndung’u.

With the date having elapsed, Joseph is curious to know if Kura will revise the deadline.

“The road now looks like a cattle track. Does Kura monitor and supervise its projects to ensure their completion?” His contact is ndousch@gmail.com.

**********

MUCH ADO ABOUT PARKING FEES. While welcoming the new cashless payment for parking in Nairobi’s city centre, Ebenezer has some serious reservations about the operation.

He tried to register using the code *217# and was simply put off by the “incredible amount of personal information required”.

On entering his name, he was prompted to put in his national ID card and phone numbers, date of birth, and address, “basically all the information needed to steal your identity when all I want is to pay for parking”.

His contact is mamuliti@outlook.com.

**********

WATER SHORTAGE WOES. Nairobi Water Company is giving customers in its southern region a raw deal, moans Abdikani Ahmed, accusing some of the firm’s unscrupulous employees of sabotaging supply for their personal gain.

Abdikani, a businessman on Ngong Road, says one cannot fail to see the apparent connection between the lack of water in their taps and the flourishing business of water vendors.

He hopes management will seriously look into the problem.

His contact is Tel 0728598227 or abdikani@nextautozone.co.ke.

**********

YES, THERE'S A LOT IN A NAME. Job Momanyi says he has an answer to the perennial question: What is in a name?

“It is the rather peculiar link between some people’s names and their destiny in life. Arsenal Football Club’s coach is Arsene Wenger, Man City former coach is Roberto Mancini and the President of Kenya is Kenyatta.

One of the wealthiest Kenyans is Kuria Kanyingi and the US President is Barack (baraka) Obama.”

And sadly, Kwekwe, the name of the Kwale girl killed by police, was also the name of a police squad that liquidated outlaws.

His contact is jobmomanyi@yahoo.com.

Have a meaningful day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax 2213946

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

THEY’RE DRIVING US NUTS: The National Transport Safety Board and Nema should crack down on the noisy minibuses plying the Kawangware Route 46, Nairobi, urges Wilson Karuri.

The matatus, he reports, are fitted with horns that are so loud that “they could make an elephant deaf”.

The cacophony, Wilson adds, begins at 4.30 a.m. daily, waking up entire neighbourhoods.

“We have had peaceful and silent mornings for years, so why are these new operators being allowed to break the law with impunity?” His contact is wilsonkaruri@gmail.com.

**********

IT’S NOTHING UNUSUAL: The fellows who, after failing to attend funeral services, ask about what may have transpired do so in good faith, says Antony Njugi.

“When they ask, ‘How did it go?’, it is out of curiosity or remorse,” Antony adds. According to him, “many things are bound to happen, especially in the western region, where the dead sometimes “refuse to go, forcing the mourners to whip the bodies”.

Without giving any evidence, he insists that it is, “indeed, a true story”. His contact is antonynjugi@gmail.com.

**********

PLEASE, NOT FAMILY PROPERTY: Though not opposed to the reintroduction of the Capital Gains Tax, Isaac Githuthu has a word of caution, and he sincerely hopes President Uhuru Kenyatta and the National Assembly will seriously consider it.

The tax, he pleads, should not be levied on family properties, especially when sharing out inheritance. Also, he urges, it should not apply to family residential houses when transferred from one spouse to another.

“The Bill is bound to create endless family wrangles.” His contact is githuthu@wananchi.com.

**********

SCARY PLACE OF WORSHIP: The most surprising thing Stephen Ngure has seen lately, he says, is the extraordinary security measures taken at St Stephen’s Cathedral on Jogoo Road, Nairobi, which he finds rather unusual for a place of worship.

“There is a high perimeter wall, complete with razor wire, an electric fence and a CCTV camera at the gate, and a security guard to boot. What would thieves hope to steal from this humble place of prayer? It looks scary!”

His contact is ngurekabau@gmail.com.

**********

OPEN HAZARD: That there is plenty of work for the Nairobi City County government authorities to do is not in doubt, says Kelvin Keya. But what he finds more irritating is the petty pilferage that has left many manholes, even in the central business district, without covers.

One potentially dangerous one, he adds, is to be found at the junction of Tom Mboya Street and Lagos Road. “There are many other trenches and potholes that pose a threat to pedestrians.”

His contact is keyakelvin@gmail.com.

**********

A customer’s cry: On May 3, N. Waweru received a text message on his Safaricom line, informing him that he would be receiving free Bible quotations “for your own benefit”.

But soon afterwards, he noticed that he was losing Sh15 in airtime on receiving a quotation. Since then, he has been pleading with Safaricom’s customer care on No. 100 to discontinue the service, to no avail.

And as a result, he continues to lose money. “To date, this service that I didn’t want has cost me more than Sh1,000.” His number is 0721381783.

**********

DUBIOUS DISTINCTION: One of Nairobi poshest residential areas, Kileleshwa is, ironically, also served by some of the “oldest and dirtiest” matatus in the entire metropolis, says Dr Jeremiah Akumu.

This, he adds, is apparently the dubious distinction of all the matatus that ply the Kileleshwa No. 48A route, taking commuters from the estate to the city centre and back.

“Can anyone dispute this?” poses Dr Akumu, whose contact is drakumu2009@gmail.com.

Have a comfortable day, won’t you!

watchman@ke.nationmedia.com; PO Box 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax: (20) 2213946

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WHAT'S IN A NAME? Some members of the Senate and the National Assembly have “really colourful names,” notes Patrick Mbataru, adding that central Kenya has very good examples of these.

Patrick cites Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria (Mwangi of Milk) and Kiambu Senator Patrick Kimani Wamatangi (a dealer in water tanks), adding: “But the most curious of all is Kieni MP’s Kanini Kega, which loosely translates into, ‘Small is beautiful.”

His contact is pmbataru@gmail.com.

**********

CRUCIAL MEAL. Whoever came up with the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, has never slept hungry”, remarks Gitonga Muriithi.

According to him, “it’s such a mediocre saying and very un-African to be precise”. Supper or dinner, as it is sometimes called, he declares, “is the most important meal of the day as one gets a good night’s sleep, which is very essential in starting a new day in the morning”.

His contact is samg82@ymail.com.

**********

POWER BILLS. Kenya Power needs money, so why would it frustrate a customer who likes to pay his bills in full and on time? Isaac Githuthu says the power utility is no longer as efficient as it was a few years ago.

“I used to get my bills for accounts 2006924-2 and 2037555-1 regularly but no longer do. So tell me, how do I plan my monthly payments?”

A disappointed Githuthu hopes the matter will be rectified as soon as possible. His contact is githuthu@wananchi.com.

**********

OFFICERS' MESS. The hallmark of the military is smart uniforms and nicely polished shoes, completing a neat picture, says Ibrahim Hassan, adding that one would expect them to have beautiful homes as well, but that is not the case.

At Mugoya Estate in Nairobi South ‘C’, where some senior military officers live, he claims, the houses are in a “pathetic state, the drains dirty and the gardens not tended”, unlike other houses in the neighbourhood.

“The offices deserve better than this,” says Ibrahim, whose contact is abetternairobi@gmail.com.

**********

HIGHWAY CODE. Over the years, Benjamin Ashuma notes, the rule of the road for pedestrians has always been, “Look right, then left, then right again, and cross the road”, which should now give way, with the advent of overpasses, footbridges and flyovers.

According to him, it is time to push counties to build safe road crossing avenues. “Unless this is done, we shall continue to see pedestrians dying even on the zebra crossing,” warns Benjamin, whose contact is xbenjy@gmail.com.

Have stylish day, won’t you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Cutting Edge

While the formal money lending industry is regulated by the Central bank of Kenya,  informal money lenders, such as shylocks, are not regulated. PHOTO/DENISH OCHIENG

While the formal money lending industry is regulated by the Central bank of Kenya, informal money lenders, such as shylocks, are not regulated. PHOTO/DENISH OCHIENG  NATION

THIS IS A SHYLOCK. As the government tries to rein in commercial banks that have been milking their customers dry with high interest rates, Peter Wanyama says it should not turn a blind eye to its own financial organisations that engage in similar exploitation.

The Kenya Industrial Estates, for instance, increases the cost of loans with high levies and administrative charges, including valuation fees, “and takes ages to disburse loans even after deducting the fees”. He yells: “We are being fleeced.” His contact is peterwanyama75@yahoo.com.

**********

KUDO WATCHIE! Nairobi resident Agnes Wahome, who complained about a pothole bang in the middle of Uhuru Highway opposite one of the newest and best hotels in the metropolis, Villa Rosa Kempinski, is elated at the quick response by the county authorities. Says she: “Thanks Watchie for highlighting this. It has been done fast, and I hope it is just a quick fix and that full repairs on the road will be carried out as soon as possible.”

**********

STRANGE OFFERS. The problem of “funny choices” forced on students admitted to public universities is widespread. Peter Murigi says his son also scored an A- in last year’s KCSE exam, “with a strong showing in the sciences”.

He wished to study Computer Science, but was offered “an unspecified diploma course”. Peter then wrote to the Education Cabinet Secretary and the young man was offered a BSc course in Environmental Science that he won’t be taking up. His contact is petermurigi41@gmail.com.

*********

GRADE A - TOO LOW. Not impressed by some parents’ complaints about their children being denied admission to prime university courses, Martin Makundi says a Grade A- in the KCSE exam is “too low for Engineering”.

He adds: “Much as I empathise with them, the competition is so stiff that it is hard for a male student without a straight A to land a prestigious degree course such as Medicine, Computer Science and Engineering. For the girls, the bar is a little lower. And, after all, there are far too many As these days!” His contact is makundih@yahoo.com.

*********

DRIVING A NIGHTMARE. Driving along James Gichuru road at Westlands, Nairobi, in the evenings is a nightmare, moans Ken Oketch, pointing the finger at the recklessly driven matatus. The drivers, he adds, have been flouting traffic rules by overlapping and carrying excess passengers, and anyone who complains is forced to alight. But, ironically, this plays out even in front of the gate to Muthangari Police Station. For the details, Ken can be reached through kennoketch@yahoo.com.

*********

HOW WAS THE FUNERAL. ? To the growing list of the peculiar habits of Kenyans, Catherine Njoroge is adding the weird conduct of mourners. Says she: “How is one supposed to reply when one goes to a funeral service, and those who did not attend later ask one: ‘How was it?’ ” She has been asked that question numerous times and she wonders what answer one expects, when it is obvious that such an occasion will be “mournful and sombre”. Her contact is wairiche@yahoo.com.
Have a solemn day, won’t you!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

A JOB WELL DONE. A resident of Dagoretti North in Nairobi, Ronald Osiemo, is impressed with the construction of roads as it has opened up the Kawangware area.

Muthiora Road and the Gitanga to Stage 2 and Amboseli roads, he adds, had been impassable for years, but since they were rehabilitated, matatus have been using them, easing transportation for the residents.

“I hope MP Simba Arati and his CDF team will fix other roads as well. Thanks for a job well-done.” His contact is ronosiemo@gmail.com.

**********

STRENGTHEN BRIDGE. The Lodwar Bridge which was constructed during the colonial era, Patrick Ikaale says, still looks “firm and strong”. However, he feels it is not adequate, considering the increased use with more vehicles now plying that route.

“It is so narrow that it cannot accommodate two vehicles going in opposite directions, and pedestrians.” But even more worrying, he adds, is that age could be beginning to take its toll on the bridge, as it makes an unusual sound when stepped on.

He wants the bridge fixed.

**********

EXCELLENT FINISH. Giving credit where it is due in the Nairobi County is Joseph Kiragu who says the contractor working on the pedestrian walkway along Haile Selassie Avenue from the Railway Club towards Upper Hill is doing a superb job.

Though the work has not been completed, Kiragu is pleased with the excellent and attractive finish.

However, he is worried that as soon as it is completed, the fellows who dig up roads to lay cables will arrive and mess it up. “I hope not!”

**********

WHAT ARE THE LIGHTS FOR? Since the new traffic lights installed at roundabouts in Nairobi are not being used as police officers continue to man them just like before, Rita Njiru says top city county officials must be surcharged to recover the money being needlessly spent on the electricity to power them.

This, she adds, is the only way to get the county bosses to prevent wastage of tax and ratepayers’ money. If it is the case that the lights cannot be used, she proposes that they be switched off.

Her contact is njiru_rita@yahoo.com.

**********

NEGLECTED ABROAD. Following a complaint to Watchie last November about delays in paying the stipends of some Kenyan PhD students in Germany, one says the allowance was paid almost immediately.

But the situation, he claims, has got worse, and he is accusing the Kenyan Embassy in Berlin of neglecting students on the DAAD/NACOSTI scholarships in Germany.

“We are a frustrated lot as we have not received this month’s allowance and efforts to contact the embassy have been met with insults.”

**********

DECEIVED BY ADVERT. Attracted by an advertisement and keen to spruce up her looks, Mary Muthoni bought a curling hair chemical that she now regrets ever putting on her head.

Says she: “It felt very itchy after I used the chemical and my hair is now falling off. I need help. I am upset that manufacturers advertise products that people desperately go for and yet they are not the best.”

If anyone can assist Muthoni, her contact is muthonimary28@yahoo.com.

Have a hair-raising day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WHY ARE FUEL BILLS SO HIGH? The Energy Regulatory Commission must be working against the interest of ordinary Kenyans, charges Christopher Kibiwott. And for the evidence, he cites the high fuel prices.

The price of petrol, diesel and kerosene at the pump has been rising for quite a while now yet the cost of crude oil on the international market has dropped.

His second example is the cost of electricity, which, he claims, “is too high”. Where is the consumer federation? asks Christopher.

**********

ADMISSIONS STRANGE. Something is terribly wrong with the system of admission to public universities, says Nyaga Njuki, giving his own son’s example.

The young man scored an A- in last year’s KCSE exam, his worst subject being a B+. He had hoped to study either civil, electrical, electronic engineering or computer science.

To his utter surprise, he was offered a tourism management course. “The board does not seem to consider students’ career choices or even follow the cluster points.”

His contact is njukibennyaga@gmail.com.

**********

KP, EXPLAIN BILLING. Back home after a stint abroad, Andrew Munyua was pleased to find that prepaid electricity meters had been introduced, as they are convenient to use. However, he is baffled by the billing.

On August 9, he paid Sh1,000 for 58.9 tokens, and was encouraged to spend more.

But on forking out Sh3,000, he got only 117.5 units. On enquiring why he didn’t get three times more, he was told the “more you spend the less you get”.

Can Kenya Power shed some light on this. His contact is 0721394625 or andrewmunyua@ymail.com.

**********

IRONIC DEMAND. The height of irony in Cord’s push for a referendum, Benjamin Maira says, is the fact that the IEBC, which is also a subject of their bid, will have to approve the vote.

And Cord principal Raila Odinga, Benjamin adds, has been only too eager to announce that the IEBC has already given its okay, and yet one of the key issues is its abolition.

“It is like a person signing his own death warrant,” he quips. His contact is benjaminmaira0@gmail.com.

**********

KU, SPRUCE UP THIS SCHOOL. Driving along the Thika Superhighway past Kenyatta University’s Main Campus, one cannot fail to see the many magnificent new buildings that have come up in recent years, says S. Njeru.

However, she adds, they stand in stark contrast to the rather drab and “unattractive Kenyatta University Primary School buildings”.

She wonders why the university cannot extend its corporate social responsibility to give the school a fresh coat of paint and refurbish its playground to “put a smile on the pupils’ faces”!

**********

BAD BOYS OF SOCCER. Confessing from the outset that he is not a football fan, Barre Shetto gives himself away with an obvious indication that he has been keenly following the English Premier League footballers’ transfer news in the ongoing season.

He says he cannot help faulting Liverpool Football Club for its tendency to sign the bad boys of the game. “There was Senegalese star Alhaji Diouf who was notorious for spitting on his opponents, and the biter, Luis Suarez. The latest is the volatile Mario Balotelli.”

Have a sporting day. Won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

BANKS SHYLOCKING. Most commercial banks are reaping where they have not sown, it seems!

According to Evans Macharia, the Central Bank has totally failed to rein in the greedy banks which continue to manipulate the exchange rate, “milking their customers dry!”

A bank, he adds, will, for instance, receive a customer’s dollars and exchange it at Sh82 each, but will sell it at Sh90, pocketing the huge difference.

“No wonder they keep posting billions of shillings in profits year in, year out.”

**********

WAKE UP KIDERO. Nairobi, which many had expected Governor Evans Kidero and his team to put a shine on, is getting dirtier by the day, remarks Chris Wasike.

In many places, including prime residential estates and the city centre, street lights no longer work, garbage is hardly collected and the standard of education in public schools is plummeting.

Chris is also worried about horrendous traffic jams and other shortcomings. “We need career civil servants to be given a free hand to put things rights.”

**********

SOUTH ‘B’ ROTTING. Once a neat residential area with a nice shopping centre, Nairobi South ‘B’ is a pale shadow of its former self, says Patricia Ndewa.

Heaps of rotting garbage that have not been collected for several weeks are all over the place, with the stench making life difficult for the traders and shoppers.

She is, therefore, disappointed that the Kidero team has only been obsessed with raising council rates and levies since coming into office over a year ago. “How can they justify the increases with such poor services?”

**********

AN ACT OF KINDNESS. But it is not all doom and gloom at Nairobi South ‘B’ as Joyce Njeri witnessed recently, thanks to the action of one young man.

Joyce was in a matatu which was stuck in jam and there was a woman, whose child was so thirsty that he kept crying for water. The man got out of the matatu, ran to a shop at a nearby petrol station and returned with a bottle of water for the child.

“It was a selfless act. I wish others could emulate his example instead keeping aloof when fellow Kenyans are suffering.”

**********

THIKA ROADS PATHETIC. Thika Town and its environs are synonymous with pathetic roads, moans Arthur Rubia, adding that the cries of the town’s residents have fallen on deaf ears.

The residents have to contend with horrible traffic jams.

Should the proposed referendum take off, he adds, the authorities should be prepared for a mighty show of displeasure by the people over the lack of proper roads, other amenities and essential services.

**********

THE CATS WILL BE SAFE. Why all the hullabaloo about Kenya donating a few lions to Rwanda? asks George Gathu, adding that this would have been an issue if those complaining could prove the animals would be mistreated on arrival in their new home.

But it would be even better, George adds, to have some kind of exchange, where Kenya receives some mountain gorillas which are a major tourist attraction in Rwanda.

The ideal place for the gorillas, according to him is the Mt Kenya National Park.

Have an attractive day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

A PECULIAR BROOD: Kenyans will always be a rather peculiar lot, remarks Dr S.N. Oresi, amused that some Jubilee politicians are reportedly planning to amend the Constitution to have the presidential age limit set at 65, just to lock out one person, Cord co-principal Raila Odinga.

“Why focus on an individual when dealing with a national issue? Will they amend the Constitution again when their preferred candidate attains that age? Leadership requires wisdom, which is abundant in old age.”

His contact is samwelnyaguchaoresi@yahoo.com.

**********

BRING BACK OUR CITY: Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and his team are increasingly losing control of the capital, especially in the central business district, claims John Njau.

Part of his evidence, he adds, is the matatus and taxis “taking over almost all the available parking slots in the city centre, and Tom Mboya Street becoming a no-go zone for motorists due to insane traffic jams or some shoddy road repairs by contractors.”

He pleads: “Can, we, please, see some action to reclaim our city?” His contact is john_njau@yahoo.com.

**********

ITCHING FOR ANSWERS: Human behaviour can be quite amazing, remarks Barre Shetto, wishing the gurus could explain some actions people engage in without thinking very much about them and their real necessity.

He, for instance, is curious to know why people often scratch their heads when in deep thought or in search of an instant solution to a solution.

“Is it a primordial urge or are our brains literally itching to get an answer? I would really want to know the scientific or medical explanation of this phenomenon.”

His contact is alibarre@hotmail.com.

**********

CONSTANT DANGER: Having witnessed an accident on Mbagathi Way, Nairobi, in which a lorry carrying sand damaged nine cars in a traffic jam at 5 p.m. on Thursday, C. Chabeda wonders whether the roadworthiness of these heavy commercial vehicles is ever checked, as they pose a grave danger to other motorists, their passengers and even pedestrians.

The trucks, he adds, are more deadly when going uphill in the traffic jam, as there is the likelihood of them stalling and rolling back, especially near the Montezuma funeral home. His contact is chabedac@gmail.com.

**********

LEARN SOME ROAD RULES: A motorist, Kariuki Gichuki, is not amused by violent protests by students of Laikipia University that have forced the erection of bumps on the Nyahururu-Subukia road, covering some three kilometres.

Several primary schools along the same highway, he adds, do not have such bumps at their gates. The solution, he adds, is to give those students some basic road use lessons and immediately remove “these disgraceful bumps”.

His contact is kariukigichuki@yahoo.com.

**********

CRYING OUT FOR ATTENTION: The contractor refurbishing the Nakuru-Nyahururu road should get serious, says Dan Gioshe, appalled at the snail’s pace that has seen only about three kilometres redone in a good three years.

He lays blame on the Nakuru County government for the apparent lack of supervision. “The workers disappear for some time, return and work for two months and vanish again.”

The worst, he adds, is the Heshima Centre-Maili Saba stretch, which is crying out for repairs. His contact is gioshe@outlook.com.

**********

ARE THEY NORMAL?: Speaking on the phone while driving is not only illegal, but also dangerous, but some people are simply incorrigible, says Jim Webo, amazed at how easily one will put one’s life at risk.

On Friday morning, on Uhuru Highway, near Nakumatt Mega in Nairobi, Jim could not believe what he saw.

“There was this smart woman scooping food into her mouth with a spoon, with one hand on the steering wheel. A new clause, ‘Do not eat while you drive’, should be added to the traffic rule forbidding the use of mobile phones.”

Have a cautious day, won’t you!

watchman@ke.nationmedia.com; PO Box 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax: (20) 2213946

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Cutting Edge

CHINESE INFLUX: When she flew from JKIA to Entebbe recently, Sharmi Bhalla says she was disgusted with the pampering of Chinese travellers.

“They did not have to stand in the queues at the Immigration. They were all escorted by police in and out of Immigration. I am a Kenyan and I follow rules — so why not these Chinese? What is it about the Chinese?

Their influx frightens me as many billboards in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda now advertise Chinese products.”

Her contact is sharmi@soulonfire.org.

************

LOOTERS: The media are awash with reports of how billions of shillings have been squandered in dubious transactions by some leaders, notes Antony Irungu.

Government ministries, parastatals, county governments, Senators, MPs and MCAs have all been fingered for involvement in the scandals.

“If only these billions could be channelled into development projects in urban areas and the far-flung villages, we would not be extending begging bowls to the East and West.” His contact is antolex2001@yahoo.com.

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JOB APPLICATIONS: Even as she appreciates the fact that companies are finding it hard to reply to all job applicants, Margaret Wanjiru says there is a way around the challenge.

According to her, it would be “really nice” to indicate that only short-listed applicants will be contacted and give a specific date. Her template would be something like: “If you do not hear from us by…, please note that your application was not successful.” That way, applicants will not be kept in suspense for too long.

Her contact is mwmuriithi@gmail.com.

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NO POWER: What a long wait it has been for the parents of Zack Gaya in Kendu Bay, for whom he applied for electricity installation at their home (Ref No. 24402012091269) in December last year, paying the requisite charges.

To date, nothing has happened and yet the home is two poles away from power.

Zack is also not impressed with the prepaid meter service. “I’ve been using it since April, but it is so erratic that one cannot budget. How do explain buying 20 units for Sh250 and 6.5 units for Sh300, a few days later?” His contact is gayazack@yahoo.com.

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STREET FAMILIES: Whenever he comes into Nairobi’s city centre before 8am, Vincent Mariita says he has been encountering hordes of street families, and “they are not a very friendly lot”.

He is, therefore, surprised to note that the city county government appears not bothered about the apparent increase in the number of street dwellers in the recent past. Vincent would like to see steps taken immediately to remove those already in the CBD and block new entrants. His contact is mariitav@yahoo.com.

 
Have an organisable day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 22 August 2014

WHERE IS THE TRUTH ? The contradictory talk about the food situation is causing unnecessary confusion, remarks Peter Cheserek. While Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei assures Kenyans that there is enough food for all, Kenya Red Cross boss Abbas Gullet has raised the red flag, and this has been echoed by Devolution CS Anne Waiguru, who has warned that some 1.5 million Kenyans are facing starvation. “Stop the circus and tell us the truth,” demands Peter.
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BE MORE LIKE KIBAKI. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto should learn from retired leader Mwai Kibaki “not to take their political rivals too seriously”, Ken Chirchir advises, adding that they should also “never be too quick to react” to anything said about them. The easiest way for the two to gain national popularity is to simplify their leadership style. “It calls for more than the style of dress or dishing out goodies,” says Ken, adding that he dearly misses Kibaki’s light-hearted approach.  

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RAILA CONTRADICTIONS. ODM leader Raila Odinga deserves kudos for the sacrifice he has made to enhance democracy, but he has lately been full of contradictions, says Prof Chris Macoloo. Odinga and “his sycophants”, he claims, “are opposed to holding harambees in Nyanza, but last week, he was at a fundraiser in Busia County”. The second contradiction is holding the moral high ground on democracy despite his party having bungled its own elections. “His stature is being eroded by his court poets.”

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FIX THIS SHAMEFUL POTHOLE. Just outside one of the best and newest hotels in Nairobi, Villa Rosa Kempinski on Chiromo Road is a huge pothole that should shame the county government in charge of the nation’s capital, says Agnes Wahome. She wonders how come the authorities have not seen the need to remove the eyesore in the middle of the road in such a prime location, as it has been mockingly staring at all for over a month now. “Fix the pothole before a fatal accident occurs at the spot.”

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GAPING POTHOLE. Also alarmed at the appalling state of roads in some prime areas of Nairobi is Ashiembi wa Ndukwe. He is particularly concerned about the “gaping craters and potholes” on Waiyaki Way opposite the CFC Stanbic Bank branch at Westlands. “Can Governor Evans Kidero and his people get out of their comfort zones and deal with this problem.” This road, Ashiembe states, is a key artery in the city and it is simply unacceptable that it is in such a poor condition.

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DRAINAGE VERY POOR. Most roundabouts in Nairobi have undergone beautification through a partnership between the county government and the private sector, observes David Jasondu. However, one thing the contractors have failed to properly deal with, is the drainage. The Ngong-Mbagathi-Valley roads intersection, he adds, “is permanently flooded”. The same case near Nyayo National Stadium’s Mombasa and Langata roads roundabout. With the rains falling, Jasondu urges, the authorities must unclog the drainage and try to do better in future.
 
Have a proper day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.