Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

BUILD ROADS. Just back in Mombasa after a tour of the lakeside region, and particularly Kisumu Town, Martin Wahome says that unlike the former, where not a single new road has been built in the past five years, a lot is happening upcountry in the development of infrastructure.

“Whereas there has been an increase in motor vehicles, we only hear talk of a new bridge, bypasses, and general improvements, but nothing happens.”

He quips: “To my leaders, I say it is good roads that bring wealth and not wealth that brings good roads. Please do something about Mombasa.”

His contact is [email protected]

*********

ENFORCE ORDER. The hawker menace at Eastleigh, Nairobi, is getting out of hand, moans Charles Itimu.

As the city county government rebuilds roads, he claims, hawkers are sometimes occupying full lanes to display their wares.

A case in point, he adds, is First Avenue, Eastleigh, where motorists have great difficulty manoeuvring their way out of the mess.

Another source of annoyance, according to him, are the jua kali mechanics operating on the side roads. “It is simply hell for the residents!”

His contact is [email protected]

*********

ALARM OVER TREES. Before the construction of the Southern Bypass began, the boundary of the Ngong Road Forest was quite clear near Lenana School, remarks Oti Gem.

But as the project nears completion, Oti is alarmed that the forest seems to be slowly disappearing, with buildings coming up in an area that was not long ago full of trees and other vegetation.

Can the Kenya Forest Service and Nema shed some light on this development? he pleads.

His contact is [email protected]

*********

UPHILL TASK. The biggest joke of the year, Ken Butiko says, is ODM’s shameful failure to ensure that a mere 400 delegates vote peacefully to nominate the party’s candidate in the forthcoming Homa Bay senatorial by-election. 

Since the party has been critical of the IEBC’s handling of the last General Election, this is the least Ken could have expected.

According to him, the spectacular flop confirms that “old habits die hard”. His contact is [email protected]

*********

WILLING VICTIMS. Following the much-publicised TV unmasking of the fake miracles of self-styled “pastor” Victor Kanyari recently, Peter Mwai is amused that some gullible people continue to be cheated in broad daylight.

“People will stand by the roadside and watch others being cheated with a little science of chemical reactions and will buy the tablets believing that they will clean up their bodies. The tablets do not even have the Kenya Bureau of Standards mark!”

His contact is [email protected]

*********

HYGIENE NIGHTMARE. Thika Town, proudly dubbed the “Birmingham of Kenya” for its industries, is becoming an eyesore because of its inability to dispose of garbage, moans Dan Nyaga.

A resident of the town for the past 17 years, Dan says it was always one of the cleanest towns in the country, but it is now choking with polythene, torn clothes, and discarded used diapers.

But worse, he adds, are used sanitary towels scattered near people’s doorsteps. “Why not simply burn the stuff?”

His contact is [email protected]

Have a neat day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

DUTY OF MPs. The Opposition, as the government in waiting, has a role to play in influencing legislation in Parliament and not out in the streets demonstrating, says William Kamau. As the potential alternative government, he adds, the Opposition’s brief is to come up with Bills or debate on the floor of the House motions introduced by the government. “The Opposition lawmakers should not be running to media cameras and should be engaging gainfully in Parliament.” His contact is [email protected]

*****************
WATER BILL WOES. Could Dorcas Khasowa be paying the price for questioning the conduct of some employees of the Nairobi Water Company? Last month, Dorcas complained about harassment by the firm’s employees, who had disconnected her water supply although she had paid her bill. Now, she says, she has been slapped with a bill of Sh20,565. “How could I consume so much water in less than 30 days and yet I am rarely in the house?” Her calls to their officers have gone unanswered. Her account number is 1524454 and her contact, [email protected]

****************
ANYONE THERE? Listening to the frequent complaints on the dilapidated state of the busy Outer Ring Road in Nairobi’s Eastlands, Dan Muthinga says he has been disappointed to note that no response has been forthcoming from the authorities. Dan, therefore, wants an assurance that the construction plan is still on and an explanation from the supervising engineer and the contractor as to whether the money set aside for the construction and maintenance of the existing road and the deviation is there. His contact is [email protected]

****************
STOP THEM. Public service vehicles, trucks, and petrol tankers should be barred from using slip roads and climbing lanes in Nairobi, urges Diana D’Souza. Most of the drivers of the heavy commercial vehicles, she charges “do not seem to realise the danger they pose to other motorists, especially those driving cars”, as they force them off Waiyaki Way or topple over, blocking roads for hours, aggravating the endemic gridlock. “Unless they are barred, the county government will the repairing roads almost every month.” Her contact is [email protected]

****************
DEVELOP AREA. High-riding Governor Alfred Mutua had better do something about the lack of infrastructure and public amenities at Syokimau, which though popular with people seeking to build palatial residential homes, goes against his own mantra that “Machakos County is the place to be”, urges Henry Onyango. “There is never any water in our taps and we have to spend on average Sh10,000 a month buying it from vendors. Mavoko Water Company ceased supplies 10 months ago. Over to you, Governor Mutua!” His contact is [email protected]

*****************
SECURITY. As a consequence of the recent massacre of nearly 60 innocent Kenyans by Somalia’s Al-Shabaab terrorists, Joe Ngige says he can foresee a situation in January in which teachers and other civil servants from other parts of the country refuse to return to north-eastern Kenya. “The TSC will be forced to interdict the deserters, and then have a catch 22, with no replacements. The government must guarantee security for all before the New Year.” His contact is [email protected]
 
Have a secure day, won’t you!
E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

NKAISSERY’S THE REAL DEAL: When it comes to being the Cabinet Secretary for Internal Security, Major-General (Rtd) Joseph ole Nkaissery fits the bill, Duncan Sakwa says, disagreeing with the criticism of his nomination.

He believes the former military man has the expertise and experience to make a difference in the docket, which has been on the spot over increasing insecurity, especially, attacks by al-Shabaab. “True, no one is perfect, but we should put our security in safe hands,” Sakwa states. His email address is [email protected]

*********

REMAIN VIGILANT: Concerning crime during the festive season, Wilberforce Manali says people should not lower their guard. He states: “As we sit at home to have fun, as we throng recreational places to get entertained, as we travel on buses and matatus, as we pack the halls to watch football and other games, as we go swimming, and whatever else we do, we should always be watchful, careful and concerned about our own safety! Merry Christmas to you all!” Manali’s email address is [email protected]

*********

DO SOMETHING: The most disappointing thing about Kenyan officials and ordinary folk, Michael Bakari states, is their tendency to sit back and let events unfold, only to complain about them, criticise and condemn others much later.

This, according to him, is a defeatist stance that should be shunned. He says: “I think we should put our efforts, time and money into nation building, reconciliation and improving the people’s living standards to build a corruption-free and more accountable society”. Bakari’s email address is [email protected]

*********

BE HUMBLE, KAIMENYI: Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi should avoid “shouting back at” teachers’ union leaders and continue serving them with the humility with which he assumed office more than a-year-and-a-half ago, Eric Ochieng says. “Shouting won’t solve any problems. He should leave the heckling to the marketplace and politicians, of whom he is not one.

Prof Kaimenyi should not forget that he is not a politician, even if he harbours such an ambition”. According to Ochieng, the ministry should seek a lasting solution to strike threats.

**********

ON INDUSTRIAL ACTION: January may be a little far, but Kenny Gichuhi is already worrying about the threat by teachers to go on strike as soon as schools reopen for the first term next year.

He fears that the government might not give in to the teachers’ pay demand, and that “while the majority of children of the poor in public schools will remain at home, their counterparts in the private institutions will be learning”. Gichuhi’s email address is [email protected]

**********

REMEMBERING UHURU: President Jomo Kenyatta, XN Iraki writes, is known for leading the country to independence, resettlement, traditional dancing, and jailing his opponents; Daniel arap Moi, for Nyayo philosophy, free milk, building schools, 8-4-4, land clashes and multipartism; and President Mwai Kibaki for free primary school education, freedom, a new constitution and post-election violence. “President Uhuru Kenyatta must define his legacy. Surely, it cannot be insecurity,” Iraki, whose email is [email protected], says.

**********

BAD COPS: Pascal Juma is still smarting from an encounter with plainclothes officers that he says he will not forget soon. Trouble started at the Luthuli Avenue-River Road junction in Nairobi on December 9, when he was arrested by people, who refused to identify themselves.

They hurriedly took him and other suspects to Kamukunji Police Station and threw them into the cells without booking them in an occurrence book. “What followed was a drill to force each one of us to buy his freedom,” Juma, who wants to see justice done, reports. His email address is [email protected]

Have a distinct day, won’t you!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

BY-ELECTIONS: Badly needed is a law that stipulates that a party that has expelled an errant member should meet the cost of the by-election, says Andayi Mushenye.

The same should apply to the government, he adds, if it poaches an opposition MP. The electoral commission, he argues, should only meet the cost in case a by-election is occasioned by death, sickness or imprisonment of an MP. “The electoral commission should not be indirectly paying for the mistakes or selfish decisions of politicians.” His contact is [email protected]

*********

RAW SEWAGE: Nairobi Water Company is soundly sleeping on the job, says a disappointed resident of Tena Estate in Eastlands, Lydia Karanja.

Raw sewage, she adds, has been flowing in home compounds opposite Jeska Supermarket for the past seven months, despite calls to the city water firm to sort out the mess. She wonders of what use the company’s office at Kayole near the Equity Bank branch is. For the details, her contact is [email protected]

*********

RICH SUSPECTS: Having five-star cells in remand centres in Nairobi and other towns is not a bad idea, after all, says Preeyesh Shah. The government, Preeyesh adds, should, in fact, seriously consider investing in blocks with such comfortable cells for high-profile suspects, including foreigners. “They will be paid for by the inmates themselves, relieving taxpayers of the burden, while providing the gentry with suitable ‘accommodation’.” Preeyesh’s contact is [email protected]

*********

STADIUM MESS: Kirigiti Stadium in Kiambu, which boasts a pride of place in the country’s political history, as a venue of meetings addressed by nationalists among them Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, is in a shameless state of disrepair and neglect, moans Peter Mwai.

“It is now home to snakes and other creatures hiding in the overgrown bushes.” Retired President Mwai Kibaki had promised to rehabilitate it as did Kiambu Governor William Kabogo during his campaign rallies. His contact is [email protected]

*********

GREEDY MILLERS: Maize millers are reaping where they have not sown, says Ken Ogare, adding that whereas the prize of a 90kg bag of maize has tumbled from Sh3,000 to Sh1,500, consumers are still paying the same old price for flour. 

According to him, the cost of electricity, and the price of crude oil have declined, but the benefit is not being passed on to consumers. “Pump prices remain high and manufacturers are making double profits. The government should intervene.” His contact is [email protected]

 
Have an affordable day, won’t you!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Cutting Edge

UNSIGHTLY NUISANCE. The kiosks springing up all over the roads in the residential areas are a source of concern to Diana D’Souza. Says she: “While I have no problem with paying for our homes and the surrounding areas to be kept clean, I do have a problem with the licensing of kiosks. If they must operate, the authorities must ensure that the garbage they generate is collected on a daily basis. The kiosks and roadside car-wash bays dump rubbish and discharge water into the drains, which are pretty soon going to clog up every street.” Her contact is [email protected].

***************
STALLED WORKS. When the Nairobi County government started building and renovating roads, walkways, and other facilities around Kenyatta Market, David Jasondu was happy. However, he moans, the project seems to have come a cropper. “Bus stops and sidewalks were dug so that they could be expanded but the work stalled midstream, leaving dangerous canals that pose a grave threat to drivers and pedestrians.” Jasondu is urging Governor Evans Kidero, “who used to frequent the market to enjoy nyama choma” to pay a visit and see for himself how bad the situation is.

***************
SAVE FIELD. Can Nairobi Governor Kidero, Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko, and Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu go to the rescue of the youth of Eastlands, who are on the brink of losing a vital playground to a private developer? urges Sam Otieno. The ground at Tena, he claims, has been fenced off, denying the young people access to it, and he fears a building could come up on it soon. Sam abhors the greedy people who are eyeing every open space for their personal gain. His contact is [email protected]

***************
HIGH TAXES. A Kenyan living in North Carolina, United States, Dickson Kabugu, says he was shocked to learn that “our embassy” in Washington, DC, charges Kenyans some Sh4,000 ($50) to obtain national identity cards or apply for replacements. “Shouldn’t an ID be a free document for all Kenyans. Isn’t this what our high taxes are for?” The link, http://www.kenyaembassy.com/pdfs/Jamhuri_Day_Reception_Invite.pdf, is the proof. His contact is [email protected]

**************
SCENE OF DEATH. For the patients going to the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital, the most harrowing thing they face is having to pass through Hospital Road, remarks Kennedy Ongubo. The road, he adds, is lined by several coffin-making workshops and an “eye-catching display of their products in all sizes, colours, and designs”. And near the hospital gate, according to Kennedy, the patients will not fail to notice a number of hearses, parked and waiting to ferry bodies for burial. “Can somebody, please, change this scene?” he pleads. His contact is [email protected]

*************
FREE CHOICE. As he congratulates MP John Mbadi on his elevation to the position of ODM national chairman, Onyango Alare says the man has started his tenure on the wrong footing by openly campaigning for former Premier Raila Odinga to vie for the Homa Bay senatorial seat. As the brand-new chairman of the party, Onyango adds, Mbadi should, in fact, have been leading the way in ensuring that members freely nominate the ODM candidate in the forthcoming by-election. Onyango’s contact is [email protected]
 
Have a democratic day, won’t you!
E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

PARTY LEADERS: The hottest news now is the hand-picking by the Orange Democratic Movement of the Ababu Namwamba team as the interim leadership, says Oketch Aoko. “They were given positions without following the party constitution and holding elections in a democratic movement.”

According to him, the new leaders are now puppets of the party leader “because he has given them a potato and the same hand that giveth can withdraw those positions when shove comes to push”. His contact is [email protected]

********

WHO BENEFITS? A physically disabled person now in his mid-forties, Mola Martin, says he first heard about the National Fund for the Disabled when he was in secondary school and wonders what achievements, if any, the fund has attained since its establishment. According to Mola, the fund should at least have preferential treatment for the disabled on its rental premises.

“The fund should be revamped to effectively serve the people for whose benefit it was set up.” His contact is [email protected]

********

UNFAIR TAX: The Kenya Wildlife Service should not charge farmers Sh1,500 to keep quails, says Edward Mulaama, adding that the birds should have been removed from the list of wild animals by now. “When humans evolved from apes 3 million years ago, they domesticated many birds, chickens, quails, geese, ostriches, and many more.

It doesn’t make sense for the KWS to continue to tax people to rear quails. It must be stopped now.” His contact is [email protected]

********

FLEECING COMPANY: When he was terribly desperate, Frank Maloba says help duly came from a micro-based institution in Westlands, Nairobi, which gave him a loan. Unfortunately, he failed to repay the loan on time and they seized his household items, which, Frank, concedes was right.

However, Frank is upset that after clearing the loan and paying the storage surcharge fee, he went for his household goods and found half of the items missing. “Is this is a micro-financing or fleecing company?” His contact is [email protected]

********

SPEED UNLIMITED: The National Transport Safety Authority should review the 50km limit in some places in Nairobi, says David Kimani. One such area, he adds, is Waiyaki Way, especially the stretch from Uthiru shopping centre because of the heavy trucks menace.

“As cars move at 50kph, lorries come zooming at 100kph, literally shoving smaller vehicles off the road. Many motorists would rather speed than risk getting crushed by a speeding truck.” His contact is [email protected]

********

SUCCESSES AND FAILURES: While he appreciates the suggestion that Kenya should learn from Ethiopia how to tackle the threat of terrorism from Al-Shabaab, James Githinji says the proponents of that view should not forget that the latter has its own glaring failures and weaknesses.

“We should never forget that Ethiopia is still very far behind Kenya on democracy and that thousands of its citizens are daily risking their lives trying to leave the country by crude and illegal methods.” His contact is [email protected]
 
 Have a comparable day, won’t you!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

SPIRIT OF HUMILITY: The ICC’s decision to drop the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta is good, remarks Wambua Musembi, adding that it has been rather embarrassing for Kenyans to have their leader indicted as a suspect in crimes against humanity.

However, Musembi hopes the President takes this good turn with humility and decorum. “He should not be heard making disparaging remarks against the court as this could prejudice the case against Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang.” His contact is [email protected]

*********

TIME TO WORK: As he congratulates President Kenyatta for having been finally let off the hook by the ICC for lack of evidence, Onyango Alare is amused at a remark made by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

“How on earth did she expect the government headed by the accused to provide evidence to incriminate him? This can’t and will never happen. Uhuru had to fight tooth and nail to win the presidency and use it to shield himself. Now, he can concentrate on his work.” His contact is [email protected]

*********

OVERRATED: The capability of the otherwise well-funded National Intelligence Service is grossly overrated, remarks John Gitau. The 70 Chinese found recently in Runda, Nairobi, allegedly planning to hack communications systems, he adds, might as well have been manufacturing bombs.

And they were only flushed out following a fire scare in one of the houses. “This discovery is a huge indictment of our internal security system.” His contact is [email protected]

*********

APPRECIATING KIMAIYO: Outgoing Inspector-General of Police David Kimayo may have had his failures, but he deserves praise for his role in ensuring a peaceful General Election in March last year, says X.N. Iraki.

“While we love condemning and vilifying people, we must remember to thank Kimaiyo, who put his life in harm’s way since the age 20, to secure us. Unlike other professions where you get foreigners or outsiders to change things, police jobs are usually reserved for citizens.” His contact is [email protected]

*********

RAW DEAL: Water supply remains a big challenge for rural towns such as Kisii despite efforts to develop their capacity through the establishment of water and sewerage companies. One such a firm, Kisii Water Company, local resident Winnie Nzuki moans, is giving its customers a raw deal, while expecting them to pay their bills without fail.

For about three weeks now, she claims, not a drop of water has come out of her taps and calls to the firm have only elicited rude outbursts. Her contact is [email protected]

*********

EASING TRAFFIC JAM: This is not a particularly original or new idea, but Pato Gura is convinced it is the way to go to ease the endemic congestion, especially in Nairobi’s city centre.

The solution, according to Pato, is to double the daily parking fee to Sh600 for all motor vehicles, including matatus. “Motorists will have to weigh and decide to leave their cars at home or bring them into the city centre and pay the higher fee. Over to you, city county government officials!” His contact is [email protected]

 
Have a solvable day, won’t you!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

THE ROAD TO CHEAPER POWER: To boost electricity generation, the government should buy back all KenGen shares and invest Sh100bn a year for 10 years, Antony Waweshke advises. And 70pc of that investment, he adds, should go into developing geothermal energy sources.

Once solidly capitalised, the firm can then be sold back to the public and “it will be a win-win situation as the government will recoup its investment and provide cheap and reliable power.” His contact is [email protected]
************

THINKERS WANTED: The government badly needs serious thinkers in all its arms to be able to come up with viable solutions for the myriad challenges facing the country, says Ben Njenga. Fifty years after Independence, Ben adds, the country still has little tangible development achievements to show, due to the “pedestrian policies in various sectors” formulated by those entrusted with the management of national affairs. His contact is [email protected]

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

INSECURITY WILL PERSIST: Declaring from the outset that he is not a pessimist, Peter C. Kairu says, however, that the removal of Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo and Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku will not end the mounting insecurity.

“Though it may be a sign of taking personal responsibility for failure, it is a victory for the terrorists, who are likely to hit even harder to frustrate the government and the new appointees. We’re now reaping the fruits of a corrupt system that will take years to clean up.” His contact is [email protected]

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

LET'S CYCLE TO WORK: Even as he commends Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau for the introduction of the cashless fare payment system, Reuben Shuma is warning about the challenges ahead. He adds: “Can one surviving on less than a dollar a day afford the card? 

This is an unaffordable luxury to the majority poor Kenyans, who even haggle over fares. Why can’t we embrace bicycles like our counterparts in Europe, where the high and mighty often cycle to work. Listen to the voice of the poor.” His contact is [email protected]

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

GIKUYU HAD 10 GIRLS: As a cultural campaign, the idea of Kikuyu returning to their roots is a good one, but it should be accurate, says Richard Mundia, in response to Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria who, while announcing plans to restore a Kikuyu shrine, spoke about “nine daughters of Gikuyu and Mumbi”. “They were actually 10, but referred to in Agikuyu culture as the full nine — Wanjiru, Wambui, Wanjiku, Wangui aka Waithiegeni, Wangechi aka Waithira, Wanjeeri aka Wacera, Nyambura aka Wakiuru, Wairimu aka Gathigia, Wangari and Wamuyu aka Warigia.” Contact: [email protected]

***********

SAFARICOM OWES ME: Something doesn’t quite add up in the Safaricom download charges, says Dahir Mohamed. On November 26, at 11 p.m., he topped up his airtime with a voucher, No. 27140277030704781, and received an alert from 20303, saying SMS text “Get follow you - Gloria Muliro, follow http://vutawire.com/b22803 to download”. An extra Sh25.37 was deducted from his account and he contacted customer care and was advised to contact the download service 20303, but all he wants is his refund. His contact is [email protected]

***********

NO NEED FOR TRAFFIC COPS: Several months after new traffic lights were installed in Nairobi, police officers continue to man the roundabouts, making a mockery of the huge public expense. Mohammed Fazal Hussein cannot understand why traffic police officers insist on manning roundabouts instead of letting the lights work. According to him, they should only wait and arrest motorists who jump the lights. “It is as simple as that!” quips Mohammed, whose contact is [email protected]

Have a logical day, won’t you!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Cutting Edge

POLICY SHIFT? Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang’s hint that some secondary schools may be merged to streamline the sector has alarmed Reuben Shuma. Some of the schools established during retired President Daniel arap Moi’s tenure in the 1980s, he recalls, were meant to enable the marginalised communities in far-flung areas to access education. But Shuma would welcome the conversion of some of them into technical institutes for skills training. His contact is [email protected]

*****************
WHAT A WASTE! While he appreciates the good job the Nairobi City County government is doing to light up the streets and enhance security, George Mwangi says he has been appalled to see the wanton wastage of power. The new street lights along Lunga Lunga Road in Industrial Area have been burning all day long since their installation. “Initially, they were being tested, but somebody seems to have forgotten his job.” His contact is [email protected]

******************
SECURITY CONCERNS. Unless the Jubilee leadership rises to the occasion to tackle insecurity, it is paving the way for the opposition’s victory in the 2017 General Election, warns Ken Chirchir. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, he argues, have no choice but to prove that they are up to the task of leading the nation, in line with the URP slogan of, “Kusema na kutenda”, or “the opposition will have the last laugh in the next poll”. His contact is [email protected]

******************
DRASTIC MEASURES. The solution to the massacres in the northeast of the country is to close the border with Somalia and have the military combat-ready and permanently patrolling the whole nearly 800 kilometres of it, urges Joseph Macharia. And echoing a suggestion that has been made before as a means to make the country more secure, Joseph wants the Dadaab refugee camp relocated to a place inside Somalia and efforts stepped up to flush out all the foreigners in Mandera, Garissa, and Wajir. His contact is [email protected]

*****************
PROTECT KENYANS. The slaughter of Kenyans by Al-Shabaab terrorists as Kenya Defence Forces troops protect the port city of Kismayu for the Somali Government is causing Paul Wanjohi a lot of pain. This, according to him, defeats the purpose of the deployment of Kenyan forces across the border, which, in the first place, was meant to prevent Al-Shabaab raids. “Let the Somalis solve their own problems. Why protect them and not our own citizens?” His contact is [email protected]

****************
BIG NAMES. Kenyan law enforcement personnel are obsessed with adding the prefix “anti” when naming new agencies to carry out special campaigns, remarks Paul Otieno. He poses: “Why go for the redundant addition, where the use of a proper noun would suffice. The United Kingdom has the Serious Fraud Office, while ours, by our superfluous logic, would have been named, the ‘Anti-Fraud Office’.” His contact is [email protected] 
 
Have a direct day, won’t you!
E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The cutting edge

BAD TIMING. The Cabinet directive scrapping the ranking of schools in national examinations is “ill-timed regardless of whether it is good or bad”, says Michael Mburu. The government, he adds, has the tendency to rush into policy decisions without subjecting them to national debate. According to him, the implementation should have been done after next year’s exams. “Ambushing stakeholders is not healthy at all and may be demotivating to many.” He is laying the blame squarely on “a young leadership that lacks patience”. His contact is [email protected] 

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

NIGHTMARE ROADS. The Mombasa County government is doing a great disservice to its residents by allowing roads to degenerate into potholed patches, remarks Collins Mwatati. From the Nyali Bridge to the Buxton intersection through Sabasaba, he reports, there are far too many potholes inflicting severe damage to motor vehicles. “Do the county officials ever use these roads? What goes through their minds? We need the roads done, whether they are managed by the national government or the counties. His contact is [email protected]

**************
MIND-BOGGLING LOSS. Though Kenyans are known to quickly forget things and, as they are wont to say, move on, Levin Bett will not jump onto that bandwagon just now, concerned about the goings-on at the national carrier, Kenya Airways. Says he: “I refuse to let go of the fact that KQ, the pride of Africa, made a loss of Sh10 billion in six months, Sh1.6 billion monthly, Sh55 million daily, and about Sh2.5 million an hour. Reason? Ebola in west Africa. Isn’t that insane?” His contact is [email protected]

***************
REAL SOLUTIONS. The National Transport Safety Authority, and by extension the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, should be told that we need intelligent solutions to our transport problems and not pedestrian thinking, shadow boxing, sideshows, and playing to the gallery, remarks Ben Njenga. According to him, the country needs energy and time-efficient transport responses. “The cashless payment of fares will not reduce the perennial traffic jams and road accidents, improve the pitiable driving skills, or eliminate criminal gangs.” His contact is [email protected]

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

TEST OF LEADERSHIP. A government gains and retains legitimacy by providing its people with the things they need, says Mombasa resident Stephen Ndegwa. One of the biggest responsibilities of any leadership, he adds, is to secure territorial boundaries. This should inculcate in the people pride in their nation. “If the government can provide these things, its legitimacy will be strengthened, but if it cannot, its legitimacy will be called into question. Where do we place our government with all these recent flaws?” His contact is [email protected]

***************
CONSERVATION DISASTER. What has really broken Christine N’gang’a’s heart lately is seeing “old mature trees falling to the power of the saw in a single day”. It happened opposite the Nairobi Club, also near the Ministry of Water, and at a vacant plot in Upper Hill on the road to the AAR head office. To add insult to injury, a “For Sale” sign came up on one of the sites afterwards. “Why cut down indigenous trees that took a lifetime to grow? Who authorised this?” Her contact is [email protected]
 
Have a treasured day, won’t you!
E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Cutting Edge

FEELING AT HOME. There are striking similarities between Kenya and Nigeria, the love-hate relationship between the two countries notwithstanding, says Sam Siloya. The first, he adds, is their high ranking on international corruption lists. The second is the rampant insecurity fuelled especially by increasing attacks by Muslim militants. Third is the proliferation of evangelical churches and fake 'seed planting' pastors. “No wonder the influx of Nigerians, as they feel at home being able to blend in!” His contact is [email protected]

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

INNOVATIVE POLICING. The growing bloody threat of terrorism and general insecurity in towns and other parts of the country call for the immediate deployment of more plainclothes police officers to help avert attacks on innocent people in public places and, especially on buses and matatus, urges Paul Kimunyi. The officers, he adds, should also travel incognito, especially on long distance buses and in matatus in most of the country to protect passengers against possible attacks by terrorists. His contact is [email protected]

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

SECURITY. Eric Ochieng says he watched with dismay as President Uhuru Kenyatta told fellow Kenyans that they are responsible for their own security, therefore insinuating that they are partly to blame for the deaths of their compatriots at the hands of Al-Shabaab terrorists. The remark, he adds, made him long for the days of retired President Daniel arap Moi. “Also, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame are no-nonsense leaders on security.” His contact is [email protected]

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

WHAT IS WRONG? Dressing, however awful, is an individual choice that should be respected, remarks UK-based Kenyan S.K. Chege, wondering: “what has become of the men back home, who have been stripping women in public”. He poses: “How many times have we seen men with sagging trousers, exposing very, very dirty underwear? Personally, I am yet to hear of any being undressed in public. Do the men who watch as others undress women have mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, relatives, and friends?” His contact is [email protected]

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

FREE GOODS. As he watches the lethargic conduct of the young people distributing free newspapers, Tom Lepski Ochola says he always wonders how the publishers finally audit their circulations. “As the other vendors rush from vehicle to vehicle in traffic, these chaps will be seen either whiling away time chatting with colleagues, on the phone, or seated on bundles of the free papers. “How can a publisher be sure that the free papers are not delivered daily to the nearest butcher for wrapping meat?” His contact [email protected]

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

SCHOOL RANKING. The annual ritual of ranking schools and students in national exams is finally over, says X.N. Iraki, adding: “Now it will be every student for him or herself.” However, he notes, the question that arises is: How will parents differentiate bad from good schools? “Be sure that another criteria will emerge. But the government must ensure that this does not lower the quality of education or the competitiveness of our graduates. After all, competition is a fact of life, and is not about to end...” His contact is [email protected]

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

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

TIGHT SECURITY: Some of the police officers manning the two roadblocks at the Nyali Bridge in Mombasa are there for the wrong purpose, says Devere Mwangi.

He has been stopped three times at the roadblock in one week, and all they checked were his car tyres and his insurance sticker. Convinced that the “officers in full combat gear” have been deployed for security checks, he wonders what his tyres and insurance have to do with the operation. His contact [email protected]

*********
WHERE'S THE MONEY? There was fanfare in Nairobi when the government sold an infrastructure bond of $2 billion, recalls Thomas Yebei, wondering why nothing seems to be happening four months since the high-profile ceremony to mark the good fortune.

In Nairobi, for instance, Thomas explains, the tarmac is peeling off the roads. He would like an assurance from the government that the money has not been channelled into paying off old debts and the balance is being used to pay salaries and allowances.

His contact is [email protected]

*********

FARMERS' PLIGHT: A man who deeply cares about the plight of farmers, Peter M. Kago, recalls the excitement when the government issued a directive on the packaging for the market of the standard weight of 50 kilogrammes of potatoes.

However, Peter is dismayed at the delay in implementing the order that was to immensely benefit farmers. “When is this golden rule ever going to be implemented to save farmers from greedy brokers?” he asks. He can be reached through [email protected]

*********
METAL GATES: A resident of Ngong Town in Kajiado County, John Njenga, is worried about some small signs that the devolution ushered in with the creation of 47 counties can be undermined in some ways that many people might not even pay attention to.

He wonders, for instance, why metal gates for a stadium being built in Isiolo should be fabricated on Ngong Road in Nairobi County. “Does this mean there are no artisans in Isiolo who can do this? Before we realise it, we will have wasted billions of shillings.” His contact is [email protected]

*********

POLICE STATIONS: Like many other fellow Kenyans whose response to terrorism and general insecurity has always been rather casual, Mathews Gitagia says it took a bruising personal encounter with armed thugs for him to appreciate the enormity of the problem.

However, he cannot help pointing the finger at the police. “It was traumatising, expensive and degrading reporting the incident to them. The people must unite against terrorism.” His contact is [email protected]
 
Have a serious day, won’t you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WASTEFUL TRAFFIC JAMS. Nairobi City County government needs to do more on road construction in the Eastlands to ease the endemic traffic jams on the existing badly damaged roads, urges Charles Itimu. The residents, he adds, are getting a raw deal from the county leadership as they spend too much time just sitting in traffic jams. If rebuilt, the two-kilometre road connecting Kayole to the army barracks at Embakasi would ease traffic on the Spine Road. His contact is [email protected]

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

WELCOME SURPRISE. Just back from a trip abroad, Dr Frank H. Mkweli is full of praise for the Kenya Airports Authority for introducing a facility that will make travellers feel comfortable as they wait for their flights at the JKIA. Says he: “I had a beautiful surprise before flying out. The KAA has introduced an in-house radio station at JKIA’s stunning new Terminal 1A. It is called Safari Radio. Never again shall I be bored waiting for my flights. The music mix was great and I nearly got late listening to (Congolese crooner) Papa Wemba.” His contact is [email protected]

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

SMELLY AGONY. There are some top-performing girl schools in western Kenya that are still stuck in the pit latrine era deep into the 21st century, says AO, who pities the students for having to put up with the inconvenience and a smelly environment. Interestingly, he adds, one of them, Moi Girls Vokoli in Vihiga County, bears the name of a man who distinguished himself for building decent schools during his presidency. Nema and the Ministry of Education, he urges, should ensure that the schools have clean water and septic tanks to replace the pit latrines.

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

CHANGING ROLES. An advertisement, Prof Maina Muchara says, caught his attention the other day because of its heading, the Republic of Kenya and the Court of Arms, and the sub-title, “Launch of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence & HeforShe campaign”. He poses: “Now, if the government has become involved in activism, what will the NGOs do? And should we soon see government ministries demonstrating against other departments, for example the police against the Treasury? Wonders will never cease!” His contact is [email protected]

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

WISDOM OF LOOKING EAST. The IEBC officials named in a UK court in relation with what has come to be known as “chickenberg’, Elijah Ogaya says, must be regretting their decision to get involved with a company from the West. He adds: “A Chinese company would have awarded them a whole chicken plus its eggs, pen and feeds, without raising any dust. But I hope the corrupt officials will be charged and the IEBC will continue doing business with companies that expose graft.” His contact is [email protected]

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

WHERE'S THE MUSIC? A lecturer at Africa International University at Karen, Nairobi, Enoch H. Opuka, is also a music connoisseur who has a lot of interest, especially in the classical Kenyan songs from the 1960s and 1970s. One of his favourite bands is Nabongo Success, whose songs, Chura and Nyoka, he has looked for everywhere, in vain. “As a collector of old music with relevant teachings for today, I like those songs because they have the same theme with gospel star Shisia’s Mundu Mulosi.” He has been to Melodica and Assanands Stores and drawn a blank. His contact is Enoch.[email protected]
 
Have a melodious day, won’t you!
E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100
Fax 2213946

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

THIS IS PUZZLING. Insecurity in the country has reached alarming proportions, remarks David Motari, citing the massacre of nearly 30 innocent Kenyans by Somalia’s Al-Shabaab terrorists. He adds: “I wonder whether Deputy President William Ruto was listening to himself as he told fellow Kenyans that those who committed the atrocity had been killed. If it is, indeed, true, how come all we have seen are the bodies of the victims and not those of their killers, who were supposedly slain by our security forces? Did they vanish into thin air?” His contact is [email protected]

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

COST OF PROTECTION. Dividing Kenyans along religious or community lines is what Al-Shabaab, which slaughtered Kenyans in the dawn attack last Saturday, hopes to achieve, says Zoeb Tayebjee. He supports calls for the withdrawal of the Kenya Defence Forces from Somalia so that Al-Shabaab can fight in their own country. “Why should we protect Somalia at the cost of innocent Kenyan lives? The same Somalia has taken Kenya to the international court over a territorial boundary in the Indian Ocean. How ungrateful!” His contact is [email protected]

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

SMALL SUCCESSES. Though he understands and appreciates the public anger over the rampant cases of insecurity in the country and the mounting clamour for the sacking of the security chiefs, Job Momanyi says it is important that the “successes achieved with the limited resources” be acknowledged. The latest security operation to flush out armed militants hiding in some mosques, he believes, has averted possible attacks. “We need to support our security forces instead of seeking their bosses’ resignations.” His contact is [email protected]

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

NOT POSSIBLE. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore says Abdi Mohamed’s appeal to have the firm reward more of the participants in the ‘Bonyeza Ushinde Milioni’ raffle is not possible. He adds: “Our Bonga points actually have monetary value and already form part of our existing initiatives to reward subscribers who use our service on a real-time basis. However, this is separate from our competitions such as Bonyeza, which run for a few months.” The Bonyeza raffle, he explains, is overseen by the Betting Control and Licensing Board.

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

TRAFFIC WOES. The traffic jams on the main artery to Nairobi’s Eastlands, Jogoo Road, are getting worse by the day, moans Charles Itimu. This, he adds, is partly because the road connecting Jogoo Road to the Eastleigh neighbourhood has been under construction for years and nobody knows when the job will ever be completed. But Charles hopes that the much-awaited reconstruction of Outer Ring Road will include the modernisation of the City Stadium roundabout and Likoni Road interchange. His contact is [email protected]

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

FANS' AGONY. Being a fan of English Premier League football team Arsenal must be a painful experience, remarks Job Michael Mburu. Though not a big fan himself, he says he watched Arsenal’s recent match against Manchester United on TV and the former “played a very beautiful and dominant game”. Their opponents, he adds, “put up a dull and defensive show, but still won the game”. According to him, manager Arsene Wenger is not “getting it right upfront”. They had 10 clear chances and scored nil, concludes Michael, whose contact is [email protected]

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

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Cutting Edge

Police officers display an AK 47 riffle recovered after police stormed the Masjid Mussa mosque in Mombasa on February 2, 2014. The High Court has declined to compel the police to produce a man reported missing after his alleged arrest during the riots at Masjid Musa Mosque in Mombasa. PHOTO KEVIN ODIT.

Police officers display an AK 47 riffle recovered after police stormed the Masjid Musa mosque in Mombasa on February 2, 2014. Friday prayers will not be held in the mosque until a committee appointed to run it gives the greenlight. FILE PHOTO |   NATION MEDIA GROUP

AMICABLE SOLUTION. Freedom of worship, as enshrined in the Constitution, applies equally to all religious denominations, but where a real threat to national security is evident, the government must take firm and decisive action, says Frederick Aloo, alluding to police claims of firearms allegedly found during recent raids on Mombasa mosques. In the 1980s, he recalls, police would pursue protesters to All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi and the matter was later amicably solved. Over to the imams and other Muslim leaders. His contact is [email protected]

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

DOING THE RIGHT THING. The top national electoral commission and examination council officials named in a UK court in what has come to be known us the “chicken-eating” scandal should immediately step down to pave the way for investigations by the anti-corruption authorities, in liaison with the British prosecutors, says Ken Butiko. It will be in their own interest, he adds, to have their names cleared in order to restore public confidence in them as holders of such vital public offices. His contact is [email protected]

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

WHAT A SHAME! On the alleged graft in Knec, as detailed in the evidence adduced in the UK trial of the managers of a printing firm said to have paid hefty bribes to Kenyan officials, John Nyaga says that “with an appropriate ‘chicken’, one can have the examination results of a rival school or selected students cancelled to relay whatever message the ‘chicken’ donor would wish to pass on to its targets”. According to him, it is “despicable and a miracle that the Knec still maintains a semblance of normality”. His contact is [email protected]

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

TRAGEDY OF CLUELESS POLICE. The police have simply lost it, remarks Mbiri Gikonyo, in reaction to the Mandera massacre in which nearly 30 Kenyans perished at the hands of Al-Shabaab murderers from across the border. “The police simply have no clue; no idea what to do,” he adds, rejecting the suggestion that the first people to be interviewed in Nairobi will be the owners of the bus that was attacked in Mandera. “They can as well go for the bus manufacturers,” quips Mbiri, whose contact is [email protected]

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

SHORT MEMORY. This is a country of rhetoric and knee-jerk reactions, remarks Anthony Irungu, after seeing “government officials who have failed the nation reading ill-prepared statements” on a tragedy such as the Mandera massacre. It is a pity, he adds, that no leader has ever taken responsibility for such failures. “After a few days, we have moved on. The zeal fizzles out and we go back to slumber land until the next terror attack. Why can’t the government ensure security around the clock by intelligence gathering?” His contact is [email protected]

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

TROUBLE AT HOME. The irony of the Kenya Defence Forces’ successful campaign in Somalia is that as they have secured the port town of Kismayu and continue to protect Somalis against their own militants, Al-Shabaab’s forays into “our country to slaughter innocents” have increased, moans Dave Tumbula. “I may not be a military tactician, but why not retreat from Kismayu and build a buffer zone at the border inside Somalia after destroying all the militants’ bases? And the military intelligence should then man the border crossing 24/7.”

Have a tactical day, won’t you!

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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Cutting Edge

FAKE MIRACLES: Attorney-General Githu Muigai erred in summoning church leaders to a meeting in Nairobi following the unmasking of “Pastor” Victor Kanyari’s fake miracles and shameless cheating of his flock, Mathews Gitagia remarks.

He adds: “You do not, after arresting only one cattle thief, summon all the butchers to a meeting. The majority of the butchers sell legitimately obtained beef, though a few may be dealing in stolen meat, including donkey meat, in some areas”. Gitagia’s email address is [email protected]

*********

MEN ARE ALSO UNDRESSED: Samwel Oresi says he supports the condemnation of the people who strip women in public for alleged indecent dressing, though he is a little disappointed to note that a similar barbaric act has passed without a word from rights activists and others.

He comments: “Nobody ever condemns the touts who strip and wash their colleagues who apparently have a phobia for water. Don’t those washed in public also have their human rights?” Oresi’s email address is [email protected]

*********

ADDRESS THIS, TOO: Also appalled by the humiliation of the men who are stripped, frogmarched and forcibly bathed in public is Andayi Mushenye.

Says he: “Okay, we have activists on the streets going wild against the stripping of women perceived to be dressed inappropriately or provocatively. But who speaks for those dirty men? Don’t they, too, have a right to human dignity?” Mushenye wishes the activists could join him to protest this violation of their dignity. His email address is [email protected]

**********

DEVILISH THOUGHT: On the perverted dressing police, Wambua Musembi’s view is that “we are one very sick society”. According to him, men have become so satanic that all they think about whenever they see a woman is her nakedness.

He poses: “Why haven’t they stripped the young men who go round showing their under clothes in some idiotic fashion they call sagging. Do they know there is an offence called indecent assault? Where are the police? Our women have rights. Let them enjoy them.” Musembi’s email address is [email protected]

**********

CHARGE RAPISTS: Every year, Njora Waweru notes, there are reports of schoolgirls either sitting their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams while heavily pregnant, in labour wards, or missing them due to childbirth.

He wonders whether it is a case of a high fertility rate among girls or the virility of the men. What disturbs him most is that one hardly hears about the men who impregnate girls below the age of consent being prosecuted. Waweru’s email address is [email protected]

**********

HUMOUR IS A SOLUTION: There is nothing wrong with the tribal jokes in the “Churchill Show”, X.N. Iraki says. One way to kill tribalism, he argues, is to laugh it off and relieve tension.

He states: “With time, we shall understand one another better and the ghosts of tribalism will be exorcised... We must also realise that lots of tribal jokes are original and translation loses the meaning. Finally, one other way to kill tribalism is to accept we are different...”. Iraki’s email address is [email protected]

**********

USE OLD TRICKS: John T. Mukui says he had the misfortune of being infested with jiggers, “sometimes in unmentionable locations”, while growing up in the early 1960s. But after removing them, he writes, the antiseptic applied was “mbaki” (powdered tobacco), which was used by the elderly, especially widows, for reasons that are still unclear to him.

Another antiseptic is the juice of the “ndongu” (Sodom apple) plant. Mukui would like to know why these readily-available solutions cannot be used in the anti-jigger campaign. His email address is jtmukui2000@yahoo.com.

Have an effective day, won’t you!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

MINISKIRTS: History is repeating itself with the stripping of women wearing miniskirts, says Zoeb Tayabjee, adding that the primitive behaviour has returned to haunt Kenyans after nearly four decades.

He adds: “I vividly remember the miniskirt issue being discussed in the Parliament after which the then powerful Attorney-General Charles Njonjo declared: ‘If you don’t like it, close your eyes’.

This message should be repeated to put the issue to rest again.” His contact is zoeb-tayebjee@topseltrading.com.

**********

LONG WAIT: Can’t the delivery of public services ever be speeded up, despite several spirited past campaigns initiated by top government officials of the day? Well, Mjidho Dhidha wonders just how long it should take to change the name on one’s national identity card.

He applied for a change of particulars on his ID, on August 28, and to date, all he is told whenever he enquires about the progress is: “Just wait.” His ID card number is 21821483, and his contact, Tel 0720766003 or email: mjibaiba@yahoo.com.

**********

CITY ESTATE: There is, indeed, a Nairobi South ‘A’, says Joe Muiruri, in response to a question by Silas Nyambok, who wondered why there was only B and C. According to Joe, it is the area around the Nairobi South Power Station near Doonholm in the Eastlands.

Says he: “In the late 1960s, Kenya Power used to have its staff quarters in the vicinity with a sign indicating, Nairobi South’ A’, which I saw with my own eyes! I am not sure whether the sign or the staff quarters still exists.” His contact is joe57muiruri@hotmail.com.

**********

INTERNET PRICE: Shouldn’t the price of the Internet service be decreasing? asks Dr Said Osman, disturbed about Zuku Wananchi’s 100 per cent increase, effective from next month.

He used to pay Sh1,099, but will now have to cough up Sh1,999 monthly.

Zuku, he charges, is behaving like a monopoly, who does not care about customers’ complaints, apparently being the sole service provider. At this rate, he adds, “they seem to have the blessings of the regulatory authority.” His contact is Tel 0724229670 or email: saidosman39@gmail.com.

**********

RUAI MUGGERS: Worried about the mounting insecurity in Ruai Ward in Kasarani constituency in Nairobi, P. Wambugu wants to know when the high-mast security lights promised five years ago will ever be switched on.

Taking advantage of the darkness, Wambugu says muggers are having a field day, and homes are broken into even as early as 8pm. During the last election campaigns, he recalls, some masts were erected, but the project was abandoned once the poll was over. For the details, his contact is wambugup19@yahoo.com.

Have a secure day, won’t you!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

BLATANT CORRUPTION. The damning allegations coming out of a British court in the trial of a printing company’s bosses are a real eye-opener on the “chicken-eating” IEBC officials, says Stevenson Karanja.

This blatant corruption alluded to in the testimony of the Britons in their dealings with the Kenyan officials, he adds, “explains the reason why the tendering for electoral materials is always delayed until the last minute”.

Kenyan poll officials, he argues, “deliberately create a chaotic environment for kickbacks”.

His contact is kiambuman@yahoo.com

**********

END MONOPOLY. Kenya National Examinations Council officials “eating chicken” in procurement deals means that such “meals” could have been “eaten” over exam content, putting a huge dent in the reputation of the Knec, remarks X.N. Iraki.

“The solution is simple; end Knec’s monopoly. There is no good reason why the fate of our children must be decided by a monopoly. Even Kanu’s power monopoly ended. Let one or two other bodies examine the children. The competition will spur innovation and efficiency and reduce cheating.”

His contact is xniraki@gmail.com.

**********

LEGENDARY INEFFICIENCY. Orange Telkom’s inefficiency is simply incredible, as Wycliffe Kemboi has found out, to his chagrin.

Says he: “I am tired of being told by customer care, ‘We are waiting for the concerned team to come up with a resolution’, ‘The problem is being worked on’, or ‘We will call you back’.”

Over a month since he started calling, no action, but he is still asking when they will credit his account with the airtime he has been pursuing.

“My patience is running out as they give me the same answers every time.”

His phone number is 0771507181.

**********

CHOKING NUICANCE. For the past one year, Joseph Ochanda Ogada, who lives in the curiously named Dafur in Kariobangi North Estate in Nairobi, has had to contend with free-flowing sewage around his house, with no help from the county inspectorate or the public health department.

At one point, the murky stuff flooded the path to his house, nearly blocking the entrance, and it gets pretty messy when it rains.

Protests to the city water company’s depot in the neighbourhood have not yielded any assistance.

**********

REPAIR THIS ROAD. Running parallel to Waiyaki Way from the Westlands shopping centre roundabout to Church Road, Nairobi, the Slip Road is in a pathetic state, moans local resident Mahendra Adalja.

The road, he adds, has not been given any attention by the maintenance section of the county government and the former city council for years.

Dr Adalja hopes the county leadership will ensure the repair of the road, which eases congestion on the highway, carrying fairly heavy traffic to the residential areas.

His contact is mahendramedicaf@yahoo.co.uk.

**********

NOT FUNNY AT ALL. The popular Churchill Show is nothing but tribal slur, says Michael Mburu. “There is nothing funny if you don’t know the alleged peculiar characteristics of some communities.”

He watched it with a “young adult who knows nothing about tribes and she could not understand what people were laughing at”.

He poses: “Can’t we have comedy that does not mock or promote tribalism?”

To him, the best Kenyan show ever was the political comedy, Reddykyulass, “which even a foreigner could enjoy”.

His contact is mburumk@yahoo.com.

Have a rib-tickling day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

RISKY RIDE. Nearly all the old minibuses plying Route 25 from Nairobi’s city centre, Elizabeth Nganga says, have sealed windows, which can be particularly risky if the vehicles are involved in an accident and uncomfortable for the passengers, who cannot open them to let in fresh air.

She simply cannot believe that these vehicles, which have valid Transport Licensing Board licences, were inspected and cleared or “could the inspectors have been compromised to overlook this?”

Her contact is nyamburanga@yahoo.com.

**********

EASING TRANSPORT. Here is a project S.K. Goro feels Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua and his team should consider as a matter of priority.

For the safety of the residents, he proposes construction of a footbridge between Lenana Primary School at the railway crossing and the town centre.

Such a flyover, Goro adds, will be a good link to the Old Patel Brotherhood building, heading to the main market in the town’s central business district.

According to Goro, this is the best way to ease the traffic congestion at this spot, which is heavily patronised by matatus.

**********

DEFYING LOGIC. The much-anticipated reduction in electricity bills following the recent commissioning of a big geothermal generating plant is a sham, says Juma Tadesa.

Despite the hype on power cost reduction, he adds, his bill for July was Sh4,008. In August, it was Sh4,979, in September, Sh2,845, and in October, Sh5,757!

“Someone tell President Kenyatta, who launched the plant, that the power bills are rising instead. Who will come to our aid?”

His account number is 2348389-01 and contact, j.tadesa@gmail.com.

**********

SNAIL MAIL. With the national examinations having been just completed, James Nyaga is now turning his attention to Posta, which he is accusing of frustrating him in his time of need by failing to deliver success cards to some candidates he had hoped to inspire to excel.

He posted three success cards at Kiserian Post Office and some four weeks later, two had not been received by the students.

“Just how long does it take to deliver a card? Is there a mechanism to follow up this?”

His contact is nyagajimmy@gmail.com.

**********

EXTREME MEASURES. Universities requiring their graduating students to deposit their national identity cards, driving licences, or passports as security for hiring gowns is something Willis O. Aguko finds rather strange, as one is supposed to leave the document for several days until the ceremony is over.

He cites Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, whose graduation ceremony is set for November 24.

“Having to leave one’s ID behind for two days is asking for too much, as this has become a part of our lives.”

His contact is masira_j@yahoo.com.

**********

PREDICTABLE WEATHERMEN. The weathermen’s unreliability has become predictable, notes Makueni County farmer Alex Kioko, adding that the El Niño rains they had forecast would pound Nairobi and other parts of the country have not materialised.

“It is November and there is still not enough rainfall for planting, especially in the larger eastern region. When will they ever do it accurately? Can’t the government buy them new equipment so they can stop doing the mganga kutoka…-type predictions.”

His contact is kioko.a@gmail.com.

Have an accurate day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

SLEEPING ON THE JOB. Nairobi resident Philemon Wachara, frustrated about the delay in the expansion and reconstruction of Outer Ring Road in Eastlands, wants a firm word from the authorities as to when the work will begin.

Since April, he claims, five deadlines for the start of the project have been missed and there is no indication as to when it will take off.

This and the Eastleigh road projects that have never been completed, he adds, confirm that the Kenya Urban Roads Authority is sleeping on the job.

His contact is philemon.wachara@gmail.com.

**********

LIGHT THIS STREET. One of the key roads west of Nairobi’s city centre, James Gichuru Road, becomes a haven for muggers targeting pedestrians as soon as the sun sets, thanks to the lack of street lights, says Ruth Gituma.

City County chiefs, she pleads, should go to the rescue of people returning from work or strolling in the evening by lighting the road that runs through some upmarket residential areas.

The worst stretch, she adds, is between Acorn House and Lavington shopping centre all the way to Gitanga Road.

Her contact is rgitum@gmail.com.

**********

KNEC TO THE RESCUE. The Kenya National Examinations Council has noted Ebrahim Sheikh’s cry that he has not received his KCSE examination results slip for 2013.

Public communications officer Dorothy Saina says Sheikh’s school wrote to the Knec about the missing results slip on October 8, “and not over a year ago as he alleged”.

However, Dorothy wishes to assure him that his case is being looked into and that the “results slip will be ready by the end of this month”.

For any further inquiries, Dorothy can be reached through pc@knec.ac.ke.

**********

RIGHT OF WAY. It is only in Elburgon, Nakuru County, where sheep and motorists fight for equal space on the major road that passes through the township, reports Carol Mosiany.

“The lone sheep or flocks of them usually look undeterred when they are bang in the middle of the road and a vehicle hoots for them to get out of the way.”

As a frequent user of the road, Carol says that more often, it is the motorists who give way by driving around the animals.

Her contact is carolmosiany@gmail.com.

**********

WHO WILL PAY THE VENDORS? On October 26, a minibus carrying rowdy Gor Mahia football club fans stopped at the KMC junction at Athi River and the occupants came out and picked up bottles of mineral water from several vendors, Philip Mutua reports.

After the football maniacs had helped themselves to nearly 100 bottles of water, he adds, the driver zoomed off, though his passengers had not paid the vendors.

“Who will compensate these people?” asks Philip, who should have taken down the vehicle’s registration number, but did not.

**********

PRIMITIVE BEHAVIOUR. Joining in the condemnation of the barbaric mobs stripping women naked to ostensibly punish them for perceived indecent dressing, Silas Nyambok says the primitive male perpetrators of the crime must be brought to book.

However, he has a question he thinks might just unlock the stalemate on the freedom of dressing.

“How come some of these women feel uncomfortable or simply won’t allow their house helps to wear miniskirts, especially when hovering around their husbands?”

His contact is ogutawinyo@yahoo.com.

Have a civilised day, won’t you!

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

PRICE OF FUEL. Kenyans are being short-changed on oil prices, charges Samuel Wangatia, adding: “In the past few weeks, oil prices have hit the lowest level in the past four years. The price of a barrel has declined by more than $30 since the mid-June high of $115. But in Kenya, pump prices remain high. The prices should be ranging from Sh87 to Sh100 a litre.”

Where is the Energy Regulatory Commission? His contact is samuel.wangatia@yahoo.com.

**********

STINKING SHAME. The old saying that cleanliness is next to godliness, it seems, does not apply to the numerous public service vehicles in Nairobi, other towns, and the remote rural areas, says Felix Lilechi.

The minibuses plying the Githurai-city centre route in Nairobi, he adds, are not only terribly untidy, with badly torn seats, they also stink.

“Can’t we keep our buses neat and clean?” asks Felix, whose email is flilechi@yahoo.com.

**********

DISMAL SERVICE. On November 7, Amos Ngugi applied and paid for Zuku’s fibre package service (account No 132736).

He has not been connected to date and this despite making more than 10 phone calls to customer care, each of which was answered by a different employee, who asked the same routine questions.

He has even visited the company’s Mombasa Road offices in Nairobi, to no avail.

“Please provide the service or come for your gadgets and refund my money,” demands Amos, whose contact is irush683@gmail.com.

**********

PAYING FOR YOUR DEGREE. The season of university graduation ceremonies is here again, notes Peter Bor Kibet, adding that “it is a good period for the institutions in terms of revenue collection”.

They are not only collecting convocation fees, but also hiring out academic gowns. “Assuming that 5,000 students are graduating and each pays Sh4,000, that is a cool Sh20 million. Why should students be charged to get a certificate they have rightfully earned? Let’s forget these ceremonies and just hand out the certificates.”

His contact is kibetpeterbor@gmail.com.

**********

VISA TO HEAVEN? Not at all impressed with the way South Africa handles Kenyans applying for visas is Betty Round-Turner.

She would like the High Commission in Nairobi to explain why Kenyans are required to submit “a complex and detailed application, a pre-booked airline ticket, a letter of invitation, and an introduction letter, with travel dates clearly marked”.

But to her utter shock, she adds: “They will still issue a visa that expires before the day you intend to travel. Is this a simple human error or deliberate?”

She can be reached through bettyrt@hotmail.co.uk.

**********

WRONG APPROACH. The controversy surrounding the tetanus vaccine campaign would probably never have arisen had the government consulted widely or involved social scientists, particularly anthropologists, notes Kennedy Mochabo.

“Targeting a specific gender and age group, it was bound to encounter problems as it looked suspect. The church has a right to guide its flock and the Catholics have raised concerns that need to be addressed. If the government wants to implement or adopt anything, it should use a participatory approach.”

His contact is kmochabo@hotmail.com.

Have a straightforward day, won’t you!

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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

THE PRIDE OF AFRICA? Kenya Airways’ record Sh10 billion half-year loss is mind-boggling, but Vincent Mariita just cannot help but lay blame at the feet of the airline’s bosses.

Says he: “Management can give all the reasons for the poor results, but what is evident is that the carrier’s over-reliance on international operations is taking its toll. Being the pride of Africa that it boasts to be, KQ should go back to the drawing board and strategise on how to woo more Kenyans to use its services by reducing its rates.” His contact is mariitav@yahoo.com.

***********

STRANGE EXCUSES: As Nairobi wallows in crater-like potholes, choking traffic jams, and mounds of uncollected garbage, Governor Evans Kidero is busy politicking, remarks Antony Irungu.

He is, therefore, not surprised that Kidero was recently declared the worst performing governor. “But in his defence, Kidero asserted that the city is getting better because street families are trooping in from other regions.

This is nonsense. Street urchins are not investors but an indication of society’s failure, especially in urban areas.” His contact is antolex2001@yahoo.com.

***********

TO THE GOVERNOR: Driving on the diversion on Lang’ata Road next to Uhuru Gardens Estate in Nairobi, one is suddenly assailed by the stench from raw sewage flowing into the undeveloped land that faces the Kibera slums, moans David Jasondu.

This mess appears to have been going on for long but was not visible to passersby until the area was opened up with the recent road diversion. “Whatever the case, this is an eyesore and health risk that must be fixed,” adds Jasondu, hoping that Governor Kidero will take action.

***********

NSSF, AS USUAL: There is appalling inefficiency at the NSSF, charges Benson Mwakina. After being allocated an apartment at the NSSF Nyayo Estate at Embakasi, Nairobi, in March, last year, his employer agreed to pay the entire amount through Housing Finance in June last year.

The deal was sealed with HF’s lawyers, but the NSSF has not signed the agreement transferring the house to him. To his surprise, a gang was sent to evict the occupants while he was away, over alleged arrears. “What madness is this?” His contact is bmwakina@gmail.com.

***********

WORRYING DELAY: Over a year since he sat his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam, Ibrahim Sheikh has not received his result slip.

He checked with his former headmaster, who confirmed this and wrote a letter of complaint to the Knec. On handing over the letter at Mitihani House in Nairobi, he was assured that it would be ready in 30 days. “Well, I am worried that I might not beat the deadline for the January university intake.” His index number is 46820101/052 and his contact, ibsheikh20@gmail.com.

***********

EATING HEALTHY: American fast food chains coming to Nairobi is not good news, says Mathew Mwangi, adding that their presence will only “lead to more health problems for Kenyans”.

Most Kenyans, Mathew adds, “still regularly eat healthy traditional food”, warning that they should shun the “unhealthy easy-to-prepare food that is to blame for obesity and other health problems in the US and Europe”. To counter this, he is urging the government to support only joints that serve “healthy traditional meals”. His contact is mathmwangi@yahoo.com.

Have a wholesome day, won’t you!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

LANE CONFUSION: Driving in Nairobi is a big headache because the lanes on most roads are not marked, says James Kamau.

Whereas driving schools have booklets they use to train new drivers on which lanes to take, especially when approaching a roundabout, he adds, on qualifying, they hardly find any.

“This causes confusion, forcing motorists to drive ‘by sight’ as another vehicle could move in from any direction. Paint lanes to improve the traffic flow,” pleads James. His contact is jjjkamau@yahoo.com.

**********

COST OF POWER: Without disclosing the location, which Kenya Power should figure out from the reference number, 25802007010867, Lawrence Maingi says he cannot believe he was slapped with a Sh1 million quotation for power connection to his rural home, which is only 700 metres from a transformer.

His other grouse is that his application has been pending since 2007. “As the power sector is liberalised, they will soon be knocking on our doors as Telkom did when mobile telephony came.” His contact is lawmaish@gmail.com.

**********

MIRACLE CHURCH: The people vilifying Victor Kanyari don’t seem to appreciate his creativity, remarks John T. Mukui, adding: “The Sh310 offering is based on Malachi 3:10 (Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house).

As a mark of repentance, he should now lower it to Sh87 or Sh73, based on John 8:7 (Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her) or Matthew 7:3 (Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?).”

**********

THEY'RE BACK: Street families are back in droves, says Gladys Mutiga, adding that Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero must have noted this as he is driven around the city.

The new beggars, she adds, come with smartly dressed children, who pursue pedestrians as their equally smart mothers watch from a distance, waiting for the loot.

“Our streets don’t feel safe any more, with these people almost in every corner. Forget all the other projects and give us a clean and safe city first.” Her contact is mutigag@gmail.com.

**********

HIT AND RUN: The driver of a minibus that knocked down a student at Hamza on Jogoo Road in Nairobi, on Wednesday, November 5, and failed to stop will, hopefully, be savaged by his conscience to learn that his victim succumbed to the serious injuries suffered, says Alex Diang’a.

The incident occurred between 7.30pm and 8.30pm. However, Alex still sincerely hopes that someone, who might have witnessed the hit-and-run accident, will drop him a line through: adiana@yahoo.com to help nail the culprit.

Have a remorseful day, won’t you!