Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 1 August 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

BE CAUTIOUS ON GMOS. As debate rages on genetically modified products, Lynne Bailey thinks there is more to the pro-GMO lobby than meets the eye. She asks: “Why are so many European and some African countries banning the use of GMO products, environmentally harmful insecticides that appear to be killing off pollinators, and ‘super weeds, until more studies are done, if it’s harmless?” The authorities should be more vigilant about the threat to Kenyans’ health “until all the claims are proven”. Her contact is lynne_safari@hotmail.com.

________

LIFT THIS TAX. The scarcity of land in towns makes a case for the construction of high-rise buildings, some up to five floors, but they have no lifts, as required by the building by-laws because these items are simply too expensive for many developers, says George Mburu. He is, therefore, appealing to the government to consider removing duty on lifts or the materials used to make them so that they can be more affordable for installation in the tall buildings coming up. His contact is mburugm@yahoo.com.

________

ELATED BY AQUAFRESH. A thoroughly elated Njoroge Kiratu says his favourite toothpaste, Aquafresh Extreme Clean, is back on the shelves of supermarkets and shops in Nairobi, thanks to an enquiry by a reader that was published by Watchie. Njoroge adds: “I believe the debate about its disappearance may have prompted the manufacturer to consider returning the toothpaste to the shelves in Nairobi and elsewhere. I am very grateful for this.” His contact is nkiratu@gmail.com.

________

BRIBERY IS TWO-WAY. As the recent police recruitment is condemned for the apparent rampant bribery, Vincent Mariita is disappointed that the finger is being pointed only at the Kenya Police Service teams sent out to do the job, and not the other side, without which the corruption would never have happened. “Why do we so conveniently forget that bribery is a two-way act? Why blame only the police officers and not the citizens who offered bribes for their candidates to be picked? We are all guilty.” His contact is mariitav@yahoo.com.

________

EMPATHY, NOT OBSESSION. The reason for what someone called “Kenyans’ obsession with death”, Lucy Ann says, is “that those affected either directly or indirectly by such devastating circumstances need empathy, and sometimes sympathy, to weather the storms”. The large attendance at funerals, she argues, “gives encouragement and hope to the bereaved”. According to her, “those celebrating the joy of newborns deserve it, but they do not desperately need to be joined by others”.

________

SPELLING ATROCIOUS. Many small kiosks often have misspellings in their menus, but they are not the only culprits, says Josiah Mugo, adding that many prime businesses in Nairobi, too, make a mess of signage and annotation. “From spelling mistakes, inappropriate font sizes and clashing colours to misplaced signboards, they make a mockery of the graphic design profession.” At the APA Arcade at Hurlingham, he adds, there is, for example, Puffins Stationary, as the name of a shop that sells paper, pens and ink. His contact is mugojosiahk@gmail.com.
 
Have a literate day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 31 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
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CITY ON THE ROPES. Thanks to rising insecurity, what was once proudly referred to as the “City in the Sun” is increasingly becoming the “City behind the ugly ropes”, remarks Michael Mwania. “Many government buildings are now surrounded by ropes in the name of security, causing inconvenience to pedestrians, who are forced to compete with cars on the streets as the pavements have been blocked. He lists the General Post Office, Nyayo House, Times Tower, Parliament Buildings and the Treasury, as some of the buildings affected.

________

IT IS AN ORPHANAGE. The Animal Orphanage in Nairobi provides refuge to young animals either orphaned or abandoned, which cannot survive independently in the wild, says Kenya Wildlife Service official David Ndeereh. The KWS, Dr Ndeereh explains, in response to a recent complaint about “lack of variety at the orphanage”, does not take animals from the wild to stock the orphanage, “as this would defeat the conservation ethic”. The orphanage remains a permanent home for carnivores such as lions, cheetahs and leopards because of their inability to fend for themselves. His contact is dndeereh@kws.go.ke.

________

REMOVE THE KIOSKS. A resident of Westlands, Nairobi, Quince Viraj, is alarmed at the mushrooming of kiosks especially on Lantana Road in the recent past. Recalling that it took many years to remove similar kiosks from the neighbourhood, Quince says he is disappointed that county officials have turned a blind eye to the problem, which is now spiralling out of control. He hopes it’s not too late to act.

________

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME. Concerned about the sharp drop in tourist arrivals, Peter Mburu says the government should be “more proactive in wooing the visitors to Kenya, and especially to the Coast”. The national carrier, Kenya Airways, should play a key role here. Peter wonders why it does not have direct flights from Europe to Mombasa’s Moi International Airport. “Why fly to many other world destinations and not Mombasa? Ethiopian Airlines and others do. Charity begins at home.”

________

NO POWER FOR BROTHER. Call him his brother’s keeper, but Joachim Mungania is unhappy that his sibling has not been treated fairly by Kenya Power. In early January, his brother applied for power connection to his house in Meru and has since made endless trips to the power utility’s offices at Maua, in vain. “Why should it take five months to drop a power line not so far away when there is a rural electrification authority?” The reference is E25332013030113 and his contact, jmungania5@yahoo.com.

________

IGNORE CORD CRITICS

With criticism of the government by Cord leaders coming “thick, fast and furious”, Barre Shetto says it’s not prudent for President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto to keep spending “valuable time on rebuttals” however trivial they may be. “They should quietly work on the genuine issues to improve the situation and ignore the rest. The responses only make their failure look more glaring. They should borrow a leaf from retired President Mwai Kibaki.”
  
Have an unresponsive day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 30 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

SIX IS NOT TOO YOUNG. Children who are intelligent enough to join Class One at six years should not be blocked, says Chintan Gohel. He knows of children, including his own brother, who entered Class One at that age and went on to perform very well. The “exceptional minds” out there, he adds, should not have to waste a whole year, waiting to join school. In the United States and several other countries in the West, it is not unusual for students to join university at 18 or even younger.

________

BESEIGED BY CRIMINALS. Residents of Kinoo are under siege from criminals, moans Betty Wanyoike. Armed robberies, she adds, occur almost daily, as the 10 officers at the local police post, which does not have a motor vehicle, appear to be overwhelmed. “Why can’t the police be provided with the vehicles the government has been leasing lately? The criminals have been acting with increased impunity since the transfer of the Kabete police boss who was popularly known as Ocampo.”

________

CONTRACTORS SLUGGISH. The delay in the construction of two footbridges over Mombasa Road at Bellevue and at General Motors is to blame for the rising number of pedestrian deaths on the busy highway, says Patrick Musyoka. He has been particularly pained to witness some of the fatal accidents and hear about people being killed by speeding motorists while trying to cross the road. The city government, he pleads, should take the contractor to task for his failure to complete the projects.

________

LET THEM STAY AT HOME. Though happy about the proposed insurance policy for police officers, more needs to be done to improve the morale of the people who protect the lives and properties of citizens, says Denis Munuve. To ease the housing shortage at police stations, the officers should be paid commuter, risk, uniform and housing allowances so they can look for their own accommodation among the people to be able to gather intelligence more easily. “Only duty officers should spend the night in police quarters.”

________

DECENTRALIZE. The devolved system that has seen the creation of 47 counties is the best way to ensure that resources reach Kenyans at the grassroots to initiate development projects, says Edward Angira. To ensure the goal is achieved, he adds, all National Government departments should be replicated at the county level. The most surprising oversight is the failure to decentralise the office of the Controller of Budget. “Such an official will approve the county budget as he would understand its needs.”

________

KUDOS TO IMMIGRATION. Keen to “give credit where it is due” is Elizabeth Chater, who, during her long stay in Kenya, has had to deal with the Immigration Department to ensure that her papers are in order. She is full of praise for an officer, whose name she gives simply as Daniel, in Mombasa. Says she: “Visiting the office in the past was a much dreaded experience. It was dirty, disorganised and unfriendly. But last week, I found a complete transformation. It was clean and well-furnished, and the staff, charming and helpful. Congratulations!”

Have a welcoming day, won’t you!

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

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Cutting Edge - July 29 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

STOP THE ISRAELIS. As nearly 1,000 Palestinians, mostly defenceless innocent men, women and children, are killed in Israeli air and land strikes, the United Nations is merely paying lip-service, says Husseinail Dhalla. He wishes the UN, and, especially, the Arab nations, could take more decisive action against the Israelis to stop the atrocities. “We have seen Jews in Israel and other parts of the world protesting against the inhuman actions. What their government forgets is that God’s wrath could come soon and in any form.”

________

DOUBLE STANDARDS. When the Palestinian militants’ rockets started landing near Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, American airlines briefly suspended and soon afterwards restored their flights to Israel, remarks Kanyi Gioko. To him, this is a clear demonstration of who, indeed, are Kenya’s friends. “America and other Western countries are busy withdrawing tourists, diplomatic staff, and volunteers from Kenya, and banning miraa imports, among other sanctions. Why the double standards?”

________

WHERE IS PERU? Security consultant Mbijiwe Mwenda is frustrated that his holiday plans in South America cannot be realised though he is all set. He wishes to travel to Peru, but cannot get his visa, as he has not been able to reach their consulate in Kenya. The telephone numbers listed online, (+254) (2) 530156 / 7 / 8 or (+254) (2) 5530156/7/8, “are all dead or simply unreachable”. He has also been to Lautrop House on Enterprise Road, but didn’t find the consulate. His email is mbijiwe@eyeonsecurity.co.ke.

________

PEDESTRIANS NOT CRIMINALS. Although getting pedestrians to use footbridges saves lives, Job Momanyi is unhappy with the way police and National Transport and Safety Authority officers have been arresting people. “My beef is with people going to work being arrested like criminals, frogmarched to a roadside court, and fined. Unless the government is in the business of raising revenue through fines, askaris should be deployed to ensure footbridges are used.”

________

WRONG PRIORITIES. Many of the 47 counties have their priorities upside down, but taking the trophy, according to Ibrahim Ahmed Abdinoor, is Mandera, where he comes from. Ibrahim cannot understand why the county’s leadership would be thinking about constructing an international airport. “There are more pressing priorities, besides the fact that the nearby Wajir International Airport is already experiencing less passenger and cargo numbers. They should have consulted the locals.” His contact is dalahow@gmail.com.

________

WHEN SENSE BREAKS DOWN. Whenever a car breaks down, the driver should pull up to the shoulder and place warning triangles 20 metres in front and behind the vehicle to warn other motorists, notes Barre Shetto. But the rather peculiar habit of some Kenyan drivers, he adds, is to place twigs, tree branches, shrubs and stones on the road. “From where, pray, did they get this absurd idea? And as if that is not enough, they leave the stuff right in the middle of the road once their cars are repaired. Peculiar Kenyans, indeed!”

Have a proper day, won’t you!

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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

CRACKDOWN TIMELY. The crackdown on pedestrians who cross roads at undesignated places in Nairobi is commendable, says Kamichore Mutindira. “The instant fines save the culprits the inconvenience of having to go to court.”

However, Kamichore is disappointed that police and the county traffic marshals only go for soft targets. “They should also arrest PSV drivers at Kencom and Ambassador bus stages who park their vehicles on the zebra crossing.”

His contact is kamichore7@gmail.com.

**********

REMOVING KIOSKS. A Nairobi City County Government official, acknowledging Tony N’s complaint about the erection of kiosks on road reserves in Lang’ata’s Southlands and Park estates, says they are working with “relevant agencies” to have the structures removed.

County executive Anna Othoro, who is in charge of trade industrialisation, adds: “As a long-term and sustainable solution, plans are underway to provide proper trading spaces to businesspeople. This will be done by redesigning existing markets and building new ones.”

**********

A YEAR LATER, NO POWER. Keen to see his mother’s home deep in rural Kisii County lit up, Oscar Nyamboki applied for power connection in November last year, paying the requisite fee of Sh35,000. To date, he moans, Kenya Power’s Kisii branch has failed to deliver despite his numerous visits to their offices.

“I hope my mother will some day be delivered from darkness. It will be my best present to her for bringing me up.” The reference is E24402013060202 and his contactoscarnyamboki@yahoo.com.

**********

END THIS AGONY. Also hoping Kenya Power CEO Ben Chumo will end his agony is Dan Murugu. At the beginning of the year, he called at the power utility’s office in Nakuru thinking an application for meter separation would be effected immediately.

Says he: “It has stalled despite more than 100 visits. The MD should intervene and also take action against the staff due to whose inaction we have gone without power for the last eight months. Some of them have worked in this office for over 20 years.”

His contact is Tel 0720988086 or murugugu@yahoo.co.uk.

**********

KRA CALL CENTRE USELESS. Kenya Revenue Authority may have had the best intentions when it set up a call centre at its headquarters in Nairobi to enable taxpayers to have their queries answered, but it hardly ever works, says William Kamau.

He asks: “Could it be me alone or has anyone ever phoned the KRA call centre and got assisted. The phone rarely gets through and if it does, you are put on voice-mail forever. I have never got any assistance on the phone.”

His contact is wkamau@rocketmail.com.

**********

BIRTHS PRIVATE. Advertising births “does not serve any practical purpose”, remarks Richard Mundia, in response to the criticism of Kenyans’ “apparent obsession with the dead”. According to him, deaths are advertised to “inform relatives and the public and give them details about funeral arrangements so that those who wish to can go and mourn”.

Whereas a death is public, “unless a family indicates otherwise”, a birth is a private affair, concludes Richard, whose contact is mundia@haritsheth-advocates.com.

Have an informative day, won’t you!

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

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 26 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

KRA WEBSITE. The Kenya Revenue Authority’s i-Tax system is simply not working, says Zoeb Tayebjee, fully agreeing with Mungai Kihanya. He is also convinced that “something is wrong” with the KRA’s web site, having tried, in vain, to register online. His frustration is compounded by the fact that his bank will no longer accept Pay As You Earn remittances using the P11 form. “Can the KRA advise on an alternative method?” urges Zoeb, whose contact is Tel 0733638171 or ztayebjee@yahoo.com.

________

PUBLIC SERVICE. Could the recent clean-up at the once notoriously corrupt Lands ministry headquarters in Ardhi House, Nairobi, be already bearing fruit? Fatma Kadada was there recently and was impressed by the attitude of the staff, who attended to her and solved her problem within a short time. “The days of the missing files are gone. And Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu goes around asking customers if they have been served.” But her trophy goes to Lands registrar B.K. Leitich, who “sacrificed his lunch hour to attend to clients”. Her contact is fkadada@yahoo.co.uk.

________

TRAFFIC RULES. The arrest by officials from the National Transport and Safety Authority of pedestrians who ignore footbridges and opt to dash across busy roads, risking their own lives, is a step in the right direction, says James Githinji. According to James, the crackdown is in the interest of the pedestrians. But he would like the dragnet extended to wayward motorcyclists, who brazenly flout traffic regulations. His contact is jgithinji2012@gmail.com.

________

ADMISSION. Can the Ministry of Education come up with a policy guideline on exactly at what age children should be admitted to Class One? urges Snafina Mulisa. “Should it be a child turning six or seven?” Private schools, Mulisa claims, are not as particular on the age requirement as their public counterparts who insist that a child must be seven to join Class One. If a student should be 18 years when sitting the KCSE exam, he should start Class One at age seven. Mulisa’s contact is snafina2mulisa@yahoo.com.

________

CABINET POLITICS. The drafters of the new Constitution, Alfonso Gribaldi says, “were spot on when they envisaged a Cabinet of professionals” instead of the previous ministers from the political class. However, he adds, the Jubilee Government included three “retired” politicians in its line-up, with a promise they would not engage in politics, but they still do. “A quick analysis of the past 12 months reveals that the Lands Cabinet Secretary leads the pack followed by the one for Labour and last but not least is the Mining one.” His contact is alfgribaldi@yahoo.com.
 
Have a professional day, won’t you!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 25 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

ROAD IN A MESS.Though his hands may be full, with all manner of challenges, Muhib Noorani still believes Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero should find some time to attend to the specific problems of some of the residents. He should, Muhib appeals, go to the rescue of the residents of Rose Avenue, “which is a very important link between Ngong Road and Hurlingham shopping centre”. The road, he adds, is not only “in very bad shape and full of potholes”, it is also the cause of traffic jams when dusty or muddy.  

________

TIRED OF WAITING.A resident of the city’s Eastlands, Kahihu Wamwere, is tired of waiting for the promised reconstruction of Outer Ring Road to begin, as it continues to degenerate. Many businesses, he reports, have moved out, as there is no sign that the reconstruction of the road, which is now in a shambles, will begin soon. As a result, he adds, traffic jams are the order of the day, and the feeder roads such as Komarock, Mutarakwa and Kangundo are equally in a mess. “Is the road project still on?” asks Kahihu.

________

LET DOWN BY AIRTEL. Has Airtel quietly increased its charges? asks Wangui Kamau. She recently noticed that something was amiss after being charged Sh6 for her first message of the day, while the subsequent ones “cost the normal Sh2 each off-the-net”. A loyal customer since the year 2000, Wangui is livid about being “cheated out of Sh4 every day”. She also wonders what became of the customer loyalty points scheme, Rewardz. At this rate, she warns, they risk losing a customer. Her contact is wanguikm@gmail.com.

________

MONITOR SUPERHIGHWAY. To get the best out of Thika Superhighway, Muhib Noorani says, there is a need to ensure some traffic discipline which has been sorely missing. The goal of the hefty investment – streamlining the flow of motor vehicles remains a dream. The first measure should be to have all slow-moving vehicles, including trucks and motorbikes, use the service lane. The second is to deploy police on motorbikes to monitor and help restore sanity on the road. His contact is muhibnoorani@hotmail.com.

________

KENYANS STILL HONEST. There are “still a few honest Kenyans” out there, says a grateful Dr Omija TB. His confidence in the goodness of his fellow Kenyans was restored following an incident at a hotel in Nakuru County. He was at Sentrim Lodge in Elementaita on Saturday, July 12, and as he checked out, he did not realise that he had dropped his mobile phone. “You can imagine my relief when I was called on my second line and informed they had my phone. Kudos to the staffer who found the phone in the room!” His contact is olootb@yahoo.com.

________

WHY FOCUS ON DEATH? Why do Kenyans “focus so much on the dead, either through accidents, wars or even suicide, but never on births”? asks X.N. Iraki.  While several pages of obituaries are published in the newspapers daily, there are none that cater for newborns. “Would it not be great to announce the births with the children’s photos? We are always talking about those who have died, but rarely about those born. Baby showers have fewer attendees than funerals. Why this obsession with death?”

Have a living day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 24 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
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GANGSTERS ON THE LOOSE: Nairobi resident Lucy W. Githinji has witnessed motorists being robbed and side mirrors plucked off their vehicles by street boys, nay, men, in broad daylight as they sit in traffic jams at the Globe Cinema roundabout. She has also seen pedestrians being mugged by the hoodlums, whose base is the overpass where the Thika Superhighway begins, and the racket goes on day and night. “Can Governor Evans Kidero and his team rid the area of these men? They are a nuisance!”

________

REPAIR THIS ROAD: The Satellite-Kabiria road in Dagoretti, Nairobi, is in a pathetic state, moans Lilian Anyango. With the recent drizzles, she adds, its huge potholes have now become muddy. The people of Kabiria have, despite sweet-sounding promises, never benefited from the present and past leadership and have to contend with overcharging matatus as they cannot afford to set up their own transport sacco. Her contact is onyangolilian90@yahoo.com.

________

USED DIAPER MENACE: The mindless disposal of used baby diapers is heightening environmental pollution, says Tabitha Maina. As more mothers buy the items, Tabitha adds, not many think about the impact of the dirty pieces they throw away, and which are scattered even further by stray dogs. She is, therefore, appealing to the Kenya Paediatric Association to engage manufacturers in educating mothers on the proper disposal of the items. Her contact is tabsmyn@gmail.com.

________

WE NEED WATER: The discovery at Changamwe of stolen water pipes belonging to Mombasa Water Supply and Sanitation Company would appear to explain why the residents of Bamburi-Mtambo and its environs have not seen a drop of water come out of their taps in the past four months, says Vitalis Mwakidedi. As a result of the acute water shortage, they have been forced to rely on boreholes and wells and some vendors. Vitalis hopes water supply will be restored soon. His contact is mwakidedi@gmail.com.

________

HOUSE A NIGHTMARE: When a dream house becomes a nightmare is how Edmond Odaba describes his tribulations at the National Housing Corporation’s Lang’ata flats in Nairobi. The roof to his Flat No D72-719 has been leaking and he has written two letters to the managing director about it, to no avail. The problem, he explains, is due to “poor workmanship and poor floor design, as water flows inside in case of a leakage or faulty gate valve”. There are also large cracks on the roof, through which water seeps into his living room, making a mess of everything. His contact is edmondodaba@gmail.com.

________

NO ROOM FOR VETS: At the risk of being shouted out of town for trivialising the issue of alleged bias in the recruitment of professional cadres into the Kenya Defence Forces, Bob Mukirae, in an attempt to downplay the need for veterinary services in the military, says: “Asoka Itur should be informed that horses and donkeys do not constitute a part of the KDF’s transport battalions anymore.” And though conceding that dogs have a role to play, he argues that “their numbers are negligible”. His contact is bobmukirae@yahoo.com.
 
Have a sensible day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 23 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
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LAMU VICTIMS NEGLECTED

After the Westgate mall attack last September in which 60 people perished, there was an outpouring of grief and support for the survivors and the bereaved families, recalls Hawa Mohammed.

Safaricom and other corporate bodies even raised funds. But that solidarity has been conspicuously missing since the Mpeketoni massacre in which a similar number of people were killed. She wonders why the discrimination. Her contact is hawamohammed.hm@gmail.com.

________

PAY DAD'S PENSION

For over 30 years, Ahmed Mahfudh (No 2012) worked for the Kenya Wildlife Service with his last station having been Malindi, in the wildlife education and community

service, says his son Jamil.

But trouble began when the man died in 2004. To date, the family has not been paid his terminal dues, and his wife has been unable to raise money to pay college fees for Jamil and his siblings.

Appeals to the Mombasa KWS office for help have yielded nothing. For the details, his contact is jamilmahfudh@yahoo.com.

________

TOO MANY KIOSKS

Calling Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and his team is Tony N., who is alarmed at the mushrooming illegal kiosks “sitting pretty” on road reserves at Southlands and Park estates.

Most of them double as wines and spirits outlets and block entire pavements, forcing pedestrians to jostle for space with motorists.

“But worse, they are now dens for hoodlums and idlers who attack and rob residents at will. Who will come to our rescue?” asks Tony.

________

ORPHANAGE IN DECLINE

The Animal Orphanage in the Nairobi National Park, once a major attraction for city residents and visitors, is losing its shine as the variety of animals on show declines, says David Motari.

Currently, he adds, most of the cages have only lions, “which is not value for the fee paid at the gate”.

In the past, one would view several other species of wild animals. “The Kenya Wildlife Service can do better than this and should,” demands David.

________

MISTREATED BY ZUKU

Nakuru resident Charles Gitahi, who bought a Zuku decoder and satellite dish on May 30, hoping to enjoy the wide bouquet of entertainment promised by the pay TV company, says it never happened.

After the installation, the only thing he saw on the screen was the message, “No signal”. Since then, he has made several calls to the Zuku customer care section, but all he gets are promises that are never fulfilled and yet he continues to receive monthly bills.

“How can I pay for what I am not enjoying?” His account number is 460761 and his contact, Tel 0722239122.

________

FOOTBRIDGES PLANNED

Responding to an outcry on fatal accidents at Kenya Clayworks Factory and Brookside Dairy on the Thika Superhighway, Kenya National Highways Authority corporate affairs manager Charles Njogu says nine additional footbridges are to be constructed soon to replace the bumps in various places.

However, the authority wishes to encourage pedestrians to use passenger crossings that include footbridges, zebra crossing and underpasses for their own safety.
 
Have a secure day, won’t you!

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 22 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

SACK THE POTBELLIES

As the Kenya Police Service insists on applying the strict requirements that some people have denounced as ridiculous in determining the recruitment of new officers, W. Chege says the leadership should be paying more attention to the fitness levels of those already employed.

He would, for instance, like to see all the notoriously pot-bellied policemen retired immediately. His contact is wchege2@gmail.com. 

________

COLOURED TEETH

Responding to the locking out of applicants with “coloured teeth”, Samuel Kamau says that “if fluorosis causes damage to the bones, ligaments and muscles”, then it would “automatically disadvantage the affected youth if recruited into the police or military”.

But with this source of possible employment shut, Samuel wants the government to consider favouring them in the awarding of tenders or other opportunities. His contact is samuel@rohan.co.ke.

________

PROBLEM SOLVED

Nairobi Water Company thanks Elais Junior whose complaint about “clean water gushing to waste” along Maai Mahiu Road between T-Mall and Moi Educational Centre at South ‘C’ led their technicians to discover the real cause of the discharge and fix it, says corporate affairs coordinator James S. Karanja.

“Our technical team established that it was not a broken pipe, but a blocked sewer manhole from where the water was coming. It was unblocked and the area is now not overflowing with water.”

________

WHO STARTED THE WAR

Cord leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s opposition to the Kenya Defence Forces’ continued mission in Somalia, Joe Wang’endo says, is akin to former US Vice-President Dick Cheney’s criticism of the Obama administration on Iraq.

“He was the VP to President George Bush who started the war on false information of weapons of mass destruction. Former President Bill Clinton reminded Cheney that they started the war in the first place.”

________

TAXPAYERS FRUSTRATED

Mungai Kihanya says that for several months now he has been trying in vain to sign up for the much-touted i-Tax online system of the Kenya Revenue Authority. Though a tech-savvy chap, Mungai’s is a tale of endless frustration he wishes the KRA could urgently address.

Says he: “Every time I enter my date of birth (picked from KRA’s online calendar), the system rejects it as invalid.” He poses: “How does the KRA hope to meet its targets if taxpayers cannot register?” His contact is mkihanya@yahoo.com.

_________

DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN

Yala bridge on the Busia-Kisumu highway in Siaya County is a disaster waiting to happen, warns James Owuor, citing the vandalising of the guard rails that has exposed pedestrians to grave danger as they walk closer to the road, risking being knocked down by speeding motorists.

He hopes the Kenya Highways Authority will move with speed to secure the vital crossing for pedestrians to avert fatal crashes. His contact is james.owuor@yahoo.com.

Have a safe day, won’t you!

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

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

REFUND CAUTION MONEY. A very disturbed guardian, Sammy K, would like to know from Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi just has long it should take a school to refund caution money after a student has completed Form Four.

Well, he and other parents of the students who sat their KCSE exam at Nyahururu Elite School last year have not got refunds of the caution money they paid, “even after having been asked to provide our bank account numbers”.

Having held the money for four years, why not refund immediately on completion? he asks.

*********

JAM TOO HEAVY. For the past two weeks, Manu Shah says, there have been terrible traffic jams on Jogoo Road in Nairobi in the evenings, especially between the Likoni Road junction and the City Stadium.

A distance of only 1.5 kilometres takes nearly an hour, gobbling up lots of fuel and man-hours and exposing motorists and their passengers to deadly fumes. The contractor working on the road, he demands, should be asked to speed it up.

Manu’s contact is chuimanu@jambo.co.ke.

*********

MARRED BY FRAUD. The just-concluded recruitment of police officers was marred by corruption, charges Abdikadir Aden-Devii, adding, however, that it has confirmed the high level of unemployment that is afflicting the youth of the country.

Abdikadir is not amused at a recruiting officer’s claim that some people could not be enlisted because they have flat feet and, therefore, cannot walk for long. That is one of the flimsy excuses being used to unfairly lock some people out of jobs.

*********

DISAPPOINTED. The recruitment left “many able youth very disappointed” after being left out, says Jimmy Ndirangu, upset about the “unfair” conditions set. “I believe that most of the young people who turned up were in good health but failed because they were not familiar with the methods used by the recruiting officers.”

Singling out running, Jimmy says, this disadvantages some communities. “The idea of height, body mass, and running ability as the criteria for picking good police officers and should change.”

*********

ESTATE A DUMP. The National Environment Management Authority, Harambee Sacco and Nairobi City County government have abdicated their respective roles in ensuring a clean environment for the residents of Doonholm in the Eastlands, says Florence Ambuche.

She is accusing the three of failing to stop the dumping of waste and growth of slums on Harambee Sacco’s Phase B plots.

“Please, ensure that the garbage is cleared,” urges Florence, whose contact is ambuchef@safaricom.blackberry.com.

*********

THEY WERE ALL GREAT. The World Cup in Brazil has confirmed that the days of giants and underdogs in football are over, remarks Antony Kabiro. According to him, “with diligent preparations, and determination”, any of the teams that qualified for the finals was capable of winning the trophy.

It was even more apparent, he adds, from the last 16, as most of the matches went into extra time and others were decided on penalties. Costa Rica, Belgium, Chile, Algeria and Nigeria, he argues, put up credible shows.

His contact is antonykabiro2014@gmail.com.

Have a competitive day, won’t you!

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 19July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

REMOVE OFFENDING WORDS

Tribalism “is a serious thing, but, unfortunately, it’s also official”, remarks Allan Bukusi, citing the requirement to indicate one’s tribe and clan when applying for the national identity card. “Since the freedom of movement is guaranteed in the Constitution, can a person whose parents came from, say Kisii, but who was born and has lived in Mombasa County all his life say he comes from Kisii? The words tribe and clan should be removed and replaced with ancestry.” His contact is allanbukusi@mdi.co.ke.

________

WHY THE COMPLEXITY from the National Registration Bureau? asks Richard Kihara. The dossier, he adds, includes their national identity card numbers, which are unique to each person. He cannot understand why the same should not be used as the school or bank account number. His contact is richardkihara@ymail.com.

________

LOOK AGAIN

The claim by Martin Mola that the IEBC did not allocate 30 per cent of its recently advertised opportunities to special groups is untrue, says web and digital manager Andrew Limo, who adds: “We advertised in the newspapers and on our web site and specifically stated that Category D is reserved for youth, women and persons with disabilities. In it are a host goods and services, including the supply of flowers, repair of electronic equipment and event organisation. The submissions close on July 18.” His contact is andrew.limo@gmail.com.

________

SAFETY FIRST, SIR

Though the picture of President Kenyatta showing his prowess at riding a motorcycle, with his security detail in pursuit, during the opening of the Toyota Business Park in Nairobi was fascinating, Antony Alex Irungu says he was disappointed to note that he did not wear a helmet. “Considering the resources that have gone into encouraging riders and their passengers to wear helmets for their own safety, he ought to have been provided with a helmet. Safety comes first, and especially, for the Head of State.” His contact is antolex2001@yahoo.com. 

________

RECTIFY "ANOMALY"

The Ministry of Defence is recruiting specialist officers to serve in its various sections, but conspicuously missing from the list of the categories sought are veterinary doctors, says Asoka Itur. And he cannot understand why. Veterinarians form an integral part of the support services, for their role in disease control and surveillance and public health. “This anomaly should be immediately corrected by including them in the advertisement,” urges Asoka, whose contact is dvokwd@yahoo.com.

________

MAKE THEM PAY

The Auditor-General’s latest report has clearly shown how billions of shillings are being squandered in all the 47 counties, remarks Jackson Njamba. The money, he adds, is lost through various avenues, including the excessive foreign travel by members of the county assemblies. Jackson wants action taken against the culprits, who should be speedily prosecuted and surcharged for the wanton wastage, “unless this report was just for our information!” His contact is jackson.njamba@gmail.com.

________

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com

or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 18 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

DISCIPLINE THEM

Boda boda motorcyclists have become a real menace on the roads because of their failure to observe simple traffic rules such as not overtaking on the left, says Richard Mundia.

Most of the riders, he adds, behave “as if they are riding bicycles instead of the potentially dangerous motorised machines”.

Mundia proposes that they be barred from carrying goods and restricted to ferrying only one passenger wearing a helmet. His contact is mundia@haritsheth-advocates.com.

_________

AWAKE AT LAST

The Mombasa County government is waking up from its deep slumber, says Collins Mwatati, impressed by the beautification of roads and the installation of traffic lights at the Tudor and Sabasaba intersections.

However, he adds, “more still needs to be done, especially on the improvement on roads, garbage collection, enhancing security and clearing of clogged drains.

He is also happy about the laying of fibre-optic cables and water pipes. “Kudos to Governor Ali Hassan Joho and his team!”

________

NEW SLOGAN

Though the old slogan of Nairobi Water Company, “…a new beginning…”, which was unveiled 10 years ago is still on some of the firm’s motor vehicles, there is a new one, says corporate affairs coordinator James Karanja, in response to Njeri Muathe’s query.

The new slogan, he adds, “…improving reliability,” has been in place for quite a while. “We apologise for this, but the few remaining vehicles are also being rebranded.

We shall soon be calling on our customers to help us come up with a new slogan in line with our newly adopted strategic plan.”

________

TOO MANY ACCIDENTS

Fatal accidents are occurring almost every day on the Thika Superhighway as pedestrians try to dash across it at the Kenya Clayworks factory and Brookside Dairy, says Macharia Kimani.

On July 14, he reports, a pedestrian was killed and another critically injured. 

Macharia has written several times to the Ministry of Roads and the Kenya National Highways Authority appealing for the erection of a footbridge, but has not heard a word from Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau.

________

A THOUSAND APOLOGIES

Tuskys Supermarket wishes to sincerely apologise for the “unfortunate experience” Roselyn Atieno suffered at their Tom Mboya outlet in Nairobi, where she was forced to pay for a product she had accidentally dropped.

A customer care official, who gave her name only as Veronica, says Roselyn should go and see the branch manager, a Mr Riba, so the matter can be amicably resolved.

The contact is customercare@tuskys.com.

________

REQUIREMENTS RIDICULOUS

The recruitment into the Kenya Police Service, Ruth Gituma says, has once again brought to the fore ridiculous requirements for the candidates which should by now have been modified or discarded.

“For instance, why should one be disqualified because of the colour of one’s teeth? How will the job of handling a gun be affected by coloured teeth?

We must start matching brains with the job because we need policemen more than before and physical attributes alone are not enough.”

Have a realistic day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com

or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 17 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

ACTION, NOT POLITICS

Residents of the counties in the former Nyanza Province have “some specific issues” they would like their members of Parliament to seriously address, says John Ragwar, adding:

“We are tired of decades of being the politicians’ punda (donkey) and now want a clean lake, an effective fishing cooperative society, and full utilisation of Kisumu International Airport.”

The voters, he adds, are not for the “referendum call as it is a roadmap to nowhere”.

________

WORK TOO SHODDY

The fellows who keep on digging trenches across Lang’ata Road in Nairobi are causing a lot of agony to some residents who rise early to walk for exercise and find their paths dug up, says Rose Simani.

She simply cannot understand why trenches cannot be dug and all the cables laid at once.

One path in her neighbourhood has been messed up three times and the soil shoddily put back. For the details, her contact is rose.simani@yahoo.com.

________

GOING TO WASTE

Hundreds of litres of clean water have been gushing to waste from a broken pipe on Maai Mahiu Road between T-Mall and the Moi Educational Centre in Nairobi South ‘C’, reports Elais Junior.

Nairobi Water Company should dispatch its technicians to fix the problem and curb the wanton waste of this valuable resource.

“Why should we be crying about not having water in our taps?” asks Elais, whose contact is elaisus@yahoo.com.

________

WOMEN RELIEVED

The end of the World Cup in Brazil is a blessing for the many women literally deserted by their husbands, who have been staying up late watching the football matches, says Lilian Kuhora.

According to her, the wives should now start celebrating because their men will “return and resume their responsibilities”, in what she describes as the beginning of the joy of a woman. Her contact is liliankuhora@gmail.com.

________

FORM UTILITY POLICE

Alarmed at the rate at which public facilities and amenities are being vandalised, Paul Mwangi has had a brainwave and is convinced he has now found a solution.

He says a competent team he proposes should be named the Utility Police should be immediately recruited and deployed to ensure power lines, road furniture, telecommunication installations and other vital infrastructure are guarded “instead of just whining” about vandalism. His contact is pmwangi@eacables.com.

________

HAS IT BEEN SOLD?

Not long ago, says Njora Waweru, there was a sign, ‘Plot not for sale’ on Eldama Ravine Road near the Peponi Road junction at Westlands, Nairobi.

But recently, he adds, a big sign was put up proclaiming that the plot belongs to the County Government of Nairobi, and warning that trespassers would be prosecuted.

He was, therefore, quite surprised when he passed by on July 13 only to see a perimeter wall had been erected, and some construction was going on. “

Is this a county project or has the plot been sold?” asks Njora, whose contact is njorawaweru@yahoo.com.

Have transparent day, won’t you!

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

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 15 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

KILLINGS CONTINUE

Whenever innocent Kenyans have been slaughtered by gangs, some top leaders and security officials have always vowed to bring the culprits to book. But nothing of the sort has happened and the killings continue, says Christopher Kibiwott.

Kenyans in every part of the country “deserve better than mere talk”. But even more disappointing for him is to see the “security bosses talking and behaving like politicians”.

________

ARM VIGILANTES

The wave of insecurity, especially at the Coast and in the north-eastern region, is worrying, says Thomas Yebei. But even more disturbing is the apparent inability by the government to figure out the people behind the attacks and come up with effective counter-measures.

“To deal with these challenges, the government should vet, recruit, train and arm vigilantes to protect villages under the supervision of chiefs. This is the best way to deter further attacks.” His contact is tomyebei@yahoo.com.

________

AMERICA FLAG?

Thankful that the much-hyped Saba Saba rally in Nairobi went on peacefully contrary to the fears expressed by security chiefs, Anthony Mugambi says he was disappointed by the unpatriotic display by some of the young men who turned up to listen to the address by Cord leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula.

“Why were they flying the American flag? Shouldn’t they have carried ours? Something is not right!”

________

COMPLAIN MISPLACED?

Contrary to Jefferson Mwiti’s claim that the Higher Education Loans Board has been unhelpful, corporate communications officer Olive Metet says his brother, Jonathan Ngiiri, was awarded a loan of Sh37,000 for the 2013/14 financial year, which has already been disbursed.

His second loan of the same amount for the 2014/15 academic year, Olive adds, will be paid on October 27. “The board ensures that everyone enrolled for higher education gets a loan as we work towards achieving Vision 2030.” Olive’s contact is OMetet@helb.co.ke.

________

WRITE TO REGULATOR

Nairobi resident Charles Omondi, who complained about being shortchanged by a solar power systems agent, can seek redress through the Energy Regulatory Commission, says Pavel R. Oimeke, an official of the regulator of the energy sector.

Its mandate, Oimeke explains, covers solar water heating systems, enforced through the Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations 2012. Charles, he adds, should file his complaint to the ERC through info@erc.go.ke or write to the director-general. Robert can be reached through Robert.pavel@erc.go.ke.

________

BODA BODA OPERATORS SUICIDAL

Boda boda motorcycle operators are unnecessarily endangering their own lives, those of their passengers and other road users, says Nairobi resident Robinson Ngano. But the most extreme, he adds, is the tendency to carry unwieldy cargo, including livestock.

“Imagine a big cow being carried on a motorbike! Is this ingenuity or the height of stupidity? Some Kenyans operate very very dangerously,” remarks Robinson, whose contact is robin.ngano@gmail.com.

Have a reasonable day, won’t you!

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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WE ARE UNDER CURFEW. Could a curfew have been quietly imposed at Mshomoroni on the North Coast? asks Mombasa resident Isaac Mukua. Officers from Nyali Police Station, he claims, have lately been moving from bar to bar ordering patrons out well before 11pm.

Not only have they been targeting drinkers during the just-ended World Cup matches, but also the mama mbogas who sell groceries in the evenings. Those arrested, he alleges, must cough up Sh3,000 each to buy their freedom.

**********

WHAT NEW BEGINNING? When Nairobi Water Company was launched slightly more than 10 years ago, its slogan, “...a new beginning...”, was imaginative, attractive, fresh and made plenty of sense, notes Njeri Muathe.

However, she adds, the same slogan is still inscribed on the water utility’s motor vehicles that she often comes across. “How long will their beginning remain new?” she wonders. Surely, not after 10 years of service to the capital city’s residents!

**********

UNHAPPY WITH MEDIA. A bitter critic of the media, Moses Kimutai, is unhappy about headlines that tend to glorify only the negative aspects. “Though I cherish freedom of the Press, I wonder whether they have a role to play in promoting the good of the country”.

He always finds media coverage polarising. “But the negative reporting will not promote the Brand Kenya, trade, stable exchange rates, tourism and so on”. According to him, the reporting should be more “ethical, developmental, positive, progressive and beneficial to Kenyans”.

His contact is kymuty@yahoo.com

**********

LET'S BE MORE POSITIVE. Convinced that the “many good things the government is doing” are not being highlighted as criticism or negatives get all the attention, Donald Oluoch has resolved to do something about it.

He wants to mobilise all the people who believe that the government is working well to rally with him. But he is also challenging the government to ensure its many achievements are highlighted to counter the “doom and gloom that is making many Kenyan lose hope”.

**********

DISEMPOWERED. Hannah W. Kariuki applied for electricity connection to her rural home in Timau last year, promptly paying the requisite fee of Sh34,980. But to her utter shock, all her neighbours who applied at the same time were connected last month, and only she was left out.

And last week, she got a letter, Ref PK3B/11-B/3/1, requiring that she pay an additional Sh314,342.00! “I don’t understand why I should pay 10 times more than my neighbours.” The reference is E25302013100178 and her contact, hannahk.wothaya@gmail.com.

**********

BAD TASTE IN THE MOUTH. Besides ‘Beecham’s Hot Lemon’, which Irvin Homem says is probably “the best reliever of cold and flu symptoms” he has ever used, also missing from the shops and supermarkets in Nairobi is his favourite toothpaste.

Says he: “Aquafresh Extreme Clean, in an orange and silver packet, seems to have quietly vanished, leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I’m really hoping GlaxoSmithKline could consider making these products available again.” His contact is irvin.dsv@gmail.com.

Have a nice day, won’t you!

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

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 12 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

STATE FEAR

Corruption and terrorism thrive in a country where the rule of law are on the decline, warns R. Hood, adding that Kenya is dangerously slipping downwards. The most damning signs, he explains, include the withdrawal of foreign investment and the sharp decline in tourism. “Foreign currency will evaporate, the country’s balance of payments sill widen and the IMF and other lenders will defer loans. The result is that the people will suffer,” concludes Hood, whose contact is grant.england@live.co.uk.

________

SHODDY WORK

Hardly a year since the Kangemi-Kinoo stretch of Waiyaki Way, Nairobi, was rehabilitated, potholes are developing, says Churchill Amatha. Convinced that such repairs should last a little longer before the job is redone, Churchill feels that naming and shaming poor job contractors is the best way to ensure that quality work is done. But for now, he hopes the holes will be patched up before they get too big, requiring a complete reconstruction of the section. His contact is amatha@hotmail.co.uk.

________

REWARDING LOYALTY

Petrol stations in Nairobi and other big towns may have stopped rewarding their customers with freebies, but deep in rural Runyenjes in Embu County, they still do, says Geoffrey Gatema. A good example, he adds, is Emmanuel Filling Station, which issues its customers with cards on which they record the number of litres bought every time they refuel. For every litre bought, a motorist earns a Sh1 discount, which is cumulatively paid at the end of the month. His contact is geoffreygatema@gmail.com.

________

WRONG RESPONSE

When three Israeli teenagers were recently abducted and killed by Hamas militants, an emergency Cabinet meeting was convened to come up with appropriate response — air strikes in Gaza — notes Mombasa resident Carey Yiembe, regretting that the slaughter of nearly 70 innocent citizens in Mpeketoni, Lamu County, only sparked a blame game between rival politicians in government and opposition. “God help us,” yells Carey, whose contact is yiembe@gmail.com.

________

CENSORS

Cord leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula’s tactful conclusion of the Saba Saba rally at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on a peaceful note, has left egg on the faces of the TV stations, which refused to air such a newsworthy event live, says Jim Webo. “It is a pity that are being dragged back to the days of the Kanu dictatorship when the government would decide what we should watch or listen to on radio. But in this Internet era, such censorship is a waste of time. Shame on us all!”

Have a democratic day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Cutting Edge - July 11, 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

ARM CIVILIANS

Desperate situations call for desperate measures, such as this appeal by Gideon Nguu to the authorities to arm all the adults as a means to curb the senseless killings in Lamu and Tana River counties.

The time, he adds, has come to liberalise gun ownership. “All have an obligation to not only protect their loved ones, but also themselves.

Gangs kill innocents and get away with it because no one in the neighbourhood has a firearm. Civilians should be armed to complement the security forces.”

________

MARRIAGE OF DEVILS

The growing bloody cooperation between Al-Shabaab and the Mombasa Republican Council that is becoming increasingly evident is a marriage between two devils that must not be allowed to continue, warns Barre Shetto, writing from Mandera in the northeast.

Both groups, he adds, are not only illegal, they are also murderous. “The recent attacks in Lamu and Tana River counties are regrettable as innocent Kenyans lost their lives and property was destroyed.”

________

ELDORET HAS IMPROVED

There is some remarkable improvement in Eldoret Town and other places thanks to the good work the Uasin Gishu County government is doing, says Michael Greven.

In the town, he adds, new litter bins have been provided, and the garbage is being collected regularly, trees are being planted, roads repaired and drains cleared.

“It is great to see these community initiatives in Eldoret and the whole county. Everyone benefits from the important initiatives. Ahsante sana!”

________

IT'S NOT ALTRUISM

Though he fully welcomes plans to rehabilitate Nairobi River, Anthony Kiano is suspicious about the real interests of the 20 firms said to be keen on taking part in the project.

He would rather the initiative was exclusively carried out by the city county government. Could they, he wonders, be motivated by a feeling of guilt over their involvement in the pollution and, therefore, wishing to exploit any loopholes to avoid punishment for their misdeeds?

A scrutiny or clarification would be in order, he believes. His contact is kianoantony@gmail.com.

________

COPS EXTORTING

Some police officers in Isebania township on the Kenya-Tanzania border are giving the force a bad name with their waywardness, charges Zaccheaus Muchiri.

They are involved in an extortionist ring, and he has been a victim. He was arrested, tortured and forced to admit to dealing in fake currency.

And to buy his freedom, he had to cough up Sh12,000. “I speak for many others who are suffering in silence,” says Zaccheaus, who can be reached through zaccheausmuchiri@yahoo.com for details.

________

CONTROL SELFISH MPs

MPs should be banned from erecting billboards with their names at public projects sponsored by the Constituency Development Fund, urges Kamichore Mutindira.

The disease, he adds, has now spread to members of county assemblies who are doing the same with Local Authorities Trust Fund projects.

“Some refuse to complete projects started by their predecessors so that they can start their own and have plaques bearing their names,” says Kamichore.

Have a selfless day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 10 July 2014

TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE

The resurgence of killings by armed goons in Lamu County is “totally unacceptable”, remarks Ruth Gituma, in response to reports about the slaughter of another 24 innocent Kenyans, bringing the toll to nearly 70.

She is disappointed that this is happening “when the whole security apparatus is at the disposal of Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo and Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku”. The two in charge of security must be held accountable.

_________

WASTED MANPOWER

For his part, Wamahiu Muya is upset that 15,000 police officers had to be deployed to secure Cord’s Saba Saba rally, “while Al-Shabaab and their local allies have turned Lamu into Kenya’s killing fields”.

Inter- and intra-ethnic clashes, he adds, are still raging unabated, “as criminal gangs ravage our towns and villages, killing innocents, while white-collar barons fleece Kenyans.” Kenyans, he says, must not be held to ransom by megalomaniacs bent on dividing them along ethnic lines.

________

WHERE ARE THEY ?

Of the 10 presidential candidates in last year’s General Election, only three have been involved in seeking solutions to national problems, says Gitau Githii. President Kenyatta, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and to a lesser extent, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, have been active. “Where are the others and what is their stand on the calls for national dialogue? They should not complain if no one takes them seriously again. Jesus healed 10 lepers but only one came back to say thank you. They, too, have abandoned us.” His contact is agithii@yahoo.com.

________

LET DOWN BY TUSKYS

While shopping at Tuskys Supermarket’s Tom Mboya Street outlet in Nairobi, on July 3, Roselyn Atieno accidentally dropped a Simba Mbili curry powder packet, and a shop attendant dashed towards her, demanding she pay for it. “My plea that it was an accident fell on deaf ears and the manager snubbed me.” Roselyn was so upset she gave back all her shopping and paid Sh90 for the curry powder, leaving her Sh10 change behind. “They have lost a loyal customer,” declares Roselyn, whose contact is roselyn_nerea@yahoo.com.

________

THEY ARE NOT ALL MEAN

Not all the petrol station owners in Nairobi are mean to their customers, says John N. Gikima, adding that he knows of one that still offers freebies to attract more customers. But one, he adds, would have to get out of the central business district and head for the Kasarani-Mwiki road on the city’s northern outskirts to reach Amikev Petrol Station. The management not only offers monthly rebates on the fuel purchased, “their pressure checking machine is always working”.

________

GREAT WORLD CUP

The World Cup in Brazil has been a success, says Alnashir Walji, adding: “From the fixtures, one can see there has been the best football organisation, with no hitches in any of the pitches, and good reporting.” Though Brazilians protested against hosting the tournament terming it a waste of national resources, their country has enjoyed global attention. “The fans have had a lot to cheer about and I hope Harambee Stars learned a lot from President Kenyatta’s sponsorship to watch some matches.”

Have a thrilling day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 9 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WHY SENATORS ESCAPE

There have been numerous election petitions against governors, some of which still pending in court, but none against senators, notes a rather curious Thomas Yebei.

The reason for the petitions, he adds, may not necessarily be about integrity, “but rather a fight for the control of the massive resources put in the hands of governors”.

“How else could one explain courts choking with petitions against governors only?” His contact is tomyebei@yahoo.com.

________

INNOVATIVE KENYANS

Kenyans have been fully involved in innovations in the public transport sector that have led to the introduction of the cashless payment systems, says Chintan Gohel, who keenly follows the developments as a Google student ambassador.

“Most, if not all the payments systems, are homegrown. Bebapay was developed by the Google office in conjunction with Equity Bank.

My1963 and Abiriacard were also developed here in Kenya. And, of course, M-Pesa is Kenyan.”

________

WHO MOVED MY HOT LEMON?

Some products become so iconic that their sudden disappearance often causes heartache among regular users.

They include Daniel Mungai’s real favourite, Beecham’s Hot Lemon, which has gone missing. Daniel says he has gone “to every shop and pharmacy in Nairobi, to no avail”.

To him, even the thought of seeking alternatives does no arise. He will settle for nothing else and he is hoping the manufacturer and distributors will make it available. His contact is danmung@gmail.com.

________

MCAS FLYING TOO MUCH

Members of county assemblies have been inflicted by the frequent flier syndrome, remarks Kanyi Gioko, not all impressed with the claim that their expensive travels to Israel and other countries are for their education on problem solving.

“Israeli agronomists are working with experts at our universities on new farming technologies. Egerton University is attracting visitors from beyond our borders. Our ICT engineers are building Rwanda and Botswana industries. Why are MCAs travelling abroad?” asks Kanyi.

________

WHO ARE 'SAMPLE BOYS'?

A newspaper advertisement of vacancies at an agricultural organisation at the Coast caught Gitere Kimari’s eye because of the somewhat curious category of “sample boys”, as he wondered whether this was an error, and if not, who these could be and precisely what their role is.

“Could this potential employer come up with a more easily understood title for this position?” And since the Constitution prohibits discrimination, why should this job be the preserve of only one gender?”

Gitere is waiting for answers at gitereb@gmail.com.

________

CURIOUS NAMES

Days of the week provide some popular names for newborns among the Samia community that straddles the Kenya-Uganda border, notes Dave Tumbula, listing Mande (Monday), Tuesday, Friday, and Sande (Sunday).

However, he adds, he has never heard of people called Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday, and wonders just why not.

“There is no doubt that in this Luhya sub-tribe, many people are born on those days as well. Can sociology gurus shed some light on this?”

Have an interesting day, won’t you!

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 8 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

REPAIR RUNDA ROAD

The Nairobi City County government should repair the dilapidated Runda Road, urges local resident Iqbal Omar.

Whereas the entire Ruaka Road was completely rebuilt a few years ago, he adds, theirs has been totally neglected by the city authorities for the past five years, “and yet we also pay taxes and other levies to the government”.

He hopes Governor Evans Kidero will get the county’s roads department to fix the two-kilometre stretch as soon as possible.

________

AND THIS ONE IN KIAMBU TOO

Also sending out a passionate appeal for the repair of a road in his neighbourhood is David Mwangi, who wants Kiambu Governor William Kabogo and his county executive in charge of that portfolio to pay some attention to the Raini-Limuru Road.

The worst section is the gradual slope towards Banana Hill Township, which is full of car-wrecking potholes.

Says David: “Hardly a day passes without an accident occurring as drivers going downhill swerve to avoid the potholes.”

________

HELB UNHELPFUL

What has gone wrong with the Higher Education Loans Board which only a few years ago was a robust and effective organisation that enabled many students from poor families to pay for their university education? wonders Jefferson Mwiti.

His younger brother, an orphan, who scored an A- grade in the KCSE exam, applied for a loan last year but got nothing.

“He is now faced with a huge fee balance. Is there any hope of him ever getting a Helb loan?” asks Jefferson, whose contact is mwitijefferson@gmail.com.

________

ZUKU, I'M SUFFERING

Can the Zuku management ensure that subscriber Mutai Cheruiyot enjoys the reliable satellite TV he was promised when he enlisted?

The service, he moans, has become synonymous with signal breakdowns requiring frequent rebooting. Even worse, this often happens as he becomes engrossed in an interesting programme.

On calling customer care, the standard response is: “Our engineers are working on it.” Mutai is now demanding value for his money.

His account number is 305195, and his contact, welmutai@gmail.com.

________

OPERATOR TOO SMOOTH

There are some really smooth operators out there exploiting the desperation of others, moans Charles Omondi, still reeling from an encounter with a Nairobi solar systems distributor.

He is not sure whether there is a solar water heater regulatory body that he can file his complaint with. The company in South ‘B’ charged him “a cool Sh148,000” for the installation of a gadget last September that never worked.

Efforts to resolve the matter have hit a brick wall.

________

STILL TOO ANALOGUE

While many international businesses boost sales through the Internet, Kenyan firms have totally failed to fully make use of this vital communication tool, says Donald Oluoch.

Also faring dismally in online communication are government ministries and departments whose web sites are utterly wanting.

“The firms have merely ceremonial email addresses listing products and services they can’t provide.

The phone numbers given hardly function and if you are lucky to get through, the staff can’t explain what they offer.”

Have a vibrant day, won’t you!

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

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

NSSF DEFIANT. Why would the National Social Security Fund so blatantly defy a court order? Jayne Ndinda says employers and their workers are aware that the implementation of the new monthly contributions has been blocked by court pending determination of a case filed against it.

But when she sent her domestic staff to pay their June contributions at the Kiambu NSSF office, they were asked to pay the new rate. “Can someone, please, clarify?” urges Jayne, whose contact is jayne@relocationskenya.com.

**********

WHAT QUICK SERVICE? The supposedly “revamped and reformed” companies’ registry at Sheria House, Nairobi, whose official opening was performed by none other than President Kenyatta, is not delivering the quick services promised during the launch, Rutto Tarus says.

One, for instance, cannot do a search and register a company in a single day, as per the official hype. “Even obtaining a list of directors is not easy. No wonder we are losing investors to other countries and the much-needed jobs.” His contact is ruttotarus@gmail.com.

**********

SLEEPING ON THE JOB. The performance of all the 47 county governments has been rather wanting, especially in the development of the agricultural sector, which, according to the Constitution, is their sole responsibility, remarks Steve Wathome.

The counties, he adds, have allocated only about 20 per cent of their budgets to the sector though it “contributes 20 per cent of the gross domestic product, employs 70 per cent of rural folks, and accounts for 60 per cent of all exports”.

**********

THEY HAVE BECOME MEAN. Some five or so years ago, Michael Mburu recalls, petrol stations would fall over themselves providing incentives to motorists to fuel and service their cars.

“A motorist would receive a cake of soap or a discount. Today, whether you fill the tank or not, you will not even hear somebody say, ‘Thank you’. The greatest beneficiaries of these goodies used to be drivers employed by companies and individuals. How I wish any of the petrol stations could restore these incentives!”

**********

PARENTS HAVE FAILED. As debate on the appalling behaviour of young men and women during the recent Machakos Sevens sport and music entertainment event continues, Edmond Kipngeno believes parents have a role to play in ensuring that youth keep out of mischief.

“You should teach your child good manners or else you will regret the failure to do so when he or she gets into trouble,” he says. The most saddening thing for him, he adds, is to see youngsters get drunk, but more so in public.

**********

WASTED INVESTMENTS. Thanks to the World Cup in Brazil, many restaurants, bars and other entertainment joints have invested money, not only in buying smart TVs, but also in improving the environment and conditions for their patrons, notes Nairobi resident Dave Tumbula.

“But like Brazil, which spent billions of dollars on refurbishing old stadiums and building new ones, once the competition ends in a fortnight, the additional facilities will remain idle as patrons vanish. Unfortunately, the Olympics do not have a similar magnetic pull.”

Have a smarter day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Cutting Edge - July 4, 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

THEY ARE ICONS

Divock Origi, Barack Obama, Wangari Maathai, Lupita Nyong’o and David Rudisha are all global icons whose achievements should be emulated, says Jason Nyantino, disagreeing with Ephantus Kamau’s view that Kenyans should not be proud of Belgium teenage striker Origi.

“Why shouldn’t we be proud of Obama when billions around the world are? If Ephantus wants to know what national pride is all about, he should find out what happened in Ireland, the birthplace of Obama’s maternal ancestors, when he visited it in May 2011.”

________

LET DOWN BY EQUITY

A loyal Equity Bank customer in Embu, Jacob Mzito feels terribly shortchanged. And his grouse is over what he claims is a recent increase in over-the-counter withdrawal charges by more than 100 per cent without notifying him and other customers.

Jacob says he only came to know about it in May, after queuing in the bank for two hours to withdraw cash.

Still seething with anger, he remarks: “No wonder the bank posts huge annual profits.” His contact is jmzito2@gmail.com.

________

PERSUADE, DON'T THREATEN

Though the new cashless mode of paying matatu and bus fares is good, Sam Wangatia says there is a better way to promote its general acceptance than warnings of punitive measures.

The Transport ministry could, for instance, offer incentives such as reduced licence fees for those who have complied.

“This way, everyone will appreciate technology and we shall have a smooth bridge between the old and the new.”

________

EXPLAIN NEW METHOD

But Ben Njenga warns against simply aping what John Michuki did when he was Transport minister and largely managed to tame the rogue matatu industry. His successors have done that “with disastrous results”.

He would like the authorities, for example, to explain just how “the cashless payment for public transport will improve the deplorable road safety record or the barbaric habits of matatu drivers.

“To get to work, I use a boda boda and two matatus. Will they all accept one card?”

________

WHIP THEM INTO LINE

And how about this radical view? Epimach Maritim believes that the only effective way to tame the notorious matatu, bus and private motor vehicle drivers and motorcyclists is to introduce corporal punishment for those who flout traffic rules and regulations.

Says he: “Being nice in the enforcement of traffic rules just promotes corruption and will not achieve the desired results.

The solution is to arm all traffic cops with whips.” His contact is epimach@icloud.com.

_________

NO CONSULTATION

Keenly following changes in the transport sector, especially the introduction of modern technology including the cashless payment system and digital speed governors, Reuben Shuma says he cannot help faulting the authorities for not fully involving Kenyans in the innovations.

“They should have been given an opportunity to develop the systems and devices such as digital speed governors and debit cards instead of importing ready-made ones.

Give our people a chance, Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau.” His contact is rshuma@gmail.com.
 
Have a smart day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 3 July 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

TAME THE SPENDTHRIFTS

As Jubilee leaders celebrate the Eurobond “as if it is a grant”, they also seem content to merely watch MCAs and MPs engaging in wasteful escapades, including expensive overseas trips and sitting and mileage allowances, says W. Kirui.

As an ordinary citizen, Kirui is seeing a grave situation he wishes President Kenyatta could deal with.

“My greatest fear is that ours is a vehicle whose forward gears do not seem to engage. The sooner we get it going the better.”

________

MULINGE'S THE MAN

Should President Kenyatta consider replacing Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku, Keroline Opisa has a candidate in mind, Major-General (rtd) James Mulinge, who has the “expertise and experience” to effectively handle the security docket.

“He has the knowledge and experience gained in his military career, with the UN peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone, and as Kenya’s Ambassador to Somalia.

Here is a person who can tackle the rising insecurity.” Keroline’s contact is opisa70@gmail.com.

________

SIMPLE LIVES

On the issue of the extravagant lifestyles of some Catholic nuns, Wambua Musembi begs to differ with Janet Koi, who sees nothing wrong with the sisters driving the latest models of SUVs.

Says he: “It’s wrong for her to suggest they should do so just because they are educated and they buy the cars with their own money.”

He adds: “Being a Catholic I know that nuns should live a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. Their choice puts them beyond the things of this world.”

________

CONTRACTOR SLOTHFUL

The contractor working on the key road at Upper Hill, Nairobi, has been at it for the past three years and yet the four-kilometre stretch is not about to be completed, says Chris Chabeda.

And the sluggish pace of work, he adds, has come with other consequences, as is clearly evident on Matumbato Road, which is being used to divert traffic and has now been completely run down.

“What a shame!” yells Chris.

________

JUDICIAL INCOMPETENCE

The Judiciary, which should always be leading the way in ensuring that justice is done, is doing badly in its handling of bail refunds as Charles Mwangi has just found out.

Mwangi had a case at Milimani Commercial Courts and posted a Sh350,000 bail. When the charge against him was later withdrawn, he was assured a refund would be made soon.

Well, he is still waiting three months later and keeps being tossed between the registry and the accounts office, with talk about a missing file or receipts. His contact is wanyiricm@gmail.com.

________

END THE MAYHEM

The noisy mayhem in Kisumu Town continues despite recent assurances by county government officials that something is being done about it, says Nadim Wawji, whose family in the town centre has to put up with the bedlam emanating from a hotel.

Last Friday, he reports, the hotel played loud music until the wee hours. “The noise is affecting our peace and is a real nuisance.”

He simply cannot understand why the officials will not get the culprits to sound-proof their premises or lower the volume. His contact is nadim.mawji@gmail.com.

Have a tranquil day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 2 July204

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

IT'S A NATIONAL SHAME

It is embarrassing indeed for a group of Kenyans to have travelled to the US to perform at a major event and then boycott it in a dispute over allowances, remarks Peninah Wanjeri.

“It is hard to defend the spectacle at Smithsonian Folklife, in Washington DC. True, there is enough blame to go around, but the performers failed to see the forest for the trees.

This is a performance at the world’s largest museum with a global audience. There must have been a better way of handling this.” Her contact is mywoops@yahoo.com.

________

ACCEPT AND MOVE ON

Cord’s relentless calls for national dialogue to solve the country’s problems are not sincere, says Isaac Kimutai.

"If the leaders were, they would by now have convened a meeting and invited the media, civil society, professionals and government officials to discuss those issues.

They just want to raise political temperatures which is not the way to solve national problems.

If you fail to win an election, please accept the verdict and prepare for the next poll.” His contact is kimutaiisaacik@gmail.com.

________

MY LOGBOOK PLEASE

He has for a record 12 times called at the Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters in Times Tower, Nairobi, in pursuit of his logbook, but all Nital Shah is told by the counter staff is that the document will soon be mailed to him.

It all started on January 10, when Nital applied for a duplicate logbook having obtained a police abstract and gone to the CID headquarters to get the chassis number uplifted for Sh2,500.

The car registration is KBH 381D and his contact, Tel 0722510919 or cutiears@yahoo.com.

________

WHEN I GROW UP...

If he could rewind the clock and become a child again, Joe Ngige Mungai says, he would think seriously about his wishes of a future career.

Rather tongue-in-cheek, he adds, he would definitely have set his sights on becoming either a traffic policeman or a member of his home county assembly “when I grow up”.

In either of those two jobs, he explains, “you bid goodbye to having to seek salary advances or to apply for sacco loans”. His contact is mungai6969@gmail.com.

________

REFUND MY MONEY

Three years since being retrenched, Telposta sacco has yet to refund Tina Wakesho’s shares.

But even worse, she has not received any dividends though the sacco has been earning interest on her contributions.

Tina, who knows a thing or two about the laws governing cooperatives, says she should have been paid her dues two months after she ceased to be a member.

“Can the sacco management tell me when I will be paid?” Her contact is kittywa08@gmail.com.

________

JUJU DIDN'T WORK

Does the so-called black magic or juju really work in football? asks Vincent Mariita, adding that if there was something of the sort, then the five African countries in the World Cup should have fared better.

“This magic thing is just a fallacy. Out of the five teams, only Nigeria and Algeria qualified for the round of 16. Ghana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and now Nigeria and Algeria have been eliminated.

Does this magic work only in Africa or is European or American magic stronger?” His contact is mariitav@yahoo.com.

Have truthful day, won’t you!

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

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Cutting Edge - July 1, 2014

Belgium's King Philippe (L) poses for a selfie with Belgian national soccer team player Divock Origi. Belgium and Lille starlet Divock Origi has revealed it is a boyhood “dream” of his to play in the Premier League. 

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

ELATED BY ROAD WORK

An elated resident, David Mbindyo, says the contractor working on Lang’ata Road has done a good job of modifying the roundabout near the Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters.

“Hats off to the contractor. It was such a menace and threat to the safety of motorists and their passengers.

In fact, many drivers would smash into the kerb because of the sharp turns.” His contact is david_mbindyo@yahoo.com.

________

NO, NOT THAT WESTGATE

For the information of Jim Webo, the naming of the Westgate Shield School off Naivasha highway at Kikuyu, had nothing to do with last September’s terrorist attack on the shopping mall in Nairobi with a similar name, Felister Kivisi clarifies.

The school, she adds, was there long before the terrorists struck at Westgate Shopping Mall in Westlands.

“It is, therefore, incorrect to suggest that the owner was inspired by the attack to choose that name.” Her contact is fellykivisi@yahoo.com.

________

SURCHARGE CONTRACTORS

A section of Mombasa’s Magongo Road up to the junction to Jomvu has been in a deplorable state since trenches were dug to lay cables and water pipes, says motorist Virginia Wangui, who regularly uses that road.

The Kenya National Highways Authority, she adds, should ensure better supervision of contractors carrying out such projects to ensure high standards of workmanship.

She wishes such companies could be surcharged for shoddy work. Her contact is virginiawangui14@gmail.com.

_______

GO ON AND SHOW THEM, GOV

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua deserves praise for the completion of the Kithimani Road in a record three months and quite remarkably at half the projected cost, says a thoroughly impressed Pius Kigunda.

A native of Meru County, Pius wishes other governors and members of county assemblies could borrow a leaf from Machakos on the prudent use of public funds instead of wasting taxpayers’ cash on “unnecessary foreign trips”. His contact is kigunda69@gmail.com.

________

WHY TEACHERS DIE

The report indicating that many headteachers are likely to die of stress is far from the truth, remarks X.N. Iraki.

The main cause of the stress afflicting the school heads, according to him, “is lack of delegation; they want to do everything and control everything”.

The solution, he adds, is to encourage them to delegate and come up with succession plans. “And by the way, shall we ever get great headteachers like Carey Francis (Alliance) and Geofrey Griffin (Starehe)?”

________

ORIGI NOT OURS

Kenyans should be ashamed of taking pride in Belgium’s teenage striker Divock Origi at the World Cup in Brazil, says Ephantus Kamau.

Had Origi, the son of former Kenyan international Mike Okoth, been born and brought up in Kenya, “the closest he would have come to the World Cup is watching it on television”.

However, he advises, this should serve as wake-up call to the officials that there is plenty of talent waiting to be tapped, “instead of rushing to claim what they have not nurtured”. His contact is ephkamau@yahoo.com.

Have an admirable day, won’t you!

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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

THEY ARE DINOSAURS. The politicians warning their opponents against visiting their regions are living in a bygone era, says Samwel Oresi. In this era of increased freedoms, issuing internal travel advisories to certain politicians not to set foot in some places is primitive.

“If you do not like their political rallies, simply stay away. If the organisers force you to attend, then you have a reason to cry foul.” Those purporting to ban rallies in their areas, he adds, should record statements with police for threatening others.

His contact is samwelnyaguchaoresi@yahoo.com.

**********

WHERE'S MY TSC NUMBER? Two months since he applied online for a Teachers Service Commission number, Gilberto Mwas, who graduated from a teachers’ college in 2012, remains in the dark.

But every time he checks, he is assured that the “…process is still in progress…” Why the delay yet he has complied with all the requirements, including paying a Sh550 fee to the TSC? asks Gilbert whose contact is gilbertomwas@gmail.com.

**********

A THOUSAND APOLOGIES. Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi, sincerely apologising for the inconvenience suffered by Mary Njoki in her failed attempt to use the money transfer service, says the matter has since been amicably sorted out.

Says he: “The problem she experienced with the Airtel Money transfer is regretted. However, we have contacted her and refunded the Sh1,000 to her Airtel Money wallet.”

Airtel, the CEO adds, is committed to ensuring that its customers “have a better experience at all times”.

**********

21-GUN SALUTE!? Even as he joins other Kenyans and relatives of former military chief Jackson Kimeu Mulinge in mourning, King’ori Wangechi says the decision to give him a 21-gun salute sendoff was wrong.

“I think such an honour is reserved for only serving officers and the Head of State and Commander of the Armed Forces. It should not have been accorded to someone who left the military and later joined politics. It might set a bad precedent as others might demand that all retired officers be given State burials.”

**********

SOLVE THIS COCK-UP. After he was fined Sh500 at the Kibera Law Courts in Nairobi on April 26, Martin Imanthiu sent someone to pay on his behalf, who inadvertently deposited the money into the wrong bail account.

An attempt to have the transaction reversed and the money channelled to the right account, No 1116930412, failed and he had pay the Sh500 afresh. However, it has proved difficult to get the money deposited into bail account No 1146900457 refunded and the ex-convict is now demanding that justice be done.

His contact is imanthiu@gmail.com.

**********

NUNS ARE HUMANS TOO. The fellow who criticised Catholic nuns for driving the “latest models of SUVs” couldn’t have been more wrong, according to Janet Koi.

Says she: “Nuns are just as human as other people and must move with the times. After all, they are today more educated than in the past and need cars, computers and other essential gadgets, and, of course, they buy them with their own money. He shouldn’t expect them to remain backward as if that is what pleases God. Shine on sisters!”

Her contact is kui.janet@yahoo.com.

Have a fashionable day, won’t you!

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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

EXTRAVAGANCE NAUSEATING: The colossal sums of money MPs and Members of County Assemblies are spending on themselves are a source of great annoyance to Frank Laurence.

Says he: “Let’s go back to the basics. The real benefit from their many overseas travels should be assessed before they are approved.” He also cannot understand why the MCAs, “who are idle most of the time”, should have assistants hired for them.

The money, he proposes, should instead be used to build some decent houses for police officers.

His contact is feal60some@yahoo.co.uk.

**********

STOP THESE LEECHES: The idea of paying MCAs hefty sitting allowances for carrying out their official duties does not make sense, remarks Geoffrey Thiongo.

As a taxpayer, he adds, he expects the politicians to do the work for which their fellow Kenyans voted them into office.

“I thought we pay these people a salary to do their work? Instead, they have become vultures, hopping all over the world on my money and milking me dry without any qualms. These people are leeches.”

His contact is gthiongo2007@yahoo.com.

**********

KENYA'S UNSAFEST ESTATE?: Nakuru’s Kiamunyi Estate is, perhaps, the most insecure place in the country, moans Francis Macharia. Robbers and carjackers, he adds, strike at any time, as if they have no worry about the police.

“Who will come to our rescue?” asks Francis. After his neighbour’s house was broken into and the booty ferried away, the police were given the car’s registration number, but no action was taken.

“The officers are more interested collecting bribes from matatus and charcoal transporters.”

His contract is francismacharia60@gmail.com

**********

STREAMLINE BODA BODA: Though boda boda cyclists in Nairobi do a good job, supplementing the inadequate public service, they must not only maintain discipline, but also adhere to road regulations, says Abdi Mohammed.

Today, he adds, many will shamelessly ride on the pavements, or on the wrong side of the road, endangering the lives of their passengers and pedestrians. “Some carry more than one passenger and heavy loads, and others jump lights. Can the Traffic Commandant act before it gets out of hand,” pleads Abdi.

His contact is hakimabdi@yahoo.com.

**********

HIGHWAY ROBBERY: And could the traffic boss also urgently look into the wayward officers at the Athi River interchange on the Mombasa Highway? urges Ray Peterson, adding: “Every morning, several policemen arrive and blatantly extort bribes from drivers of matatus and of sand-carrying trucks. Not a single vehicle is ever inspected.”

According to him, their sole mission is to fleece motorists. “Surely, these officers could do some valuable work elsewhere.”

His contact is raypeterson.ok@gmail.com.

**********

HATS OFF TO OFFICER: But whatever critics say, there are some police officers who still live up to the force’s great motto, “Utumishi kwa Wote”, which is about selflessly serving fellow Kenyans, remarks Bernard Njuguna.

He was impressed the other day to see a lone policeman pushing a car, which had stalled near St Paul’s Chapel to the Uhuru Highway-University Way junction in Nairobi.

“The officer ensured there was no build-up in traffic. Kudos to him!” says Bernard, whose contact is bdnjuguna@uonbi.ac.ke.

**********

OFFICIAL CHAUVINISM?: A loyal citizen who religiously files her tax returns every year, Nyambura Gathumbi is upset that after years of complaining to the Kenya Revenue Authority, it remains gender-insensitive.

“The tax returns form does not recognise women as income earners and demands that men declare their incomes and those of their spouses. I call upon fellow women to refuse to file their returns if this form is not changed to reflect their own status”.

Her contact is nyambura.gathumbi@gmail.com.

Have a sensitive day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com Mail: The Watchman PO BOX 49010, GPO 00100, Nairobi.

Fax 2213946

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 28 Feb 2014

By EDITORIAL
More by this Author

DEVOLUTION

It is the political leaders, and not devolution, to blame for the country’s increased polarisation, says Alvin Sao. “Frankly, our leaders have let us down terribly and are now dragging devolution through the mud.

It is our civic duty to act where our leaders have failed. We should promote the spirit of brotherhood and national cohesion to serve a perfectly brewed cup of democracy.”

Then, Alvin adds, shall the “country attain the desired devolution”. His contact is saoalvin@yahoo.com.

________

NO SERVICE

Something is amiss at the Business Premises Rent Tribunal offices in Nakuru, which have been closed for a while, remarks Kamonjo Kiburi.

“A telephone number posted on the door is answered by an officer, who always says he is away, and promises to return within a week”.

The last time Kamonjo called, he was told the tribunal had been evicted for non-payment of rent. “Can a defaulter arbitrate on rent issues without bias? Those of us seeking justice are suffering. Can the authorities, please, intervene?” His contact is kkiburi@africaonline.co.ke.

________

SNAIL MAIL

A driving licence he obtained after passing his test in 2005, Aricolen Lasho says, was defaced and he applied for a duplicate last January.

He was issued with an interim licence, which expired in April, and since then, he has been checking at the Post Office every week, hoping that the Kenya Revenue Authority’s Motor Vehicle Registrar’s office staff will honour their promise to mail it to him “soon”.

His national ID card number is 24007613, and his contact, Tel 0724900030 or laricolen@yahoo.com.

________

BLACKOUTS

Some good news for the people of Ogalo Market in Butula, Busia County, who have been suffering a power outage!

Kenya Power managing director Ben Chumo says that following Obare Onyango’s recent complaint, an investigation revealed that the transformer serving the area failed due to a technical hitch soon after it was commissioned. 

A technical team from Bungoma then installed a new one at Musibibiri Primary School, Dr Chumo confirms, apologising for the inconvenience suffered by locals.

________

PRUDENCE

Are Catholic nuns developing a swag? asks Maina Muchara, adding that he has noted lately that some of the latest models of SUVs bear the inscription, ‘Sisters of this or that’, and he has spotted some “looking stunning in their habits behind the wheel”.

He wonders what the late Maurice Cardinal Otunga, who in his days rejected a Mercedes Benz car donation, would have said about this extravagant display. His contact is mainamuchara@gmail.com.

Have a frugal day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 27 June 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

LET'S JUST SUPPOSE

What would happen if President Uhuru Kenyatta accepted the call for national dialogue and led his team to the parley with Cord leader Raila Odinga and his allies? asks Waikwa Mubia.

The Uhuru side, he adds, could comprise Deputy President William Ruto, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Senator Kithure Kindiki. And they would face Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Senator Moses Wetang’ula and MP Francis Nyenze.

“It would just be like the pre-election presidential debate and Kenyans would judge.”

________

STOP THE ABUSE

To ease the political tension, the leaders should stop hurling abuse at one another, says Jay Shikuku, who is, however, pleased that finally, the crackdown on politicians inciting their supporters at public rallies has begun.

Some of the leaders have fanatical support bases and their followers will not take kindly to personal attacks or attempts to humiliate them.

This, he warns, is another potential breeding ground for ethnic/political violence whether or not the freedom of speech is constitutionally guaranteed.

________

NAKUMATT, SHOW THE WAY

Welcoming Nairobi City County government’s plan to ban the use of plastic bags, Richard Kihara says the most effective way is to immediately get leading supermarkets such as Nakumatt fully involved in the campaign.

Nakumatt, he adds, could actually lead the way, having gained valuable experience from its outlet in Rwanda.

“The Kigali branch operates perfectly well without plastic. It won’t be hard and it will be a show of good corporate social responsibility.”

________

'OUR' STARS SHINING STRONG

Gospel singer David Chegerichman is elated that the numerous problems facing the country, such as the rampant insecurity, notwithstanding, “our stars continue to do us proud”.

He adds: “Our country has produced Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and some musicians who have excelled in the international arena.”

For the latest achievement, he cites the World Cup goal scorer Divock Origi, a Belgian player with Kenyan ancestry, adding: “We shall continue to shine.”

________

MANAMBAS WILL SUFFER

The newly unveiled cashless payment system for matatus, Vincent Mariita fears, spells doom for the hundreds of thousands of manambas who serve on routes and at terminuses in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and other towns.

“As the conductors will no longer be handling cash, these ‘controllers’ won’t get their daily bread.”

The most likely consequence, he warns, is a tenfold increase in insecurity as these youths will resort to ngeta (muggings) as an alternative source of money.

________

INSPIRED BY WESTGATE

The owner of a new school on the Nairobi-Naivasha highway at Kikuyu has, perhaps to keep alive the memory of the Westgate shopping mall terror attack, come up with an interesting name for the institution, notes Jim Webo.

It’s simply called Westgate Shield School, which, Jim thinks, was meant to convey his commitment to protecting pupils at the school, but also indicates the owner’s desire to see the safety of Kenyans enhanced.

“The writing is on the school wall for terrorists!”

Have an unforgettable day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 26 June 2014

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

JAIL HATE MONGERS

Picking up politicians for quizzing over utterances made at public rallies could just end up trivialising the need for a serious crackdown to stem hate speech, warns Dave Tumbula.

“The public will already be familiar with what was said, most of which amounts to petty outbursts. No wonder even those arrested have the charges thrown out by courts and the circus continues.”

Dave would rather the inciters were pursued with solid and impeccable evidence, convicted and jailed to serve as a deterrent against such crimes.

________

THIKA STREETS A MESS

Thika Town, the so-called ‘Birmingham of Kenya’ thanks to its thriving industries, is also in a dubious class of its own with potholes all over the streets, says George Mburu.

The town’s authorities are making the situation worse by shabbily filling in the potholes with soil and murram. “It gets really dirty whenever rain falls and dusty when it is dry. Needless to say, the potholes reappear as soon as the mud is washed away by the rains.

As rate and taxpayers, we demand better services.” His contact is mburugm@yahoo.com.

________

LITTER-BUGS A MENACE

Nothing more infuriates Mercy Tetu like those who throw litter out of moving motor vehicles, especially matatus and buses plying upcountry routes. “We must condemn them for eating fruits and then throwing the peels out of the window.”

According to her, almost every corner of Nairobi is being turned into a dumpsite.

“This is quite unfortunate and something needs to be done about it. Harsh penalties are called for and the governors should lead the clean-up campaign.”

________

ARRANT NONSENSE

The call to provide schoolchildren with condoms and other types of contraceptives is nonsensical, remarks James Antony Maingi. “I am really dumbfounded!

Because youths are engaging in sex, falling pregnant or contracting HIV, some people now want them to be given condoms. My foot!

So, why doesn’t the government provide each one of us with an AK-47 rifle to protect ourselves from those responsible for the runaway insecurity?” His contact is paskton@yahoo.com.

________

A WAKE-UP CALL

Kenya’s maiden bid that has secured a $2 billion Euro bond is a wake-up call to local banks to seriously consider lowering interest rates, says Vincent Mariita.

Their huge earnings from investment in Treasury bonds, he warns, are likely to dry up.

“While our banks charge more than double the CBK’s base lending rates, their counterparts in the developed economies such the US and UK barely do more than five percentage points above their central banks’ base lending rates.”

________

KENYANS NOT GULLS

The seemingly never-ending Anglo Leasing scandal investigations are not only a waste of time, but also national resources, laments Stevenson Karanja.

The authorities, he adds, “have been taking us around in circles in the past 10 years, promising results soon, but nothing happens.

“Do they think we are that gullible, despite having noted the record-breaking speed with which they paid out Sh1.4 billion to two Anglo Leasing companies?” His contact is kiambuman@yahoo.com.

Have an effective day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 25 Jun 2014

By EDITORIAL
More by this Author

DEVOLUTION TO BLAME

The advent of devolution is to blame for a rise in tribalism across the entire country, claims Alex Mukoma.

When he first heard about the system, he was excited because he thought “Kenya would become like the United States”. But nearly four years later, he moans, the once united country is now threatened with disintegration.

“Tribal divisions will not solve but will only aggravate our national problems. Let’s maintain unity.” His contact is mukomalex@gmail.com.

________

TRANSFORMER GAMES

Since a power transformer serving Quarry Estate at Embakasi blew up on May 24, technicians have been coming to the place, and after a few hours of twiddling, carting it away and bringing it back, but it ceases to function soon after they have installed it.

This has happened four times since the beginning of the year. The cause of the transformer woes, he believes, is an overload, thanks to the mushrooming high-rise buildings.

________

BANK HAS LET US DOWN

Of the banks operating at Thika Road Mall, only the Co-operative Bank is shortchanging its customers, says Shem Maina.

The bank has failed to “adjust to the business environment” at the plush shopping mall. On Saturdays, it shuts its doors at 12.30pm, whereas NIC, CBA, KCB and Oriental banks’ branches close at 3pm, giving their customers ample time to transact business.

Stanchart Bank is open until 4pm and Barclays, 8pm. Shem is also frustrated over lack of “executive banking” at Co-op Bank.

________

SUBSCRIBER UNHAPPY

Airtel subscriber Mary Njoki sent money on May 10, at 9.30am from Tel 0731200476 to Tel 0714661884, and though her account was debited, the would-be recipient got nothing.

She also did not receive a message confirming the money had been sent. On calling customer care, she was told the “systems were down that day”, and that she was the only one who complained.

To date, she has not received a refund. “Unless these problems are fixed, customers will continue to shun the money transfer service,” Mary warns.

________

POLICE TOLL STATION

Every morning on his way to work in Ngong Town, hawk-eyed John Njenga spots the conductors of the matatus plying this route parting with Sh200 per vehicle.

“The traffic police officers are so ingenious that they have a person dressed in a matatu conductor’s uniform who collects the fee from each vehicle without fail.

Considering the number of matatus on this route, these people and their bosses are swimming in money.”

________

LET THEM USE COPTERS

Blocking highways to other users so that leaders or visiting dignitaries can have a smooth ride is creating needless snarl-ups and terribly inconveniencing people who should be freely going about their own business, says Abdul Sidi.

“Isn’t the safety of ordinary Kenyans just as vital as that of the VIPs? On May 29, just because we had Chinese visitors, other motorists were forced to wait in the heavy traffic as plainclothes officers just pushed other drivers off the road in Nairobi to make way for them.

Why can’t they use helicopters to save us the agony?”

Have a convenient day, won’t you!

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