Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Cutting Edge - Monday April 21 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

MONITOR TRUCK DRIVERS. How many people should die before the Traffic Commandant and his officers turn their attention to the deadly truck drivers and their helpers who are to blame for many of the fatal accidents on the roads? poses Diana D’Souza.

After 11 people perished on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway, she moans, the truck driver and his loader fled the scene. “The owners of the trucks must be heavily punished. All the money in the world can’t compensate for a life, but when it pinches, they will begin to care.”

Her contact is diana@encompas.co.ke. (READ: 11 die in road accident on Easter eve)

**********

PROTECT WITNESSES. The news of a family of three, a woman and her two daughters, killed in a beastly attack in Bungoma County by a well-known suspect who had allegedly been set free by a court is really saddening, says Joab Ogallo. The man, said to be a notorious criminal, had reportedly vowed in public that he would harm the woman.

“Where is witness protection? Does this only exist in the records of the Judiciary?”

His contact is joab.ogallo@yahoo.com.

**********

STILL WAITING, KRA. After making more than 10 trips to the Kenya Revenue Authority offices in pursuit of logbooks for his two vehicles, Dennis Oketch is terribly disappointed, not only because of the long wait, but also for the lack of an explanation or apology from the officials.

On November 28, last year, he applied for transfer of ownership in his logbook for his car, KAH 820T (KRA Advice No. 2013/RTD/NBI/641831) and on December 18, for KAR 544Y (2013/RTD/NBI/648838). He is still waiting.

His contact is dennisoketch@gmail.com.

**********

CONSIDER YOUNG CUSTOMERS. A fortnight ago, Ruth Njagi, who was at Safari Park Hotel & Casino in Nairobi with her family, says she was disappointed to note what a “child-unfriendly” place it is, as there is no provision in the rest-room for one to change a baby’s diapers.

“Needed is just a simple padded resting place where a baby can lie. Surely, the management of this five-star hotel should do something about it to retain clients with babies.”

She can be reached through njagi_ruth@yahoo.com.

**********

PC WORLD, WHAT HAPPENED? Nairobi’s PC World has one very angry customer, Nigel Henson. Nigel says he took his computer to them for repair over two months ago, paying Sh15,000, but he was neither issued with an invoice nor a receipt and they didn’t explain what the money was for, as they later returned it to him unrepaired.

“So what was my Sh15,000 for?” he asks, adding that his three emails have not been replied to.

His contact is Tel 0715786811 or nigelhenson@aol.com.

**********

GOOD JOB NEMA. The Public Complaints Committee of the National Environment Tribunal, deserves congratulations for acting on her request to clear the kiosks on the road reserve at South End Estate, Nairobi, which had become a haven for thieves, says Dr N. Olembo. They have also planted shrubs and cleared the blocked drains from the roundabout to the previous Bellevue Cinema grounds.

“It’s a good example that others pay lip service to. However, proper disposal of plastic bags is needed though a ban may be the ultimate solution.”

Have a commendable day, won’t you!

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 19 April 2014

NEW BUSES. There is nothing wrong with the proposed Nairobi mass transit buses carrying standing passengers, as this happens in other major cities, including Addis Ababa, says Bernard Munyao Muiya, rejecting Antony Irungu’s alarm over the issue. Apart from providing comfortable commuter transport in the Ethiopian capital, Bernard adds, the buses, help to ease traffic congestion and also serve far-flung villages with reliable and safe service, “unlike the madness we have”. His contact is bmuiya@hotmail.com.

________

GRABBED ROADS. Before the Nairobi County government joins traffic police in forcing pedestrians to use footbridges, as suggested by Rose Buge, it should start by dealing with the encroachment on pavements by building owners in the city centre, says Peter Ayiro. In several places on Harambee and Haile Selassie avenues, Peter adds, some building and business owners have sealed off sections of pavements, forcing pedestrians to fight with cars for space on the roads. His contact is payiro@yahoo.com.

________

ZUKU SERVICE. More than two weeks since he applied for Zuku connection, paying a deposit of Sh8,000, Dominic Gathuru moans, the company has done nothing. “I’ve called many times since April 1, to complain about the delay, even warning that I will write to the Watchman, but nothing will make them move. They keep telling me I should be connected by now, and I tell them, ‘No I am not’. I am tired of this laziness and unprofessionalism.” His account number is 002-114238 and his contact, gathurud@yahoo.com.

________

KILIFI PRIORITIES. Of all the 47 counties, Kilifi takes the trophy for coming up with the “most backward and retrogressive” legislation, says Collins Mwatati. “Coming hot on the heels of a Bill to regulate dressing by banning miniskirts, there is a proposal to give herbalists official recognition as medical service providers”. The county assembly of one of the poorest counties, Collins advises, should focus more on how to improve the residents’ welfare by, for instance, sinking boreholes and boosting agriculture. His contact is collinsmakoko@gmail.com.

_______

MOMBASA FILTH. A lane behind Farida Kasmani’s house, opposite Urban Police Station in Mombasa, has been turned into a dumpsite, much to her annoyance. The deadly litter, she reports, includes empty plastic bottles and tins, but to add insult to injury, the place is also being used as a toilet. She has reported to the local public health officer, who has not taken any action, to clear the mounting health hazard. While there is a general improvement in cleanliness in the town, Farida is upset about the filth on her doorstep. Her contact is faridakasmani@gmail.com.

Have a tidy day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 18 April 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

THEY ARE HYPOCRITES. The people opposed to the security operation to flush out the foreigners suspected of involvement in terrorist attacks should search their consciences, says Odhiambo Onyango. The critics, he adds, are worse than the culprits for trying to trivialise a serious issue. “This is neither about religion nor tribe, but a matter of serious concern to the country,” he concludes, calling on the government to step up patrols along the “porous Kenya-Somalia border to avert further attacks”.

________

YES, REMOVE TUK TUKS. Mombasa resident Abdul Samad Noorani’s complaint on the tuk tuk menace on the streets, Zainab Essajee recalls, echoes her own, about two years ago, when the problem was just beginning to get out of hand. And because the authorities ignored her cry then, she adds, the “situation has gone from bad to worse”. Zainab is now joining Abdul in demanding that something be done about it. Her contact is zain_1220@hotmail.com.

________

NOT TO BLAME. The Teachers Service Commission, responding to an accusation by Kaicy Euro that it failed to stop deductions from her salary for remittance to Madison Insurance, says the name doesn’t correspond with the details on the file of TSC No 404680. Corporate communications official Onderi Kebati also confirms that the holder of that number “willingly entered into an agreement with Madison Insurance on July 18, 2008” and authorised the TSC to remit Sh3,000 to the company. There is no letter terminating the policy. The TSC’s contact is info@tsc.go.ke.

________

SMOKERS' PARADISE? Purdy Arms Restaurant in Nairobi’s posh Karen suburb, Wamuyu Gatheru says, is a decent place that has perhaps “the best English food” in the metropolis. However, this is somewhat spoilt by failure by the management to enforce the anti-tobacco law applying to public places. “Non-smokers are expected to put up with it or probably just leave the premises. If one complains, one is brushed off as a nuisance in this smokers’ paradise,” she claims.

________

LIGHT UP MATAWA. Matawa Village in Mumias, Charles K. Washika moans, has been without electricity since the evening of April 5 without any explanation from Kenya Power. And the people have not just sat and accepted the dark nights, while waiting for their power to be restored. According to Charles, they have called the power utility’s emergency number several times, only to get promises (ref 1290834) that are never fulfilled. His account number is 3800916-01 and his contact, khacheso@gmail.com.

________

VET YOUR DRIVERS, SERIAN. The Serian Sacco’s Route 125 matatus plying the Magandi Road route to Ongata Rongai are providing “a very good service to commuters”, says David Kinyanjui. However, he has misgivings about some of their unruly touts and careless drivers. To ensure the safety of the passengers, who are their source of livelihood, David would like the management to carefully check and remove the bad apples, especially among the minibus drivers. For the details, his contact is kinyanjuidave45@gmail.com.

Have a competent day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 17 April 2014

CONSTRUCT SEWAGE. The National Environment Management Authority should stop the construction of new buildings in Ngong Town until the Kajiado County government builds a sewerage system, says Wamaitha Mutahi, appalled at the grave hazard to which the residents are being exposed.

According to Wamaitha, besides the eyesore of sewage flowing all over town, the muck ends up in a stream, making life even more unbearable for the people downstream, who solely depend on it for their water supply.

________

YOUR SON DIDN'T QUALIFY. The Higher Education Loans Board did not give a loan to Jackson Njamba’s son because his parents’ income was deemed sufficient to cater for his fees, says Corporate Communications Officer Olive Metet. This, she says, was informed by an evaluation of the information provided in his loan application form.

“However, we urge him to appeal by filling in a review/appeal form available on the website, but even this will be determined by the availability of funds.”

For further information, he should call Tel 0711052000 or drop Olive a line through OMetet@helb.co.ke.

________

PARK FENCE STOLEN. A Kisumu resident is alarmed at the rate at which sections of the chain-link fence around Victoria Park have been disappearing day after day. Calisto Oyugi warns that unless the county government takes action, there will be nothing left soon.

Calisto, who passes by the park daily on his way to work, says he has been seeing gaping holes, which are growing ever bigger. “Please preserve the fence of our beautiful park,” he pleads.

________

RELEASE MY SHARES. Nearly seven years since he left the military, Caleb Obondo Oduor cannot understand why Harambee Sacco is still holding onto his shares.

In 2009, he adds, the Pensions Department paid his terminal dues, but the sacco officials claim they cannot trace the details of the cheque issued by the Treasury to clear all his dues. “I need my money now,” demands Caleb, whose sacco membership number is 124296. His contact is Tel 0720710885 or obondocaleb@yahoo.com.

________

STARING AT DRY TAPS. For the last three months, Oichi Michira moans, the residents of Umoja Innercore estate in Nairobi have just been staring at dry taps, as their neighbours are regularly supplied with water.

And their complaints to the Nairobi Water Company have yielded absolutely nothing. Tired of having to buy water from vendors, Oichi is demanding investigations by the water firm to establish the real cause of the shortage in only one part of Umoja.

________

FIRST COME FIRST SERVED. The management of the new low-cost airline, Jambojet, responding to James Njuru’s complaint, says the earlier one books the cheaper the fare. According to e-marketing manager Dorothy Matheka, Jambojet has a tiered-pricing structure.

Fares start from Sh2,850, but can go up to Sh11,850 based on how close to the date of departure you book, and availability (did other people take up the lower fares before you?) The earlier you book, the less you pay. Our tickets are sold from the lowest fares upwards on a first come first served basis.”

Her contact is dorothy.matheka@jambojet.com.
 
Have a smart day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 16 April 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

CONSTITUTION IS SUPREME. Proof that a country’s Constitution can withstand the test of time becomes quite evident when its wellbeing is threatened, says Paul V. Otieno. The Constitution, he adds, must protect all, including the most vulnerable, alluding to the protests over the alleged harassment of people of Somali ancestry.

Paul takes exception to the blanket arrests of suspects in the security operation. “Fear should not let us throw the Constitution or common decency out of the window.” His contact is Paul.Otieno@dvn.com.

_____

THREAT EXISTENTIAL. For his part, Wamahiu Muya warns: “It is unfortunate that politicians and civil society are taking Al Qaeda’s infiltration into Kenya through Somalia’s Al-Shabaab lightly by regarding it through the usual ethnic prism”.

Playing the ethnic card and lacking a united front, he declares, will be Kenya’s undoing in the war against terrorism. “It is time all realised this is a war for the survival of our nation. And the security forces must realise it will only be won if all Kenyans have confidence in them.”

________

GLITCH IN SOFTWARE. While filing his 2013 annual income tax return online, Mungai Kihanya “discovered a bug in the Kenya Revenue Authority taxpayer software (Version 1.7.6.1)”. The section to enter the details of insurance premiums (DRP for field of 94) does not calculate dates correctly, and rejects an insurance policy taken on September 25, 2006, and which matures on September 25, 2016.

Keen to pay his taxes before April 30, Mungai hopes KRA will get in touch with him urgently for the details. His contact is mkihanya@yahoo.com.

________

STUDENTS TOO ANALOG. The just-ended Students Organisation of Nairobi University elections, Ruth Gituma says, have been disappointing due to the young people’s failure to adopt digital methods, preferring the old, dirty campaign methods.

She poses: “Why would supposedly digital youth still plaster campuses and other facilities, including St Paul’s Chapel, with ugly posters?” She expected them to use Facebook, WhatsApp and other digital media in the search for votes. Her contact is ruthmuhiuha@yahoo.com.

________

WEATER PROBLEM SOLVED. Nairobi Water Company has sorted out the water supply problem at Ndurarua Primary School in Dagoretti South whose pump has been out of order since 2011, reports elated resident Alfred Odiyo.

The school, he adds, is once again receiving clean water, and the pupils are excited about turning on the taps and seeing water come out. “Thanks for the quick action,” says Odiyo, contact is Tel. 0720764105.

________

PUNISH JAY-WALKERS. Pedestrians refusing to use footbridges put up at taxpayers’ expense, and endangering their lives by dashing across roads in Nairobi deserve to be severely punished, says Rose Moraa Buge.

County government askaris and traffic police should arrest the culprits and slap them with fines of not less than Sh2,000. She was incensed to see a motor vehicle being burnt after knocking down a pedestrian on Mbagathi Way, and moments later, more grown-ups were crossing the road.

Have a decisive day, won’t you!

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 15 April 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

STANDING PASSENGERS? Nairobi County government’s plan to introduce mass transit buses in July is a project that Antony Irungu finds exciting, as it is bound to ease the suffering of commuters “at the hands of matatu lunatics”.

However, he is alarmed to hear that the buses will be carrying standing passengers, which, he explains, would be a contravention of the traffic rule requiring all passengers to buckle up and be seated. “I hope the operators will not be a law unto themselves and worsen the chaotic city transport.” His contact is antolex2001@yahoo.com. 

________

LEAK NO MORE. A technical team from Nairobi Water Company was dispatched and immediately fixed a burst pipe through which clean water has been gushing to waste in the Mbinda neighbourhood, adjacent to Ngumba Estate which resident Julie Mburugu had complained about.

Corporate affairs co-ordinator James Karanja says the leak was as a result of damage caused by a contractor who did some work in the estate. Karanja’s contact is JKaranja@nairobiwater.co.ke.

______

FRUSTRATIONS GALORE. Thika landowner Simon Ndiritu is a frustrated man. And it has everything to do with land. Quite elusive has been the green card for his title deed, No 19/1771, for a piece of land he acquired last year. He has made numerous visits to the lands office and the explanations given for the missing green card do not make sense.

The situation is made worse by the fact that he would like to sell the plot but cannot do so. “Can the registrar explain or release my card?” urges Simon, whose contact is Tel 0722356658.

______

BRIDGE TOO DIRTY. Who is supposed to take charge of the Mtwapa Bridge in Kilifi? asks Jitu Haria. The bridge, he moans, is full of silt which blocks the water outlets whenever rain falls, causing flooding on the road and an overflow. He wonders whether this won’t in the long-run cause damage to the bridge.

The guard rails on one side, he adds, have been badly damaged and could fall into the sea any time. As schoolchildren sometimes lean on the rails, Jitu dreads a possible fatal drop. His contact is jhariajitu@yahoo.com.

________

HERE WE COME. Jacob Otieno’s call to the National Bank of Kenya to have a branch or an ATM in Nanyuki Town is receiving favourable attention, says corporate affairs boss Rebecca Gikuru.

The bank’s presence, she promises, will be felt and seen in the second half of the year, when “we shall not only be putting up an ATM, but will also open a branch”. She adds: “We look forward to serving you better at the branch.” For the details, she can be reached through corporateaffairs@nationalbank.co.ke.

________

SEALED FAST. A health-conscious Maina Muchara says that getting to the milk sold in plastic packets is always a Herculean task, adding: “You can either use a knife or your teeth. If you use a knife, it ‘jumps out’...and when using teeth, there is danger of leaving one in the plastic.

Can’t the packers of milk come up with easy-to-tear design? The older paper package could easily be torn with hands...” His contact is mainamuchara@gmail.com.


Have an easy day, won’t you!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 14 April 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

CHEAP FLIGHT THAT NEVER WAS

When Kenya Airways recently announced it was launching a new low-cost subsidiary, James Njuru was excited about the prospect of giving his family a surprise flying experience during the forthcoming Easter holiday.

The thought of flying to Mombasa from Nairobi for only Sh2,850 was irresistible.

Therefore, he began mobilising some funds, but on trying to book a flight, was stunned to note that the cheapest ticket would cost him Sh7,850. “I feel I was duped as there is no cheap air travel.”

His contact is njuruh@yahoo.com.

________

BLACKOUT PROVIDER

Can Kenya Power explain and do something about the frequent power failures at Balozi Estate in Nairobi South ‘B’? demands, Leonard Omogo, who hopes the utility will also offer an apology for the immense inconvenience suffered by the residents.

The failure to address the problem, which has persisted for a long time, he adds, means that someone is sleeping on the job or being “downright incompetent or utterly clueless on what they should be doing”.

His contact is leonardomogo@yahoo.com.

________

PRE-PAID NIGHTMARE

Kenya Power’s prepaid meter system, touted as convenient and handy, has become a nightmare for a resident of Nairobi’s Imara Daima Estate.

On April 9, she sent Sh1,000 by M-Pesa to buy tokens and received a message saying she had paid Sh2,100, but got only 43 units of electricity.

On enquiring from customer care, she was told it was due to the recovery of a token that was duplicated in February. “This is short-changing a customer, as I am paying for their error, as my units are now charged in a higher tariff range.”

Her account is 01450013097and her contact, jmutegi@live.com

________

STEEP CHARGE

Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua should intervene and find out why the provincial general hospital charges a whopping Sh3,000 to fill in a police P3 form, urges John Wanjohi.

The fee, he adds, is way beyond the means of many, including a farm labourer he knows, who has tried and failed to get one.

Since the form is obtained from the police free, John cannot understand why the public hospital shouldn’t charge as little as Sh100 to enable many to access the service. 

His contact is johnwanjohi23@yahoo.com.

________

SECURITY LAPSES

Nairobi resident Kethi Ngoka, like other Kenyans, is “worried about the terror threat lurking in our midst”, and her fears have been heightened by the recent attacks.

Says she: “I hope the terrorists don’t get wind of the fact that cars with special number plates, including GKs and some diplomatic vehicles, are never searched at some establishments.”

She was at Village Market recently and was shocked to note that the car ahead of hers was not checked.

For the details, her contact is kngoka@gmail.com.

 

Have a secure day, won’t you!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

BRING BACK OFFICER: Rogue motorists have been wreaking havoc, bullying other drivers on Kiambu Road, especially on the stretch between Ridgeways and Sharks Place Restaurant in the past few days, moans Anthony Njuguna, adding that they seem to be taking advantage of the absence of a traffic policeman who often patrols the area on a motor bike.

“Every day, from 6.30 a.m., and from 5 p.m., they have a field day, overlapping on both sides. Bring back the officer now,” Anthony demands.

His contact is njoguanjuguna@gmail.com.

**********

REMOVE DEATH TRAP: The recent fatal crash at a bridge on the Masii-Tawa Road in Machakos County is the continuation of what has almost become an annual ritual at the spot, moans Solo Kimotho.

Instead of rushing to apportion blame every time an accident occurs, he adds, it would make a lot more sense to get to the bottom of the problem. He is, therefore, urging Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua to help remove the death trap by ensuring that there are clear signs on both sides warning about the sharp, killer bend.

His contact is kimothos@yahoo.com.

**********

ROAD DESIGN FLAWED: Though he is a wildlife conservationist and not an engineer, James Gichiah totally agrees with the view that something “is terribly wrong with the design” of the section of the road between the Lang’ata Army Barracks and the Bomas of Kenya, but especially at the roundabout.

He adds: “The road narrows in several sections and is a nightmare to motorists at the roundabout at the KWS headquarters, which is not only misplaced, but appears to have been an afterthought.”

His contact is jgichiah@gmail.com.

**********

KEEP TABS ON RESIDENTS: As the authorities grapple with the runaway insecurity in Nairobi and other towns, which has been fuelled by the looming threat of terror attacks, Lawrence Githinji has also gone into overdrive in trying to figure out just how the people themselves can help counter the threat.

Says he: “A good way to do this is to keep accurate records of the residents in every neighbourhood and number all the houses. This is how it is done in the developed world and it really works.”

His contact is larence.githinji@gmail.com.

**********

PROTECT REFUGEES: The security threat notwithstanding, the government has an obligation to protect asylum seekers and refugees, notes Opiyo Odhiambo. The foreigners, he adds, must never be subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention.

If detained, the reasons for doing so, Opiyo states, should be expressly explained to them and they “must never be held in inhumane conditions and discriminated against”. Faulting the authorities on the recent arrests, he concludes: “I know the government can do better.”

His contact is opiyodhiambo@yahoo.com.

**********

SERVICE WATERED DOWN: Agnes Kimani is unhappy with the performance of Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company, alleging “inefficiency and arrogance” among some of its staff.

A resident of the Moi Sports Centre at Kasarani, Agnes not only pays her bills on time, but also goes the extra mile, personally taking her meter readings to the company whenever there is a delay.

She was, therefore, shocked when water supply was disconnected and someone explained it was because her neighbours are not paying. Her contact is kimaniagnes@gmail.com.

**********

PATENT NATIONAL SYMBOLS: At Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Airport, X N Iraki reports, there is a kiosk called “Out of Africa”, which is, of course, the title of that famous Hollywood film shot in the Maasai Mara in Kenya.

And it gets even more interesting with a popular South African wine called Mara. Says Iraki: “These are Kenyan symbols that South Africans are using in marketing, and no Kenyan is lifting a finger. Our obsession with local issues, past and present, is costing us dearly on the economic front. When shall we wake up?”

His contact is xniraki@gmail.com.

Have an strategic day, won’t you!

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

Fax 2213946

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 12 April 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

BUS RULES. When the National Transport and Safety Authority announced its new stringent rules against matatus, Macharia Kimani recalls, commuters in Karen, Nairobi, thought they would get rid of the notorious Route No. 24 (City centre-Cooperative College) minibuses, as most of them were unroadworthy. “But alas, just a little painting, cleaning of seats and welding of the floor and seats, and there you are! But I still want to believe money did not change hands.” His contact is machariakimani1916@gmail.com.

________

HIT AND RUN. While driving on the Thika Superhighway, just before the Kenyatta University main gate, Baraka Barakafoun says he saw a car ram another, and to his utter surprise, the offending motorist just sped off. Baraka couldn’t give chase because he was rushing to an assignment. However, he managed to take down the vehicle’s registration number, and is willing to help nail the culprit. His contact is barakafound@yahoo.com.

________

PAST MISTAKES. The surge in terrorism in the country today, Martin Tairo says, has something to do with the abnormal increase in population recorded in North Eastern Province in the 2009 national census. According to him, the authorities failed at that time to deal decisively with the problem, and thus unwittingly contributed to the current menace. The officials, he adds, were just content to have the “matter swept under the carpet” then, but today, they are having to contend with the grave threat. Martin’s contact is tairo@architecturekenya.com.

________

NSE LOGO. At 60 years, the Nairobi Securities Exchange is marking a milestone in a long “transformational journey”, remarks George Gopal, who is, however, not impressed with the decision to rebrand and come up with a new logo. “The old one made more sense to me as it uniquely portrayed the fluctuation of prices on the region’s largest bourse. As a small-scale investor, I am disappointed because the new logo resembles that of a transport company that I saw recently.” His contact is georgegop@yahoo.com.

________

COURT PROCESS. Why treat minor traffic offenders like common criminals? asks John Michael. Traffic police, he says, stopped him at the James Gichuru-Waiyaki Way junction in Nairobi, checked his licence, circled his car twice and eventually found that a bulb in his brake light was not working. He paid a cash bail at Kabete Police Station, was at the Kibera Courts the following day at 8am and was fined Sh20,000 at noon. “Ready to pay the fine, we were marched two by two to the cells and locked up with common criminals. I was released at 4pm and now understand why people bribe traffic police.” His contact is johnfortune3@gmail.com.
 
Have a sensible day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 11 April 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

CASH GROWS ON TREES. Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu’s recent advice to communities to uproot their blue gum and eucalyptus trees to protect water catchments makes a lot of sense, notes W. Kimariech. However, the minister should not forget that the same trees mint money for farmers in the tea-growing zones, who sell firewood to processing factories to cure their crop and poles for electricity distribution. “As land dwindles, the people are forced to encroach on water catchment areas.”

_________

COME FOR YOUR LAPTOP. At the risk of being arrested for handling suspected stolen property, Dennis Omamu says he recently got an HP Envy laptop but has been suspicious about the source. Call him an honest Kenyan or a scared would-be convict, Dennis is appealing to anyone who might have lost such a computer to urgently drop him a line indicating the exact model, serial number, physical marking and any other identification marks, and he won’t hesitate to hand it back. His contact is domamu890@gmail.com.

________

REDUCE FARE, KQ. During the lean months in the tourism season from March to October, R. Hood, writing from Nottingham in the UK, wonders why Kenya Airways cannot slash fares on all its overseas flights to help the country attract more visitors. “This will not only increase the foreign currency cash flow, but will stimulate tourism, keeping more Kenyans employed. After all, tourism has clearly been dwindling over the past few years, yet the money brought in by the visitors has helped the country over the years.” His contact is grant.england@live.co.uk.

________

CONTROL TUK TUKS. Driving in Mombasa has become a nightmare because of the three-wheelers known as tuk tuks on almost every street, moans Abdulsalaam Noorani. While he has nothing against the operators earning their living, he is not convinced that most of the drivers are conversant with traffic rules. But more glaring is their lack of courtesy. “They overtake on both sides, drive straight onto oncoming traffic, and will stop in the middle of road to pick up passengers.” He wants traffic police to rein them in.

________

COP ON THE TAKE. A traffic policeman on motor bike has been extorting bribes from errant motorists instead of helping to unlock the notorious gridlock on the Lunga Lunga-Likoni roads stretch in Nairobi’s Industrial Area, moans Igol Montansuru. When he should be helping to clear the jam, the man is always on the lookout for any driver using the phone. He will then demand “breakfast”, warning the offender that the fine is Sh10,000 if taken to court. For the details, Igol’s contact is montansuru@gmail.com.

________

JOBS ARE BEING LOST. While he appreciates the need to enhance safety on the road, Rikesh Patel is worried that some of the measures being taken by the Transport ministry do not augur well. Says he: “I would like to know from the National Government whether to push matatus off the road for alleged non-compliance on new speed governors is good for the economy. “Employees won’t make it to work on time, and people won’t spend time in the CBD, as they have to walk back home. A lot of livelihoods are being lost.” His contact is rik.patel85@hotmail.co.uk.
 
Have a well-meaning day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 10 April 2014

The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), the government body that offers loans to students in tertiary institutions, is in a dilemma.  PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | FILE

The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), the government body that offers loans to students in tertiary institutions. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | FILE   NATION MEDIA GROUP

By The Watchman
More by this Author

DON'T TARGET ONE GROUP. As the government steps up the war on terrorism, it should not unfairly target any community, says Jelle Sheikh, adding that the crackdown in Eastleigh, Nairobi, appears to have done just that. According to him, some Kenyans have suffered dire consequences as security personnel attempt to flush out illegal immigrants from Somalia, who have been linked to the terror attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa. “Let us enjoy our citizenship,” demands Jelle, whose contact is janowabajana@yahoo.com.

________

KAKAMEGA STINKING. Probably just back from (he doesn’t say where), Rogers Wendo is appalled at the sorry condition of Kakamega Town, adding that it is just not the town he once knew. The new Kakamega under the leadership of Governor Wycliffe Oparanya “is full of polythene paper and other plastics, the trenches are full of filth, and should it rain, one cannot walk around without getting a sickening feeling. Oparanya and his team should concentrate on this,” pleads Rogers, whose contact is wmbiya@yahoo.com.

________

RELEASE NHIF CARD. How long does it take to fix a card printing machine? asks National Hospital Insurance Fund member Kennedy Kipkorir. He applied for membership on September 13, last year, in Kericho and was issued with a handwritten acknowledgement slip, pending the processing of the card. “Six months later, nothing. Every time I inquire, I am told, ‘Our machine has broken down. Try again next week’. Can someone, please, fix this machine.” His membership number is R4433954 and his contact, Tel 0726229747.

________

TSC CLUELESS. Who rates the performance of government institutions? asks Kaicy Euro, adding that the dubious accolade for the most inefficient public organisation of the year should go to the Teachers Service Commission. Kaicy is bitter because of failure to stop deductions from her salary for a good eight months despite Madison Insurance Company writing a letter confirming termination of her policy. Her TSC number is 404680 and her contact, Tel 0723298554.

________

DENIED A LOAN. The Higher Education Loans Board has “become extremely inefficient”, charges Jackson Njamba, appalled at the treatment of his son, who, he claims, applied for a loan last year and has not heard from them. “Though Helb insists on communication through email, enquiries through the provided address are never replied to and the landlines are never answered. They can confirm that my son, whose national ID number is 31994711, was never given a loan.” Jackson’s contact is jackson.njamba@gmail.com.

________

BAFFLING MYSTERY. The disappearance of the Malaysian jetliner over a month ago raises serious queries about the efficacy of the much-touted advances in technology, says Churchill Amatha. He wonders how come the search has not been precisely narrowed down to a particular spot, with the confirmation that the plane flew for seven hours after the switch-off of its tracking device. “This mystery continues to baffle me in this era.” His contact is amathacj@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.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

WEAR YOUR OWN HAT, SIR: Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku has been attempting to carry the burdens of others on his shoulders and often found himself on the receiving end of scathing criticism of his style of doing things, says Job Momanyi.

“He should confine himself to policy issues and let the police explain criminal attacks and kidnaps, as they are the experts in that field. That way, he will be able to concentrate on his job, and may even come up with good policies to enhance security.”

His contact is jobmomanyi@yahoo.com.

**********

RESIDENTS NEGLECTED: Even as the central government tackles the grave threat posed by foreign terrorists and their local allies, Millicent Shitakha is not convinced that the Nairobi County government is doing enough to secure the residential areas.

The worst affected, she reports, is the Nairobi South ‘B’ area, especially Balozi estate and the neighbourhood of Nerkwo public. “We are robbed in broad daylight by thieves who don’t even bother to hide their identity. Why should we be walking on eggshells in our own homes?”

Her contact is mshitakha@yahoo.com.

**********

PROTESTS IN BAD TASTE: When gunmen stormed into a church in Likoni, Mombasa, a few weeks ago, and sprayed worshippers with bullets, killing six and injuring scores of others, there were no calls for street demonstrations, notes Kennedy Butiko, adding that that way, the people let the law take its own course.

He is, therefore, also opposed to calls for protests over the killing of radical preacher Abubakar Shariff aka Makaburi, and is appealing to those concerned to let investigations conclude.

His contact is kennedy.butiko@yahoo.com.

**********

JOBS APLENTY: The government, which is being accused of having miserably failed to create the jobs it promised youth during the campaigns for last year’s General Election, can still redeem itself, and regain the public’s confidence, says Hellen Kimani, a resident of Thika in Kiambu County.

According to her, the best way to do this is to merely create a conducive environment for young people to start their own businesses. And while at it, Hellen advises, it should ensure that the enterprises are fairly and logically taxed.

Her contact is hellenkimani@gmail.com.

**********

STATE THIEVEVRY DISGUSTING: After sweating themselves out to pay taxes, with Kenyans literally sleeping on empty stomachs, Paul Mwangi is disgusted to note that the revenue is often siphoned off to line the pockets of a few well-connected individuals.

Super con schemes such as Goldenberg and Anglo-Leasing, he adds, took away money needed for development projects to enrich some people. Paul poses: “Why should we pay taxes to be stolen by pen/paper thieves and have others shot on sight?”

His contact is PMwangi@eacables.com.

**********

GO DIGITAL ON NEWSPAPERS: The decree to stop buying newspapers, as part of the means to contain the ballooning government wage bill, is bad news for media owners and the vendors countrywide, says Antony Irungu. This, he adds, is because the government is the single largest employer and consumer.

However, Antony wishes the supposed Jubilee ‘digital’ leadership could, instead, ask its officers to subscribe to the digital paper to save some money and still keep its staff well-informed on local and international affairs.

His contact is antolex@yahoo.com.

**********

PROVIDE CLARIFICATION: What is the correct reference to governments? asks Peter Mburu, noting that there is no uniformity in the advertisements placed in newspapers and on TV by the 47 devolved units. The four most common forms, he adds, are Government of X County, County Government of X, X County Government and People’s Government of X County.

Can the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, or any other body, shed some light on this? urges Peter, whose contact is peter.mburu@yahoo.com.

Have an appropriate day, won’t you!

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

Fax 2213946

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 5 April 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

SECURITY. The runaway insecurity is a matter of concern in the streets of Nairobi and Mombasa, in homes, and also in workplaces, remarks Arphaxad Makori. The government, he adds, has an obligation enshrined in the Constitution to ensure the safety of all Kenyans and their property. Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo, Intelligence boss Michael Gichangi and Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, he demands, must earn their pay by securing the country. His contact is mak.alpha@yahoo.com.

________

POOR SERVICE. Kajiado County government’s lands registry should pull up its socks, says Kenneth Miriti, who has for over two months now been waiting for a bank charge over his plot despite this having been cleared by the local land control board. He adds: “The Lands officials are scoring poorly in public service delivery, with breakdowns of franking equipment or misplaced files. This inefficiency has huge implications on economic activity.” His contact is ken.miriti@yahoo.co.uk.

________

COUNTY SERVICE. Once a beautiful residential estate in Nairobi’s Eastlands, Buru Buru Phase III is wallowing in filth, with garbage strewn all over the place, moans Davis Munoru. The county government, he reports, never collects garbage, just like its predecessor, the City Council of Nairobi, and all that the small private companies do is encourage their clients to pile up litter at various collection points. “And the county officials mostly harass petty traders. We demand services as rates have been doubled.” His contact is davismunoru@gmail.com.

________

CITY POTHOLES. Mercy Wambugu wonders why two key roads in a plush area of Nairobi — Gitanga and James Gichuru — have gaping potholes. Sections of the two roads, she adds, were dug up ostensibly for recarpeting several weeks ago and to date, there is no sign that the job will completed soon. “Those who cannot do the jobs they have been given should be removed. This is the 21st century for heaven’s sake. Please fix the roads.” Her contact is waruguruwambugu@googlemail.com.

________

A WALKING NATION. The crackdown on matatus by the National Transport and Safety Authority has been a blessing in disguise, remarks Njoroge Kiratu, adding that instead of always boarding vehicles, he has been walking to various destinations and actually likes it. “As a result, I feel better and healthier and sincerely thank the authorities for causing the mess enabling me to confirm that I have been doing a disservice to my health by never walking, even to nearby destinations.” His contact is nkiratu@gmail.com.

________
 
Have a beneficial day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 4 April 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

ARE THEY SMOKING BHANG? As the National Road Safety Authority intensifies the use of Alcoblow tests to catch drunken drivers, Macharia Chege claims there has been an “insignificant reduction in the number of fatal accidents”. However, it is quite possible that some of the errant motorists may now be avoiding alcohol, but abusing other deadly substances, he adds, thus calling for a system to test for the use of bhang by drivers to curb accidents.

________

PAY MY GRANDMA. George Pita feels the pain of his grandmother whose husband died in 1994, and to date, has not been paid a cent of his terminal dues. But Anastasia Ohato Siangan has not just sat back, waiting. She has followed up the payment numerous times at the Pensions Department, only to be told that though it has been approved, the person supposed to release the cheque is away. The 90-year-old diabetic has also been asked before for a Sh5,000 bribe. George’s contact is george@mentors.co.ke.

________

POLICE RESPONSIBLE. Responding to Henry Nyabuto’s query on whose responsibility it is to clean up the mess after a bad road accident, Beatrice Mbogoh says it’s definitely the work of the police. “In the UK where I live, when police go to the scene of an accident, they bring with them large brooms or brushes. Before leaving, they will thoroughly sweep the place and take away everything for proper disposal. Thus, they ensure that no pieces of glass are left behind to puncture other motorists’ tyres.”

________

USE FOOTBRIDGES. Following the burning of a car by a mob after its driver knocked down and killed a pedestrian on Mbagathi Way, Nairobi, James Gakuo says the time has come to severely deal with people who refuse to use footbridges, preferring to dash across busy roads. Flyovers built at a great cost to the taxpayer in various parts of the city, he adds, are hardly ever used by the pedestrians, who would rather risk getting knocked down walking across the road. At Mbagathi Hospital and Nyayo Highrise estate, pedestrians must be forced to use the bridges.

________

UNRAVEL SCANDAL. Almost every morning as he goes to work in Thika Town, James Mute comes across dozens of lorries with freshly cut wood at a factory waiting to sell it. Curious, he asked one of the sellers where they got it from, and the fellow remained silent. Alarmed at the possible wanton felling of trees in the neighbourhood, James hopes the authorities will investigate, get to the bottom of the scandal and punish the culprits. Should they require his assistance, his contact is jamesmute@hotmail.com.

________

ISOLATE TERRORISTS. The mounting insecurity in Nairobi, Mombasa and other towns, in which cells of terrorists allied to al-Shabaab militants are active, is a source of grave concern to all. Recent attacks in Eastleigh, Nairobi, have heightened fears all round, and Jeypah Nyash and other residents appreciate the efforts the authorities are making to enhance security. But once caught, Jeypah is unhappy to note that “someone, who has been implicated in a terrorist plot, is held in a police cell together with a chicken thief”. His contact is jeynyash@yahoo.com.
 
Have a secure day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 3 April 2014

PHOTO | PHOEBE OKAL National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich (left) addresses journalists at Harambee house in Nairobi during a cabinet briefing on April 2, 2014.

PHOTO | PHOEBE OKAL National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich (left) addresses journalists at Harambee house in Nairobi during a cabinet briefing on April 2, 2014.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

MEDIA BRIEFINGS A WASTE. The media briefings by Cabinet Secretaries are unnecessary in this day and age, says Robert Wanyoike, adding: “That the government feels it needs to keep reminding citizens about its plans and achievements is the surest sign that it is doing very little or nothing at all.” It would have been better, he argues, for the officials to “organise town hall meetings in the counties, where the people get to ask some serious questions. The current monologue is only self-serving.”

________

JUBILEE HAS FAILED. During last year’s election campaigns, Jubilee coalition leaders Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto promised to create more jobs for the youth, eliminate corruption, and curb insecurity, recalls Peter Njuguna, adding that they have failed miserably on the three issues. “Millions of young people remain unemployed, there is runaway insecurity and mega-corruption to a scale never seen before. Were we all duped? Maybe we should now consider outsourcing leaders from China.”

________

NO RIGHT OF WAY. Whereas ambulances and fire engines deserve to be given the right of way, the same does not apply to cars carrying VIPs such as Cabinet Secretaries or any other government officials, says Mohammed Fazal Hussein. He is, therefore, disappointed to note that police have not bothered to act when some VIPs’ drivers arrogate themselves powers they do not possess. “These people are misusing their positions and should be arrested. Only the President is allowed this privilege.”

________

CJ HAUNTED BY DECISION. The continuing transformation of civil rights icon Willy Mutunga into an object of public ridicule is his lowest point in his otherwise illustrious public life during which he served a stint in detention during the single-party dictatorship of yesteryear, says Jim Webo. “The CJ, it seems, will forever be haunted by the Supreme Court decision in which he led his colleagues in discarding 900 pages of Cord’s presidential petition evidence on a technicality. Judging from his latest spirited defence of the verdict, this is one issue that is not going away soon.”

________

NOT A SINGLE ATM! As the National Bank basks in glory after bouncing back to profitability, Jacob Otieno advises that it should avoid the temptation to rest on its laurels and do some real work to get even better. Quite urgent, he adds, is a plan to roll out more ATMs to areas where the bank has no presence today. In Nanyuki, where he lives, Jacob moans, there is not a single ATM and so its branch is always congested and the staff not particularly efficient. His contact is otienojacob363@ymail.com.

________

SPEAK UP MUSLIMS! Can the majority devout Muslims who have always believed in religious harmony as a basis for peaceful co-existence come out in full force to denounce the Somalia-based foreign jihadists behind the terrorist attacks in Kenya, in which scores of innocent people, including children, have perished? urges Dave Tumbula. Kenyans, he adds, must, like never before, rally together to resist the plot by the crazed militants to drive a wedge between them on religious grounds. “Let’s help the police to flush out these killers,” he pleads.

Have a harmonious day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 2 April 2014

IGNORE THEM, UHURU. Critics of the Jubilee Government’s performance after a year in office are confirming that Kenyans are the type who will pray for the rain and when it comes, immediately ask for sunshine, says Betty Humbe. President Kenyatta, Betty says, should simply ignore the detractors, who include Cord politicians, so that he “does not lose his focus because of the noise of a few people”. What he should prioritise, she advises, is dealing with insecurity, the high cost of living and the food crisis.

________

CONTRACTOR POOR. The contractors working on the Lang’ata and Argwings Kodhek road projects in Nairobi shouldn’t be there in the first place, remarks Alfonso Gribaldi, adding: “They have sawn off asphalt patches and left the roads in a pathetic state of disrepair. The holes have filled up with rain water and are not visible at night and even during the day. They have ruined a perfect road that was done in 2000 by making it bumpy with uneven patches. Don’t we have qualified engineers to build roads in this country?”

________

ASSIST THIS SCHOOL. Nairobi Water Company should go to the rescue of Ndurarua Primary School in Dagoretti South, whose water pump has been out of order since 2011, urges local resident Alfred Odiyo. He has been moved, not only by the plight of the pupils who badly need water, but also the headmaster who has made numerous trips to their offices, seeking help without getting any. The school is now being forced to buy water, whose quality they cannot vouch for, from vendors. Odiyo’s contact is Tel. 0720764105.

________

MATATU MUSIC TOO LOUD. The music often played by the crew of the matatus and buses plying the Thika Superhighway routes does not only pose a health hazard, it also makes the ride boring, says Charles Kuria. According to him, “music is meant to entertain”, but that is not possible when matatu drivers and their conductors relish blasting their passengers’ ears. “Since most of us can play music on our phones, it should be banned in matatus.” His contact is gatukuria@yahoo.com.

________

TAKE NOTE KENYA POWER. A big casualty of the recent downpour in the Lower Juja Farm area of Kiambu County are the newly installed electricity posts, which simply collapsed, says Michael Mburu. He wonders what explanation the Kenya Power official who supervised the project has for this. “As a layman, I know that this region has black cotton soil, which should have been scooped up before the posts were cemented into the holes. Somebody must take responsibility for this wastage.” His contact is mburumk@yahoo.com.

________

IT'S A SHODDY JOB. A regular user of the Ngong-Kiserian road for over five years, Reuben Wanjala is not impressed by the recent repairs. He feels the project was not properly supervised, “as it is not possible that five potholes next to one another could have been filled in and three others left”. Last year, Reuben wrote to the Kenya National Highways Authority, complaining about the quality of the work and received no response. Hoping for better luck this time, Reuben’s contact is rwanjala@yahoo.com.
Have a smooth day, won’t you!

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

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 1 April 2014

PHOTO/FILE Customers at a KCB banking hall. The bank plans to roll out Islamic banking products targeted at the growing Muslim market in the country.

PHOTO/FILE Customers at a KCB banking hall.   NATION MEDIA GROUP

SHOOT EM' DOWN. Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa’s order to police to gun down terror suspects on sight is not any different from what the special American forces have been doing in their campaign against Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, says Dave Mungai. “Terrorists won’t spare anyone, including children and women, the young and old. Theirs is a mission to eliminate their perceived enemies. When Osama bin Laden was traced to his hideout in Pakistan, he was shot dead by American commandos.” His contact is mungaidave2@gmail.com.

________

DOUBLE STANDARDS? Human rights organisations, Stephen Mutuguta says, always fall over themselves condemning the police for killing suspected hardcore criminals, but they remain deafeningly silent whenever innocent people are killed in raids such as the recent terrorist attack at a church in Likoni in which six people died. “When terrorists attacked Westgate Mall killing innocent people, the rights groups said nothing,” claims Stephen.

________

PATRIOTISM THE KEY. The mounting insecurity in most parts of the country needs to be checked for economic development to be achieved, says Patrick Ndege. What is urgently required now, he adds, is to inculcate the values of patriotism and good neighbourliness in the people to get them to think seriously about protecting and caring for one another. To enhance security, he argues, the Police Force must be rid of officers who are easily bribed to let down their guard and thus compromise security. His contact is patrickndege52@gmail.com.

________

KCB, WHAT'S UP? Something is terribly wrong with Kenya Commercial Bank’s ATMs, says a customer, James Nguya. On March 27, he adds, he tried to withdraw money from an ATM, but it didn’t dispense the money. There was only a message on the screen a message saying, “Card issuer not available.” He went to another machine and was shocked to note that his account had been debited with the amount he had tried to withdraw earlier. To date, the money has not been refunded. His contact is jamesnguya@gmail.com.

________

WHO CLEANS UP? Whose responsibility is it to clean up the mess after a road accident? asks Henry Nyabuto. Every time an accident occurs, especially a head-on collision during which windscreens are smashed and plastic linings ripped off and left strewn on the road, the stuff is left at the accident spot for other motorists to run over and flatten in the long run. The authorities, he pleads, should ensure roads are swept clean, not just after accidents, but also to regularly remove any other form of litter.

________

NOISE POLLUTION. The noise pollution in Mtwapa township is getting worse by the day, says Jitu Haria. There has been a proliferation of bars that play loud music all night, with no care in the world about the residents forced to endure sleepless nights. Complaints to Nema, the Mtwapa police boss, and the county government have not borne any fruit. “The owners of the noisy bars have been told to make them sound-proof, but none has complied so far,” says Jitu, whose contact is Tel. 0722640780 or jhariajitu@yahoo.com.

Have a quiet day, won’t you!

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

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 31 March 2013

FRUSTRATED BY SAFARICOM.

Why does Safaricom have a customer care desk that cannot be reached by its subscribers despite encouraging them to do so?

Sylly Oduor, accusing the mobile phone service provider of taking its customers for granted, says he has tried several times to reach the customer care desk, in vain, sometines dialling one of its special numbers and holding on for 20 minutes.

“It’s so frustrating that I am considering shifting to one of the competitors.”

His contact is Tel 0724553470. 

***********************************************************
ROGUE COPS

Can the police authorities explain whether they have sanctioned the suspect business the officers in a blue Peugeot 504 station wagon are always doing at the by-pass near Windsor Country Club urges Evans Macharia.

He is appalled to note that they have set up a toll station to extort bribes from lorry and pick-up drivers, without batting an eyelid.

“They do it without any fear in the world and the business has absolutely nothing to do with security operations,” adds Evans,

He can be reached through evans_macharia@yahoo.com.

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

FEES TOO HIGH

Convinced that the counties that create the best environment for businesses to thrive stand to generate more revenue and easily solve their problems, Becky Omambia is worried that the high fees being charged in Mombasa could only scare away would-be investors.

The cost of a single business permit, Sh30,000, to operate an M-Pesa agency, she adds, is on the higher side.

“Governor Ali Hassan Joho, we’re watching you and your team.”

Her contact is omambiabecky@gmail.com.

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

SLEEPING ON THE JOB

Ever since David ole Nkedianye was elected in March last year and moved from his Kitengela residence to the governor’s mansion in Kajiado, Michael N. Ireri claims, he has “remained oblivious to the myriads of problems afflicting the citizens in his county”.

Michael cites the old Namanga Road which “is crying out for repairs”, the sewer challenges and the endemic traffic snarl-ups.

He believes that part of the solution is to relocate the public transport service terminus.

“Up your game, Bwana Governor,” he urges.

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

TOO SLOW A PROCESS

As the dust settles on the Kenya Certificate of Education exam results released recently, S.P. Ndung’u, from Kenton School, Kinangop, is already worrying about preparations for the next, which starts with registration.

He has been visiting the Kenya National Examinations Council’s website to register this year’s candidates, but it is too slow.

“With the deadline approaching fast, I am worried I might not be able to register all my candidates.

What is going on?”

His contact is spndungu@gmail.com.

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

OFFICERS PROFESSIONAL

Anthony Mwangi was with his entire family when his car was rammed by a matatu on March 21 at Umoja in Nairobi, which sped off, and he didn’t have any hope that the culprit would ever be brought to book.

But three days after reporting to Buru Buru Police Station and recounting the family’s ordeal, the matter was investigated in record time, the offender arrested and compensation paid.

“I wish to thank the divisional traffic police boss and his officers for their impeccable professionalism,” says Anthony. 

Have an impressive day, won’t you!

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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

HIDDEN AGENDA: The real aim of the terrorists who last week attacked a church in Likoni, Mombasa, killing several people and badly injuring a little child is to drive a wedge between Muslims and Christians by fuelling a religious war, warns Geoffrey Njenga.

“They are only too aware that such a bloody incident will cause bad blood between members of the two main religions in this country. It’s part of their agenda to incite and radicalise more youth to join them.”

His contact is geoffnjenga@yahoo.com.

**********

EIGHT-YEAR LAW AN ASS: The argument that no matter how good imported used motor vehicles are, the eight-year age limit law must be obeyed, is “utterly absurd”, says Cephas Karanja. “Anything contrary to this is arguing like the biblical Pharisees, who would rather have had a donkey die after falling into a well on a Sabbath than have the owner break such a law rescuing it. Such laws serve no public good. We can ‘collectively (agree to) break a nonsensical law for our own good’ before changing it. After all, it was made for us and not the converse.”

His contact is kiper6183@gmail.com.

**********

GROUNDED AT THE FARM: A farmer in Makueni County, Patrice Mutuku, says he is already feeling the pinch following a directive that carriers atop matatus be removed.

“My produce, which I normally transport by matatu to Nairobi, is now rotting away on the farm.” Like many of his fellow small-scale farmers in Ukambani and elsewhere, Patrice adds, he cannot afford to hire a pick-up to ferry the produce, as the cost will be too high.

He is appealing to Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau to reconsider the decision.

His contact is patricengao81@gmail.com.

**********

END THE JAM: The closure of the section of Outering Road in Nairobi’s Embakasi area in the Eastlands from a local fuel depot to the Taj Mall roundabout is the source of a traffic jam nightmare for motorists, says Patrick Ndegwa.

Drivers coming from the Utawala area, he adds, now have to filter into only one entry into Mombasa Road, and yet the construction has not even begun.

“Why not just open it and close it once the City Cabanas interchange is completed?”

His contact is pattnd@yahoo.com.

**********

DSTV RAINED OFF: Can MultiChoice, please, urgently explain to subscriber D.K. Mwangi why the signal of their popular pay TV channel, DStv, cannot withstand the rain, often denying those who have paid for service the right to have continuous coverage.

Says Mwangi: “Whenever rain falls, the DStv signal is lost, and yet other TV channels remain steadfast. This is so, and yet DStv is said to be superior to the others. Why can’t MultiChoice sort this one out?”

His telephone contact is 0722490148.

**********

NEW HOMES, POTHOLED ROADS: As new houses continue to be built at New Donholm in Nairobi’s Eastlands, the roads are in a pathetic state and the deterioration continues at an alarming rate, moans Purity Musalia.

“I wonder how the landlords expect prospective tenants to access the houses being built. Trucks carrying building materials, and water bowsers are the worst culprits.” The road passing by Modern Care School has two big potholes “that become mini lakes” whenever rain falls.

“Three days since it rained, the road is still flooded.”

**********

SNEAKY MOTORISTS: Every time motorists give way to emergency vehicles such as ambulances or VIPs’ motorcades in Nairobi, June Vandenabeele says, others immediately take advantage of this to escape traffic jams by speeding after them, creating needless confusion.

A regular user of Ngong Road, June adds, it is a common occurrence in the Karen area, and the culprits should not be allowed to go scot-free. “They should be arrested and punished as what they do is unfair to others.”

Her contact is june.vandenabeele@gmail.com.

Have an reasonable day, won’t you!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 29 March 2013

By The Watchman
More by this Author

POLICE PRIORITIES. The new-found passion police now have for catching drunken drivers using alcoblow tests is suspect, says James Gakuo. With the rising insecurity in the capital, other towns and the rural areas, James is not convinced that having hordes of officers trying to arrest drunk drivers is more pressing than protecting pedestrians who are mugged daily and the robberies happening in homes. “We don’t need the cheap drama we are witnessing daily on TV with alcoblow.” His contact is gakks2002@yahoo.com.

________

INSECURITY. Nairobi resident Benjamin Ngugi just couldn’t believe his ears when he heard a senior police officer on TV declaring that the “force is on top of things”, after the Mombasa church terror attack in which six innocent Kenyans perished. “How can they be, and yet they have failed to collect intelligence on the weapons entering the country and avert such attacks?” And as if to mock their incompetence, he adds, the murderers casually strolled away from the crime scene. “Are they on top, just counting bodies?” His contact is bm_ngugi@yahoo.com.

________

TRAFFIC JAM. Echoing complaints about the construction of Nairobi’s eastern bypass, which appears to have stalled at the City Cabanas turn-off on Mombasa Road, Mumbi Ngari says this section has become the source of the traffic jam nightmare the residents have to endure every day. But it has just got worse following the closure of the section of Outer Ring Road towards the JKIA. “Can those concerned ensure that the job is speeded up, as it is causing unnecessary snarl-ups and wasting a lot of time?” Her contact is mumbingari@yahoo.com.

________

DRY TAPS. A resident of the plush Peponi Gardens in the Parklands area of Nairobi County, Satish Shah, is not impressed with the service being provided by the city water company, having had to endure not having enough water supplied to his homestead. And he would not be so bitter had the problem not persisted for, yes, a good six months. “Can they, please, urgently look into the problem of the very low water pressure?” urges Satish, whose contact is satish@genplastkenya.com.

________

FAIR ELECTIONS. As ODM struggles to clean up its image, following the saga of the “men in black”, who crudely disrupted its national elections not long ago, Jim Webo is amused to learn that the party has not learnt a lesson from the debacle and appears determined to remain in the “undemocratic muck”. The calls to have a candidate handed a direct nomination to run in the forthcoming Mathare parliamentary by-election, he adds, will confirm that “all this talk about democracy is simply hot air. Why don’t they let the people compete freely.”
 
Have a competitive day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 27 March 2014

Baby Satrine Osinya with his grandmother Wilbroda Ayoti at Coast General Hospital, Mombasa. His mother died protecting him. PHOTO/Laban Walloga.

Baby Satrine Osinya with his grandmother Wilbroda Ayoti. A decision whether to operate Baby Satrine Osinya to remove the bullet that is lodged in his skull will be known by Tuesday. PHOTO/Laban Walloga. 

By The Watchman
More by this Author

ELIMINATE TERRORISTS. The mounting insecurity in Mombasa, with frequent attacks on hapless worshippers in churches, is really worrying, says Antony Irungu. Terrorists and other killer gangs must be dealt with firmly to assure the local residents of their security. He would like to see the security forces step up efforts to eliminate the criminals radicalising youth to attack fellow Kenyans in a needless orgy of violence in a region that has known religious harmony for years. “A tree is not killed by pruning, but by uprooting it,” he declares.

________

MARK THIS ROAD. The ongoing patch-up job on the Kericho-Litein-Sotik road couldn’t have come at a better time as the potholes were already posing a grave danger to road users, says W. Kimariech. However, he hopes that this time round, the works will include marking the road which has never been done before. Many accidents have occurred in this area, especially at night, due to lack of markings. “Let the authorities not just talk about curbing road carnage yet they contribute to it by ignoring this.”

_________

WHERE IS MY REFUND? Nearly a year since he returned from South Africa where he had lived for a while, Daniel Maina is still a bitter man. On realising that he had misplaced his repatriation fee receipt, he was advised by the South African embassy in Nairobi to swear an affidavit in order to get a refund, and he promptly did. However, since August last year, he has made numerous trips to the embassy and sent many emails to SA’s department of home affairs in vain. “I had borrowed the money and I need to repay it soon.” His contact is dawam98@yahoo.co.uk.

________

FIX ALL THE DEFECTS. Welcoming Kenya National Highways Authority official Charles Njogu’s assurance that the contractor has a few months to fix any defects on the Thika Superhighway, J.K. Munyiri says the remaining liability period should be made good use of. He would, for instance, like to know about the missing footbridges that Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau said were part of the project and would be built soon. “Or shall we have to contend with having speed bumps on a highway?”

________

ROAD IN A MESS. A section of Enterprise Road in the Industrial Area, one of the busiest in Nairobi, has been left to go to the dogs, moans Noorani Munir, a regular user, about the proliferation of potholes, especially near the Fire Station. The dilapidated surface is largely to blame for the seemingly never-ending traffic jams at the spot and beyond. This has been the case for a long time, and certainly not the best way to ensure that fire engines move quickly whenever called to put out fires.

________

AT CROSS PURPOSES. What Stevenson Karanja finds rather ironic is the apparent failure by the government to walk the talk in its efforts to reduce the ballooning wage bill in the public sector. He cannot understand why a government that is cash-strapped would promise thousands of county assembly members huge car grants, host all manner of expensive retreats, and fail to deal with the cartels that are to blame for some of the revenue haemorrhage. His contact is kiambuman@yahoo.com.
 
Have a committed day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 27 March 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

GOVERNORS MAKE NO SENSE. From April 1, a worried Thika resident Bimal Shah says, public transporters and industries are likely to be “thrown into total chaos”, with the enforcement of a new directive requiring all commercial vehicles to be fitted with speed governors. But even more surprising, he adds, is the decision-making that seems to have priorities upside down. “Can we, as a nation, afford to spend more than $150 million at a time when the government is crying for belt-tightening? Whoever came up with this must be crazy!”

________

NO LIGHTS ON FOREST ROAD. Does anyone out there know what could be ailing the solar street lights that were not long ago installed on Forest Road, Nairobi, as a means to cut the city county government’s heavy spending on electricity? asks Agatha Kabugu. For the past two months or more, she reports, the beautiful lamps have remained mere decorations on the road. At the same time, the section has been pitch-dark at night, providing cover for muggers and other vermin.

________

DENIED POWER. Kenya Power owes Caleb Musalia an apology for failing to meet its side of the bargain in a transaction that should have been closed by now. Caleb applied for electricity, paying all the charges by November 19 last year. However, numerous visits to the power utility’s offices in Kakamega Town have yielded nothing, though his home is just about 15 metres from the connection pole. His application reference number is E24202011050180 and his contact, mangidijr@gmail.com.

________

A BLOW TO THE ECONOMY. The recent directive to remove the carriers atop matatus is a blow to the rural economy, moans Alex Kioko. It is these matatus, he adds, that are used to transport goods to remote, rural outposts that have cattle tracks for roads. “Whereas the owners will increase the fare to cover for lost income, small-scale farmers will have difficulties taking their perishable produce to markets. The government should reconsider this decision.”

________

KAHAWA SUKARI NEGLECTED. Whenever it rains, the residents of Kahawa Sukari in Kiambu County have to contend with poor drainage and mosquito-breeding pools of dirty water, moans David Kinyanjui. This, he adds, is also a major cause of deadly waterborne diseases. According to David, the problem has persisted since 2007, and this despite complaints to the authorities and assurances by local leaders. With the rainy season here again, he fears the worst. His contact is kinyanjuidave45@gmail.com.

________

MISPLACED PRIORITIES. Nothing exemplifies the idea of misplaced efficiency more than the picture of an overzealous police officer in Nakuru arresting a motorist suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, says Daniel Njaga. He poses: “Who can explain this? The police never have the time, money or motor vehicles to use in the fight against insecurity. But somehow, these are now available to fight a crime where there is no victim or complainant. Who will save us from these contradictions?” His contact is daniel.njaga@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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 26 March 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

NOMINATIONS UNFAIR. Whereas the Constitution has heavily borrowed from the supreme law of the United States, what with governors, senators and Cabinet secretaries, it has also created many more positions, remarks X. N. Iraki. He cites Nominated MPs, and Members of County Assemblies. “Why do we have them? Why did we copy selectively? Why should someone spend Sh50 million to campaign and another one just walks into Parliament or the Senate? Nomination violates natural justice.”

________

LAW MUST BE OBEYED. Joining the raging debate on the plan to crush cars at Mombasa Port that are over eight years old, Job Momanyi says as a law-abiding country, that is really the way to go. “The motor vehicles may be roadworthy and in tip-top condition, but, for heaven’s sake, there is a law against their importation and it must be obeyed. Those crying foul should first think of having the law changed. The issue of whether that law makes sense or not is another matter altogether.”

________

PARENTS TO BLAME. Parents, including some prominent leaders, cannot escape blame for contributing to the declining standard of the English language, says Mark Kariuki. The best evidence of poor spoken English, Kariuki adds, is in the debates in the National Assembly, some of whose members can hardly articulate their thoughts in the language, but still insist on using it. “Much has been written about this, but I feel parents have played a major role in the deterioration of the language.”

________

MUSIC TOO DEAFENING. While he has absolutely nothing against playing music in public service vehicles, the deafening noise in buses and matatus is unacceptable, says Kashyap Gohel. “During a one-hour journey such as from Thika to Nairobi, the music limits commuters’ conversation and drivers and conductors ignore pleas to lower the volume. “It is at 80 to 85 decibels, which is risky to the ears. They mostly have two large front speakers pointing and blaring music into the faces of passengers.” His contact is kashgohel@gmail.com”

________

LET THE VETERANS DRIVE. Echoing Diana D’Souza’s sentiment that in almost every road accident that occurs, one is bound to find a lorry involved, Charles Rex says the suggestion to have an age limit for drivers makes sense. But unlike the government, which is concerned about the upper age limit, Charles wishes only experienced drivers should drive heavy commercial vehicles. He is also calling for digital speed governors and Alcoblow tests during the day. His contact is charles@chem-labs.com.

________

DEN OF ROBBERS. The railway bridge that connects Kenyatta University to Jua Kali (Kahawa West) is a deadly spot for pedestrians, moans Mathew Kibe. Insecurity is so rife that hardly a week passes without students or workers at the university being mugged and their laptops, mobile phones and cash snatched. “I once donated a pair of trousers to a student who had been stripped naked by the thugs. How about erecting floodlights to scare away the criminals?” His contact is kibemathew@gmail.com.

Have a secure day, won’t you!

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 24 March 2014

A worker packing flowers. Venturing into flower farming can be daunting, but it turned dreadful for Peter Kemei, a Nakuru-based farmer, after hailstorms flattened his entire nursery. FILE PHOTO

A worker packing flowers. FILE PHOTO 

By The Watchman
More by this Author

IT'S BEING REPAIRED. The Thika Superhighway project is under a 24-month defects liability period, which began in July 2012, says Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) official Charles Njogu. According to him, the contractor will have to replace any defective road studs and reinstate markings to the engineer’s satisfaction. KeNHA has also awarded a contract for the operation and maintenance of the road for the next two years to ensure it conforms to “the best international practices”.

________

CLEAR THE TITLES MESS. The National Land Commission’s pledge to issue over 300,000 title deeds by the end of the year, though rather ambitious, is commendable, says Mathew Kibe. However, Mathew wishes the commission could start by first clearing the “land title deeds mess in Nairobi”. According to him, thousands of plot owners have been held hostage by land-buying companies that are not in a hurry to release the documents to individuals. For details, his contact is kibemathew@gmail.com.

________

NOT A DROP TO DRINK! Can Nairobi Water Company go to the rescue of the residents of Ideal Flats on Ngong Road who last saw any water flow out of their taps in September last year? urges Anne Migunda. Several visits to the company’s office at Nairobi South, and phone calls and letters to the headquarters, she claims, have yielded nothing. “Everyone, from the customer care desk to the technicians and technical co-ordinator have one tale or another. The only constant is the bills they always send on time.” Her contact is anne@lesmart.co.ke.

________

I NEED DRIVER'S LICENSE. A resident of Meru Town, Rasik Chandaria, applied for a duplicate driving licence on August 23 last year and was assured that it would be ready in three months. He is still waiting to date. Rasik, who says he cannot afford to go to Nairobi to follow up the matter, is worried because the Kenya Revenue Authority office will not renew his interim licence, which expires on May 19. The receipt number is 002013235060252a and his contact, meru@nacokenya.com.

________

SH100 NOT ENOUGH. The proposed Sh100 monthly deduction from teachers’ salaries to pay them when they go on strike is too little, says Domi Gathuru. “The most they would get is Sh1,100 if they work for 11 months and go on strike for one month. They should increase the contribution to Sh2,000 to be paid Sh22,000. But does it make sense to go on strike and pay yourself? The loss of a month’s salary is bigger than the increment they might be seeking. Do the math.” His contact is gathurud@yahoo.com.

________

DON'T WE LIKE FLOWERS? Flower sector worker John Kimani Macharia is disappointed that his fellow Kenyans hardly “embrace Kenyan products, including flowers”. He adds: “Some 99.9 per cent of all our flowers are exported, yet we also celebrate occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, the International Women’s Day, Mother’s Day, Fathers’ Day, and Christmas when we should decorate our homes with flowers. It is high time we started enjoying our own things.” His contact is john@mileleflowers.com.

Have a beautiful day, won’t you!

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

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 24 March 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

NOT CONNECTED
Poor telephone communication in most of the areas neighbouring the Kenya-Tanzania border is a major factor for the rising incidence of insecurity, remarks Joseph Mwangi.

In some areas, the mobile phone network signals are largely non-existent.

“Mobile phone companies would do well to ensure local people are in a position to communicate with security and other relevant organs whenever an enemy is spotted advancing.”  

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

HIRE YOUTHS

Safaricom, whose used airtime scratch cards, are among the litter strewn all over the place in towns and rural areas, could kill two birds with one stone, says Steve Gachui, who sees an opportunity for youth to get hired to clear the menace.

As they earn some money to improve their lives, they will also be helping their communities to keep the environment clean by removing the pieces of paper and avoid the eyesore of clogged drains.

His contact is stepgach@gmail.com.

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

INVESTIGATE THIS

Nairobi Bottlers Ltd will be interested in getting to the bottom of this complaint by a client, a small-time trader on Casanova Road at Huruma Estate in the Eastlands.

Sylvia Gatwiri, the owner of Japa Stores which stocks Coca-Cola products, says that on March 6, she was threatened by one of their employees, who tried to extort a bribe after repossessing her refrigerator and tossing out her drinks.

“He used a mkokoteni and I was left wondering whether Coca-Cola has run out of motor vehicles.”

For the details, her contact is Tel 0706333434. 

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

FINANCIAL ADVISERS

Following the Association of Kenya Insurers recent award ceremony for the best performing life insurance agents, Andrew Thuo says some of the companies have been falling over themselves placing advertisements in the newspapers to congratulate the winners, which is in order.

However, he takes issue with the reference to the agents as “financial advisers”, a title, he claims, is not in the Insurance Act.

According to him, for one to be a financial adviser, one must hold a Master’s degree.

His contact is athuo@sureseeker.co.ke.

********************************************************************************
BLACKLIST CRASH TRUCKS

Has anyone else noticed that in almost all the fatal accidents that occur around the country almost daily, a lorry is always involved? asks Diana D’Souza.

She wishes the government could blacklist the truck owners, cancel licences of errant drivers and sue the companies for the loss of every life.

“The police should publish the names of the transporters and the drivers so that serious action can be taken against them!”

Her contact is diana@encompas.co.ke.

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

ACCIDENT PRONE

The companies sponsoring the landscaping and beautification of roundabouts in Nairobi are doing a superb job, but safety should always be paramount, says city resident BB.

He claims he has had a good look at the work being done at the Nyayo National Stadium roundabout and is alarmed at how electricity has been “precariously tapped from an overhead line”.

Recalling that accidents involving trucks are common at the spot, he wants the engineers to review it for safety.

Have a safe day, won’t you!

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

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

JOB WELL DONE: The speedy arrest of two suspected Somali Al-Shabaab tourists and seizure of a cache of deadly weapons in Mombasa this week is commendable, says Collins Mwatati. (READ: Two Shabaab suspects jailed for illegal stay in Kenya)

Quite chilling, he adds, is the police revelation that the arsenal was capable of bringing down a 14-storey building.

“The police and their agents were able to avert this. Please, keep up the good intelligence work so that the people of Kenya can live and work peacefully. Kudos to the police!”

His contact is collinsmakoko@gmail.com.

*********

VOI ROAD A MESS, AGAIN: During a recent trip to Mombasa by bus, Jeff Kihoro says he was stunned to note the poor condition of the stretch of the highway from Voi.

Interestingly, he adds, this section was rehabilitated only about three years ago. He wants to know from Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau why the road has developed potholes so soon after its rehabilitation.

“Can he address this with the same zeal he has demonstrated in effecting the alcoblow use and the night bus travel ban?” asks Jeff, whose contact is kihoro@yahoo.com.

*********

UNAPPRECIATIVE BUNCH: The people saying that the decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, as well as their Cabinet and principal secretaries to take pay cuts ranging from 10 to 20 per cent is inconsequential cannot be serious, says Kithinji Kiruja.

To appreciate the symbolic gesture by the Executive, Kithinji adds, the critics should consider the already clearly evident ripple effect. He poses: “Or did they also expect him to preach water and drink wine?”

His contact is kithinji@gmail.com.

*********

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: How many people are going to die before the authorities make it a priority to construct and use footbridges over busy roads in Nairobi? asks Brian Oluoch.

As a part of their social responsibility and desire to see the needless deaths averted, he adds, private companies, especially four banks, DTB, KCB, Equity and Barclays, which all have branches on Mombasa Road, should pool resources and seek a lasting solution.

“They will always be remembered if they join hands to put up a bridged to save lives.” His contact is cadenge@gmail.com.

*********

WATER... PLEASE: Something has gone terribly wrong with the water supply in Kileleshwa, Nairobi, moans Rajni Acharya, adding that the problem has persisted for several months now.

But even more annoying, Rajni adds, is that the city water company has neither acknowledged receipt of their complaints nor addressed the problem.

An official, he claims, offered to have his home supplied with clean water by tanker, but he declined. “Where do we go to have this problem sorted out?”

His contact is acharya.rajni2@gmail.com.

*********

A LITTLE PHILANTHROPY: Although it is not the responsibility of private companies to build public roads to their premises, Nairobi resident Diana D’Souza says there is a little one just off Mombasa Road that is crying out for a little such generosity.

The road, she adds, leads to several businesses and firms, including Odds and Ends and Nakumatt headquarters.

“Unfortunately, I do not own a four-wheel drive. The firms should take responsibility to fix this dirt track that cannot be called a road.”

Her contact is diana@encompas.co.ke.

*********

ACADEMICS MY FOOT: The ongoing strike at the public universities has brought out the worst in some of the academic and non-teaching staff, says Hiran Mugaisi, amused at the looting of kitchens for chapatis and other food prepared for students in Mombasa.

But perhaps the most shocking, he adds, was the raid at a library in a university in western Kenya by lecturers blowing whistles, who chased out their own students.

“These people need to grow up!” yells Hiran, whose contact is ddyzeebaibie@gmail.com.

Have an decent day, won’t you!

Email: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com Mail: The Watchman PO BOX 49010, GPO 00100, Nairobi.
Fax 2213946

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 22 March 2014

By Editorial
More by this Author

FREE RIDES. A regular commuter to and from Nairobi’s Eastlands, Caleb Nanzere says he is saddened by the fact that Kenya Railways is being fraudulently denied revenue. Many of the commuters boarding the trains at Kahawa and Makadara railway stations hardly pay the fare. “You will witness a friendly chat with the conductor and one walks away or receipts are not issued. At Mtindwa, those alighting hand over their tickets for use by others. Where are the inspectors?” His contact is ncaleb28@yahoo.com.

________

FACELIFT. The Kenyatta National Hospital, being the first and largest referral institution in the country, is doing its level best to offer excellent medical services, but it is also crying out for a face-lift of its facilities, says Churchill Amatha. Of all the old lifts in its main tower block, only three are operational, causing some unbearable crowding. “It is not nice waiting for a lift, as everybody gets in as they go up so as not to miss the ride down to the ground floor. Something should be urgently done about this,” urges Churchill, whose contact is amatha@hotmail.co.uk.

________

EXTORTION. Some of the staff of the environmental department of the Kisumu County government are up to no good, moans Keval Shah, adding that they have been targeting traders for extortion. “Should they find polythene or paper bags outside a shop, they will accuse the owner of causing pollution. They will then write a bond of a huge amount of money and walk out. The irony is that they do not seem to care about the dumping of garbage outside many business and private premises.” For the details, his contact is keval@bhagwanji.net.

________

POWER LOSS. Nearly eight years ago, Jim Davies recalls, Kenya Power was paid Sh1 million to install a three-phase transformer for a plot at Mwenzan’gombe in Kilifi County (Account No. 2446784) to be able to operate a coir factory. Since then, the power supply has been extended to many other users and one phase recently blew up, “most probably due to overloading”. For a good 17 days, the factory has been down due to lack of three-phase power, causing loss of Sh30,000 a day. “Can Kenya Power sort out this problem?” His contact is jim.kocos@gmail.com.

________

PRIORITIES. The deaths on the roads are continuing despite the National Transport Safety Authority’s ban on night bus travel, says Ngure Gitau, appalled at the latest obsession with administering breathalysers to catch drunken drivers. The increased operations against people driving under the influence of alcohol, he claims, is the new cash cow for the police. “When shall we get our priorities right in this country?” His contact is pgm1707@gmail.com.

Have the right day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 21 March 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

DONATE THESE VEHICLES. An interesting suggestion on what to do with the “over-age” motor vehicles at Mombasa Port comes from G.K. Pius. Instead of crushing them as the government plans to do, he asks: “Why doesn’t it donate those vehicles to the technical institutes for use as teaching aids?” Students being trained as mechanics or motor electricians, he adds, would find the vehicles quite useful and should not be denied such an opportunity. His contact is piusgkw@gmail.com.

________

DISCONNECTION UNFAIR. Nairobi resident Jane Githinji is not amused that the city water company has sent technicians twice to her house at South ‘C’ Kongoni Estate to disconnect her supply and yet she has overpaid her bill by Sh800. Jane has gone to their offices on Addis Ababa Road in the Industrial Area several times, but her complaints have fallen on deaf ears. She even reported to the bosses a bribe extortion attempt and a suggestion “to talk nicely to have my water reconnected”. For the details, her contact is Tel 0722450020 or janegithinji10@gmail.com.

________

MAJORITY AVERAGE. Where 50 per cent of candidates score straight As, the exams must be quite easy, says Ben Njenga, in response to Muchemi Kariuki, who sat his O ‘Level’ exam at Alliance High School in 1971, when less than two per cent of the students scored six Distinctions. Njenga adds: “Many tests have shown that the distribution of human abilities follows the Gaussian (normal) distribution curve, where extremes such as straight As or Fs are very rare. The majority of us are of average intelligence.”

________

EXTORTION THEIR GAME. The traffic police officers who have been turning a blind eye to unroadworthy public service vehicles without speed governors have been turning out in their hundreds every night with breathalysers, says David Kanji, convinced that their real motivation is not curbing the carnage on the roads but extortion. “One drunken driver who veers off the road at midnight might die alone, but why allow 30 or so lives to be lost when a speeding, overloaded matatu overturns? Enforcing these simple rules is the answer,” declares David.

________

FREE TO TRADE. The Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC) wishes to confirm that the hitch that prevented Harrison Kabue from trading on the stock exchange has now been sorted out. Corporate affairs manager Irene Mutiso says the client had only been required to open a new CDS account. However, he recently gave his agent instructions, which the CDSC implemented on March 8. “The account is now open and ready for use.”

________

WEATHERMAN WRONG AGAIN. The Meteorological Department has once again been proved wrong in its forecasts, with the heaviest rains having fallen in Nairobi in recent years, says X.N. Iraki. “The downpours, complete with thunderstorms, made children cry on Thursday night.” Iraki poses: “The weatherman has been proved wrong on many other occasions. Is this another way of God revealing Himself to us?” His contact is xniraki@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.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 20 March 2017

By The Watchman
More by this Author

THEY'RE TOO YOUNG. While he supports the school laptop project 100 per cent as it will enable children to become ICT-savvy at an early age, Michael Mburu totally disagrees with starting this in Standard One. According to him, Standard Four would be the best class to begin, “when the child is a bit more mature and responsible”. He adds: “My daughter is in Class One, but I would never allow her to touch my laptop as she can only ruin it. Children should perfect writing skills before going digital.”

________

COPS MISBEHAVING. Can Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru confirm whether his officers have been authorised to snatch the car keys of motorists they suspect of flouting traffic rules? asks Andrew Munyua. Some of the officers, he adds, will impound driving licences, peel insurance certificates off windscreens or insist on entering the vehicle. “They will have your car being towed away, or bang it with a baton. What should I do whenever I encounter these over-zealous officers?” His contact is andrewmunyua@ymail.com.

________

I DEMAND SERVICE. Something is amiss at KRA, claims Philip Ndegwa, disturbed about the long delay in processing his application for change of ownership in his logbook. Philip lodged the logbook of his Toyota Passo car, Reg KBR 961D, on January 13 at the KRA headquarters in Nairobi, and is still waiting to-date. “Their service charter indicates that I should have received my logbook in the Post Office a long time ago. I wish to sell the car, but I am now struck.” His contact is pndegwa2000@yahoo.co.uk

________

WE'LL MOVE ELSEWHERE. The diaspora department at Equity Bank must have contributed a chunk of the 61 per cent drop in its annual profit, says Sammy Ng’ang’a, adding that CEO James Mwangi should urgently look into the complaints of customers overseas. “The department takes too long to address our concerns, and when they do, the effort is half-hearted. Why should we deposit our money and fail to access it? Others will take over the diaspora business unless this department behaves.”

________

RELAX EIGHT-YEAR LIMIT. Not all used vehicles are unroadworthy as there are vintage cars and fire engines that are 50 years old, which are much better than what one would buy from the showroom today brand new, says Ruth Gituma. What really matters, she adds, is the running condition of the vehicle. The eight-year limit on imported cars, she says, was only meant to ensure age uniformity. “In fact, what we need is to strictly enforce inspection rules for all imports,” she demands. Her contact is ruthmuhiuha@yahoo.com.

________

DON'T PUNISH IMPORTERS. Some of the cars at Mombasa Port that now risk being crushed over the age-limit rule are actually decent 2006 models that were bought and shipped last year, says Anthony Mugo. He feels that it would be unfair to punish importers due to something they have absolutely no control over, explaining that the vessels that brought in the vehicles docked in January. “The government needs the duty payable to cover its own deficits.” His contact is anthonymugoh@yahoo.com.

Have a fair day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 18 March 2014

From left, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chairman Mumo Matemu, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and EACC chief executive Halakhe Waqo when he received the 18 land title deeds from Mombasa tycoon Rashid Sajjad on March 13, 2014. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT

From left, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chairman Mumo Matemu, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and EACC chief executive Halakhe Waqo when he received the 18 land title deeds from Mombasa tycoon Rashid Sajjad (right) on March 13, 2014. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By The Watchman
More by this Author

PHOTO-OP IS IMPUNITY. Mombasa tycoon Sajjad Rashid doesn’t deserve the publicity of an official ceremony to surrender title deeds to the plots of land he illegally acquired or was allocated, says Martin Wahome. Doing so, he adds, is like parading the pride of blatant impunity. According to Martin, Sajjad should simply have walked over to the Lands office, handed over the titles at the counter and left instead of enjoying a photo opportunity with government officials. His contact is Martin.Wahome@kprl.co.ke.

________

KAREN CRIME-PRONE. All is not well in the once serene leafy Karen suburb of Nairobi, says Duncan Munyua, alarmed at the rising incidents of crime. He cites attacks by a boda boda cyclists’ gang that has in the last one month struck several times, with the latest incident being one where a student was robbed of belongings on Silanga Road in broad daylight on Monday. Duncan is also worried about the licensing of bars and “other strange businesses in the residential areas”, which he believes has made the situation worse. His contact is  munyua1@gmail.com.

________

GET NEW ENGINES. The new Nairobi railway commuter service in the Eastlands is totally unreliable, says Alfred Wambua. To blame are the “very old and inefficient engines that have neither the power nor the capacity” to do the job. “Every so often, the trains stall in the middle of the journey inconveniencing commuters. It has become a sad daily drama.” On Friday, March 14, both the Umoja and Embakasi trains had engine trouble, delaying commuters for 30 minutes. “Get new engines, please”.

________

LEGISLATORS TOO PAMPERED. Why should the grossly overpaid MPs, senators, governors and MCAs be given more taxpayers’ money to buy cars and houses? asks Kenneth Mbuthia. They, he adds, should borrow from banks just like civil servants. “Even if the money advanced to them is repaid, it is a huge expenditure that will lock up money that could have been put to better use.” Kenneth is demanding the enactment of a law to bar civil servants and other State officers from being lent tax money.

________

CONNECT ME NOW! Writing from Habaswein in Wajir, Abdirashid Yusuf says he has been waiting for more than six months for power connection to his premises, despite having paid the requisite fees. The local Kenya Power boss’s explanation that “it is too early” for him to complain, is one that Abdirashid simply won’t buy. He would like the government to shed light on what became of the much-touted rural electrification programme. In case the bosses are interested, his application is Ref: E21812013090004, and his contact dyusuf@gmail.com.  

________

WHY WEAR THE MINI? Quite amusing is the sight of women who will turn out in miniskirts and keep on fidgeting as they walk in the streets and the hemlines rise further, to their utter discomfort and embarrassment, says Churchill Amatha. “It doesn’t make sense to buy a smart dress and keep on struggling to pull it down, even after spending plenty of time in front of the mirror before stepping out. You bought a mini, remember, unless you have borrowed it!” His contact is amatha@hotmail.co.uk.
 
Have smart day, won’t you!

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 18 March 2014

BEYOND MONEY. The people opposed to the government’s decision to crush old cars at Mombasa Port are terribly mistaken, remarks Kanyi Gioko. According to him, money “should never be an end product, but rather a resource for production and improvement of people’s living standards”. He adds: “If old, unroadworthy vehicles kill people, are we willing to export death for money? Would we similarly justify the selling of ivory confiscated from poachers to China, chang’aa to Uganda, and bhang to Jamaica in the name of fighting poverty?” His contact is kgioko@gmail.com.

_____

GOOD EXAMPLE. Anyone who has recently driven on Kangundo Road at night, Oyula Ochieng says, will have noted how simply installing reflectors has greatly improved visibility and enhanced the safety of drivers. The roads authorities and other counties, Oyula adds, should borrow a leaf from Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua on how to help curb accidents. “Many motorists veer off the roads because they cannot see the edges. The National Road Safety Council should ensure that reflectors are installed on all the roads.” His contact is nakatiwa@hotmail.com.

________

NEW WORKFORCE. The old City Council of Nairobi was notorious for its bloated workforce, some of whom used crude brooms to sweep the streets in the city centre. But since the arrival of the city county government, hawk-eyed Maureen Ngari has noted the emergence of smart, seemingly health-conscious and well-equipped cleaners in attire branded “Creative Consolidated”. She poses: “What became of the old employees, as the job appears to have been outsourced?” Her contact is mumbingari@yahoo.com.

________

PROBE TENDERS. Following the much-debated cancellation of the Jubilee coalition government’s pet laptops-for-primary-school-pupils project over procurement queries, Ruth Gituma says there is a need to scrutinise other potentially lucrative tenders as well. It would be to the government’s own advantage, she adds, to, for instance, review the “much-hyped standard gauge railway project”. And how about assembling the laptops locally? asks Ruth, whose contact is ruthmuhiuha@yahoo.com.

________

CUSTOMER CARE. An employee at the National Hospital Insurance Fund headquarters in Nairobi is badly in need of lessons in customer care or should be redeployed before she drives the parastatal’s image beyond repair, says Robert Keengu. When she is not shouting at members going to collect their cards, he claims, the woman will be heard hurling insults at those making any inquiries on the NHIF. She also bullies interns working under her before the eyes of visitors. For more dossier, his contact is Tel. 0729112007 or robkermomanyi@yahoo.com.

________

BEAUTIFUL RIDE. Travelling along Nairobi’s Uhuru Highway, especially the stretch between the Lusaka Road and Westlands shopping centre, has become a joy for motorists and their passengers, thanks to the beautifully landscaped and branded roundabouts sponsored by Zuku, UAP, and Unilever, among others, notes Johndon Ireri Kinyua. The only roundabout that still looks unkempt, he adds, is the one on Bunyala Road. He wonders why companies in the neighbourhood, such as Copy Cat Ltd, cannot chip in and give it a face-lift. His contact is irerikinyua@yahoo.com.

Have a magnificent day, won’t you!

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

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 15 March 2014

Vehicles stop as digital traffic lights control the jam in Nairobi on August 04, 2013. PHOTO : Denish Ochieng 

By The Watchman
More by this Author

TRAFFIC MIX-UP. A self-declared stickler for order and systems, James Karuthiru, says he couldn’t help noticing that the newly installed traffic lights system in Nairobi is flawed. “This is because the cardinal rule on driving a right-hand vehicle is to give way to vehicles coming from the right. For a seamless flow, the roundabout or junction lets vehicles move in an anti-clockwise (exit 4-3-2-1) fashion. The new lights seem to work in the wrong order, causing pile-ups in the roundabouts.” His contact is jamesk@suavesystems.com.

________

EARN BILLIONS. Shouldn’t the government consider levying higher taxes on imported cars that are older than eight years to earn more revenue for itself instead of waiting to impound and crush such motor vehicles? asks Alvin Mwaniki. He says he is shocked that a government that is reducing the salaries of top officials to cut its heavy wage bill has no scruples about destroying vehicles worth Sh4 billion. “It could just earn billions and still punish lawbreakers.” His contact is alvinmwaniki@gmail.com.

________

IN PRAISE OF POLICE. Quite disappointing to Umesh Dodhia is the tendency among many Kenyans to complain about the police and army, mostly criticising them and failing to appreciate their achievements under grave circumstances. Indeed, he adds, every individual or organisation has its own weaknesses. “The army and the police do their work in difficult situations, protecting borders and patrolling the streets, so others can have peaceful nights. Let’s give credit where it is due.” His contact is umesh.dodhia@riverisland.org.

________

CITY FEES. The massive matatu strike in Nairobi last week is a good indication that the city county government is on the wrong track, says Jackson Njamba, adding that there has been an overemphasis on parking fees. “The county is always looking at increasing parking fees, as it has done for matatu operators, as a means of boosting revenue, yet wrongly implemented, this could be detrimental to the residents.” Jackson is, therefore, challenging the leadership to come up with more services to and levy charges on them. His contact is jackson.njamba@gmail.com.

________

COUNTING DEAD BODIES. How many people are going to die before the Ministry of Transport does something about the numerous accident black spots across the country? asks Benjamin Ngugi. Salgaa trading centre on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway, he adds, is one such a black spot, and has been for years. “The carriageways at such spots should be widely separated, even for a short distance. The people who live around this area are, surely, tired of counting dead bodies, even if the authorities are not.” His contact is bm_ngugi@yahoo.com.
 
Have a secure day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 14 March 2014

A bulldozer crushes an imported vehicle in 2010. Photo by Gideon Maundu / NATION 

By The Watchman
More by this Author

KRA HAS FAILED IMPORTERS. Unless some of the glaring inefficiencies in government are sorted out, reducing the salaries of top executives won’t make much of a difference, says Abdi Mohamed. He’s particularly disappointed with the Kenya Revenue Authority over delays in processing important clearance documents, “because their system is always down”. And to add insult to injury, he moans, the importer will still pay a levy for the delay and storage. “It is wrong, frustrating and unfair,” yells Abdi.

________

SELL JALOPIES TO ZAMBIANS. The decision to crush cars at Mombasa port that are over eight years old is not only primitive, but also poses a threat of environmental degradation, says Charles Njuki. The vehicles should, instead, be sold to countries like Zambia which have no age limit on car imports. “The Sh4 billion would be a big boost to the Treasury which is grappling with a huge public wage bill. After all, there are 40-year-old jalopies on our roads which pollute the environment.” His contact is charles@rokimgroup.co.ke.

________

NO, GIVE THEM TO THE POLICE. Why destroy the old cars when there is an acute shortage in many government departments, especially in the Police Force? asks Andrew Munyua. President Kenyatta, who has shown the way in reducing public spending by agreeing to a 20 per cent pay-cut, should now order the seizure of the vehicles and their distribution to the sections facing transport shortages. “After all, most of the cars on Kenyan roads are more than eight years old.” His contact is andrewmunyua@ymail.com.

________

GRAB PARKING SLOTS. As the country discusses salary cuts, Frank Laurence sees many areas in the Nairobi City government where big savings could be made. The county has, for instance, reserved 72 parking slots for MCAs who hardly use them daily. This is a loss of Sh518,400 a month and Sh6.22 million a year. The slots are left vacant when the county could be earning revenue. Frank also doesn’t understand why salaried employees should be paid sitting allowances. His contact is feal60some@yahoo.co.uk.

________

HAWKERS A MENACE. The hawker menace in Nairobi’s residential areas is very real, says M. Njoroge, urging the city county authorities to ensure they are removed from the roads and taken to designated business parks. At Garden Estate, he reports, hawkers have taken over a section of the road from Uchumi Supermarket to Sunstar Hotel, “selling all manner of stuff, including food”. Encouraged by inaction from officials, the invasion of Coffee Garden Drive is almost complete. His contact is rnjoroge@touchstone.co.ke.

________

WARRANTY REQUIRED. Just how long should a newly-built road last before it begins to develop potholes? asks Kiplimo Kosgey. A Chinese company, he reports, built the Lanet-Solio dual carriageway in Nakuru, completing the job almost two years ago. It was a record, considering the snail’s pace work done by other contractors. “Unfortunately, there are now numerous potholes all over”. And Kiplimo fears the repairs will be jua kali. “If one spends billions on what falls apart in two years, why not demand a warranty?”

Have a solid day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 13 March 2014

President Kibaki and Attorney General Amos Wako after the promulgation of the new constitution on August 27, 2010. In 2004, one year into leadership, President Mwai Kibaki appointed a dream team to turn round the country’s economy. On the advice of this team the Kibaki administration increased the salaries of public servants.  PHOTO/FILE

President Kibaki and Attorney General Amos Wako after the promulgation of the new constitution on August 27, 2010. "Vision 2030 is now just another of those concepts that are occasionally mentioned in speeches during celebrations marking national days". PHOTO/FILE 

By The Watchman
More by this Author

DONT PAMPER HOOLIGANS. Kenyans must stop blocking public roads whenever they protest against something, Kariuki Muchemi advises, alluding to the recent matatu strike. Waxing knowledgeable, he says that according to the Traffic Act, only a police officer in uniform has the authority to stop vehicles on a public road. “It is, therefore, most disgusting to see police officers pleading with hooligans who are breaking the law instead of hauling them to the cells.” His contact is 0722511359.

********

CHECK THIS, TRAFFIC BOSS. Why have matatus been allowed to pass through Kiserian Town’s market centre instead of the properly designated areas? asks Christine Ng’ang’a. This, she moans, has resulted in some business premises being blocked as suppliers and customers have to contend with the chaotic matatus passing in front of their shops. Can the county leadership arrest the situation immediately, as traders stand to lose businesss? he pleads.

********

LECTURERS TO BLAME. The mess at Rongo University College is not only evident in the lack of basic facilities, but also in other areas. “On the first page of their prospectus, they request you to dully, instead of duly, fill in a certain form. But they are not alone. That citadel of academic excellence, the University of Nairobi, also cannot correctly spell the word ‘recommend’ on the application form for self-sponsored students. Is it about the calibre of the lecturers they hire?” His contact is masambus@yahoo.com.

********

ARE STUDENTS BRIGHTER? When he sat his O-Level exam in 1971 at Alliance High School, Kariuki Muchemi recalls, only two out of the 105 candidates (less than two per cent) got six points (six distinctions in the 7-6-3 system), which would be the equivalent of straight As today. He is, therefore, stunned to note that 40 years later, the same school has over 50 per cent of its candidates scoring straight As. “Has the examination become easier or are students much brighter today?” His contact is kmuchemi@yahoo.com.

********

EQUALITY NECESSARY. Only one district school appeared among the Top 100 performers in last year’s KCSE exam results, says Peter Kamuri, adding that ensuring equity in access to quality education is a big challenge. “The university entry points for students from district schools should be lowered, considering the circumstances in which the students learn. Some students have never set foot in a laboratory, and textbooks are inadequate, besides having limited hours for study, especially in day schools.

********

LACK OF VISION. Taking stock of the performance of the Jubilee coalition during its first year at the helm, Patrick Kilan says a notable development has been the weakening of key institutions set up by the previous administration. “The National Economic and Social Council, a darling of the Kibaki administration, is no more. Vision 2030 is now just another of those concepts that are occasionally mentioned in speeches during celebrations marking national days.” His contact is kilanpatrick@gmail.com.
 
Have a visionary day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 12 March 2014

A view of a section of the Thika superhighway. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | FILE

A view of a section of the Thika superhighway. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By The Watchman
More by this Author

TOTAL WASTE. The announcement that second-hand cars worth Sh4 billion at Mombasa Port will be crushed is another of the “thoughtless and wasteful moves” that have become the typical behaviour of the government, says Preeyesh Shah. “This will needlessly cost me, the taxpayer, a lot of money. Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to sell the motor vehicles to neighbouring countries that allow the importation of cars that are more than eight years old? Has anyone bothered to investigate?” Preeyesh’s contact is preeyesh@kenyasweets.com.

********

MOVE HAWKERS. Hawkers are increasingly becoming a nuisance in Nairobi’s residential estates, moans Esther Wanjohi, citing the near-total invasion of Limuru Road, all the way from Runda estate to the local police post. “It’s a big mess as they squat with their wares along the road all day. They are not only noisy, but also a security risk, and often destroy the vegetation, and cause traffic jams.” Esther wants special site set aside for the petty traders away from the roads. Her contact is estherjomi77@yahoo.com.

********

MUCH ADO ABOUT LITTLE. The news about President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President Ruto, their Cabinet and principal secretaries having agreed to take pay cuts ranging from 10 to 20 per cent is hogging the limelight for no good reason, says Enock Tarus. According to him, the President’s announcement about a 20 per cent pay cut in a bid to fix the monstrous public wage bill, “is a mere drop in the ocean”. “We need serious economic programmes and policies, and not roadside announcements.”

********

JIGGERS TOO STUBBORN. Though the anti-jiggers campaign is commendable, Christine Ng’ang’a is disappointed that the number of those infected is not declining despite seven years of work by various high-profile organisations. This, she adds, is the best confirmation of a dependency syndrome “that keeps those involved occupied”. She poses: “If poverty is the cause, why not give the people cows, goats and chickens instead of rubber shoes and cleaning them up?” Her contact is wanjikumwaniki@gmail.com.

********

GOVERNOR'S SHOULDN'T POLITIC. Just like the President is barred from indulging in party politics, this should also apply to county governors, says Joseph Macharia. Turkana and Mombasa Governors Joseph Nanok and Ali Hassan Joho, respectively, he adds, had been actively campaigning for top positions in the abortive ODM national elections instead of channelling all their energies into discharging their duties in their counties. His contact is machariajoseph82@gmail.com.

********

REFLECTORS DON'T WORK. Though the Thika Superhighway looks magnificent during the day, the story is totally different at night, remarks Kieha Ndung’u. He wonders whether the inspection to confirm completion of the project could only have been done during the day. At night, for instance, he adds, the lane-marking reflectors don’t work. “In fact, only a small portion of the 40km road at Pangani has reflectors.” His contact is kiehandungu@yahoo.com.
 
Have a super day, won’t you!

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 11 March 2014

PHOTO | JACOB OWITI Travellers from Mombasa collect their luggage after a two-day journey to Kisumu on January 7, 2014.

PHOTO/FILE Travellers from Mombasa collect their luggage after a two-day journey to Kisumu on January 7, 2014. Bus owners on Wednesday got a reprieve after the High Court agreed to listen to their case fighting night-travel ban.  NATION

EXAM GRADING FLAWED. Even as he congratulates the candidates who excelled in last year’s KCSE exam, Howard Akimala has misgivings about the grading system, which he believes is flawed. “I am not convinced that today’s candidates are sharper than those of yesteryear. In my days, in the 1990s, As and First Class honours degrees were rare. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. Could the Knec and universities be losing the plot?” His contact is hakimala@yahoo.com.

********

MPS WONT PLAY BALL. President Kenyatta is in for a shock if he thinks that his symbolic gesture of accepting a 20 per cent pay cut to demonstrate his concern over the ballooning public wage bill will be embraced by MPs, notes Barre Sheto, writing from Mandera Town. Barre says he will not be surprised if the MPs instead write to SRC boss Sarah Serem asking that the saving from the reduction in the salaries of the President and his deputy be paid out to them because they “work the hardest”.

********

NIGHT BAN HURTING. Bearing the brunt of the night bus travel ban are ordinary Kenyans, says Damaris Vaati. A friend, she recalls, recently left Mombasa for Kisumu at 6am. By 9pm, they had reached Ahero township which is just about 30 kilometres from Kisumu, but had to sleep on the bus at the local police station. “Is the plight of the poor people, who cannot afford to buy their own cars or hire taxis, ever considered when such decisions are made by the authorities?” Damaris asks.

********

RAISE PARKING FEE FURTHER. The easiest way to decongest Nairobi is to increase the Sh300 daily parking fee and introduce tolls on the traffic jam-prone roads, Lawrence Kagwi says. “Motorists will avoid using such roads or just leave their cars at home. This is how many of the great well-planned cities of the world were able to manage their urbanisation challenges and are today enjoying the full benefits. I know of a city in Europe where no single private or public service vehicle is allowed into the central business district on Mondays and Fridays.”

********

RECONNECT OUR WATER. When the residents of Ndemi Lane reported a leakage in their neighbourhood to the Nairobi Water Company, they did not know that their gesture of civic responsibility would come to haunt them, says Berhe Mulgheta. Instead of fixing the problem, technicians disconnected their water supply. That was six weeks ago, and since then, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. “But the irony is that our compound is flooded, yet our taps remain dry.” The reference number is 2SF140221R1 and his contact, mulgheta@yahoo.com.

********

CALLING HONEST LAWYERS! Where are the reliable lawyers that small-scale business people and small-time landlords can use to get their defaulting clients and tenants to pay up? asks a terribly frustrated Kate Kariuki. Without going into the details or naming names, Kate says, many lawyers are quite unreliable and dishonest. “Imagine a landlord hires a lawyer in a case against a tenant, seeking eviction and he is bribed by the accused. This is a crazy Kenya we are living in!”

Have an honest day, won’t you!

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

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Cutting Edge

WHAT TRAVEL BAN?: There is no ban on night travel by bus, contrary to Robert Muge’s assertion, says Sam Akhwale. The National Transport and Safety Authority (Operation of Public Service Regulations) document has stipulated conditions that a transporter needs to meet to be licensed to conduct long-distance night-time passenger service.

NTSA requires that no driver works for over eight hours, must take an eight-hour break before the next shift, that the journey allows a 30-minute break every three to four hours, and for each vehicle to have two drivers.

His contact is samakhwale@yahoo.com.

**********

GET YOUR MATH RIGHT: Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi is right and his critics quite wrong in their simple arithmetic calculations, says John Kabaru.

“Enrolment in school is in January, whilst examinations are held in November/December. A child who enrols at six years, will, by the end of Standard One in December, be turning seven, and add a year at every next December. One of the critics fell for a mathematical illusion commonly used to trick students in quizzes and exams.”

His contact is johnkabaru@yahoo.com.

**********

GIVE MINISTER A BREAK: Also endorsing the Education CS’ remarks, Richard Kariuki says Ngina Kieti and Jaspor Onzere got it all wrong and berated Cabinet Secretary Kaimenyi for nothing.

Says Richard: “If a child was six when joining Class One in January 2011, she will be 14 at the end of Class Eight in 2018, when she sits her KCPE exam, unless six plus eight is not 14. If she then joins Form One in 2019, she will be 18 at the end 2022, when she sits her KCSE exam, unless 14 plus four is not 18. Just do the math.”

His contact is mundia@haritsheth-advocates.com.

**********

'UNSUNG' CHAMPIONS: The praise for exemplary performance in last year’s KCSE examination may be going to Alliance Boys and Nyeri High schools, but equally deserving the national limelight is Kapsabet Boys High School, says Freddy Kipchumba.

Kapsabet, he adds, had the best results in Kiswahili and was placed fourth nationally, breaking into the Top 10 for the first time. “Mark you, Kapsabet became a national school only recently. As an old boy of the school, I am very proud of this feat.”

His contact is mdswissholdings@gmail.com.

**********

SHAMELESS BEGGAR COPS: Some of the police officers manning the main gate to the JKIA in Nairobi are such shameless beggars, charges Michael Mburu. The last three times he has driven or been driven to the airport, he claims, the officers inspected the car and found nothing wrong. But they would immediately go to the driver’s door and ask for “chai or soda”.

The police, he urges, “must stop this bad habit and behave like the professional security personnel they are supposed to be.”

For the details, his contact is mburumk@yahoo.com.

**********

ALL TALK, NO WALK: The government’s decision to hold a three-day retreat at the expensive Mount Kenya Safari Club to discuss how to cut wastefulness in its various departments was both comical and ironic, says Stevenson Karanja.

“After all is said and done, how much did it cost the taxpayer in travel, sitting, and food allowances, and accommodation for all these government officials and their support staff? For all we know, the directive to use government facilities for such functions may not amount to much.” (READ: MPs fault excuse for Cabinet retreat venue)

His contact is kiambuman@yahoo.com.

**********

DEBATE ON FLAGS TRIVIAL: Why are our MPs spending colossal amounts of time, trying to rein in governors and deny them a right to fly the national flag, when there are more pressing problems to deal with? wonders Jim Webo.

“In fact, they should by now have repealed the restrictions in the emblems and national symbols legislation to allow more Kenyans to express their patriotism using these items. Americans, even in the rural areas, fly their flag on their cars and on their houses. Why should we be allowed to do the same?” (VIDEO: Governors criticise MPs plan to cut back powers)

Have an patriotic day, won’t you!

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

Fax 2213946

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 8 March 2014

Strathmore School students celebrate after they emerged the 7th top school in the 2013 KCSE results on March 3, 2014. SALATON NJAU (NAIROBI)

Strathmore School students celebrate after they emerged the 7th top school in the 2013 KCSE results on March 3, 2014. SALATON NJAU (NAIROBI)  

By The Watchman
More by this Author

TRANSPORT. The traffic chaos in Nairobi on Wednesday has just confirmed the dire need for a better regulated city public transport system, says Shem Oduor-Noah. The government, he proposes, should initiate a private, public partnership in a transport company in which the county government should own some shares. The City Council of Nairobi, he recalls, similarly owned shares in the old Kenya Bus Services Company. The city contributes more than 70 per cent of the national GDP. Its residents deserve affordable, dependable and reliable public transport.” His contact is sontec@wananchi.com.

********

CHAOS. The matatu strike that saw commuters trekking to work and motorists being held hostage by matatu crews is annoying, says Antony Irungu. “They maim and rob people with and go scot-free. This is what happens when a government allows a key industry to be unregulated in total disregard of the law. It’s time county leaders came up with an organised transport system for the city. And why did the police wait for the crisis to escalate to impound matatus and taxis?” His contact is antolex2001@yahoo.com.

********

TAME THEM. Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero should not give in to threats and extortion by matatu operators, says James Antony Maingi. City residents, he adds, “are not very happy with the matatu transport system and its disorder”. James thinks “it is only good for tourists who then go back home and ridicule our systems”. Matatus, he declares, must be tamed at all costs. He can’t wait to see the capital rid of matatus. His contact is paskton@yahoo.com.

********

LUPITA'S STAR. New film star Lupita Nyong’o’s first Oscar win is a great tribute to Kenya and calls for concerted efforts to promote creative arts, says Alnashir Walji. Kenyan thespians, he adds, deserve more support to excel in what they have been doing at the Kenya National Theatre. School drama festivals, he argues, are a means to help create and encourage acting talent. “These are some of the things that portray the country in a good light and should supported.” His contact is alnashirdwalji@yahoo.com.

********

TOP SCHOOL. Strathmore School is basking in glory after scoring a rare double in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam, topping in mathematics and English, says Taabu Tele. Taabu feels this exemplary performance has everything to do with good leadership. “The Strathmore University Vice-Chancellor, Prof John Odhiambo, who is also linked to the school, is one of Kenya’s renowned mathematicians, must be leading by example in busting the myth about maths and poor grasp of language.” His contact is taabu.tele@outlook.com.

Have an excellent day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 7 March 2014

Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi when releasing the 2013 KCSE exam results. PHOTO/FILE

Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi while releasing the 2013 KCSE exam results. "A mathematical error made by Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi in his speech during the release of the KCSE exam results is worrying, says Ngina Kieti". PHOTO/FILE 

NURTURE TALENT. Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario’s message of congratulation to Lupita Nyong’o for winning Kenya’s first-ever Oscar award is in order, says Wambua Musembi, who, however, is not convinced that this “goes beyond lip-service”. He would like Wario to show what, if any, steps the ministry is taking to nurture and promote young talent. “How about asking people like Lupita to help motivate the young and expand performing arts institutes?” His contact is fwmusembi@gmail.com.

********

HOW TO WOO TOURISTS. To fix the ailing tourism industry at the Coast, R. Hood says, there is a need to create a four-lane road from Mombasa Town to Mtwapa and to revamp and upgrade hotels. Other crucial measures that should be considered are to increase access to game reserves, improve security for visitors, and promote golf tourism. Writing from Nottingham in the UK, Hood suggests that flights to Coast destinations be increased and a major overseas marketing campaign started. His contact is grant.england@live.co.uk.

********

MATHS DON'T ADD UP. A mathematical error made by Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi in his speech during the release of the KCSE exam results is worrying, says Ngina Kieti. “If a child is enrolled in Standard One at six years, she will sit her KCPE and KCSE exams at 13 and 17 respectively, and not 14 and 18 as he stated. Unless the education system is changed to 9-8-4 or there is a Class One repeat, his calculation is wrong.” Her contact is nginakieti@yahoo.co.uk.

********

NOT AT ALL IMPRESSED. Also not at all impressed by Prof Kaimenyi’s calculations is Jaspor Onzere. Says he: “It is not surprising that mathematics was the third last worst performed subject in the 2013 KCSE examination. If the children are enrolled in Standard One at the age of six, then they will take their KCPE and KCSE exams at ages 13 and 17 respectively, and not at 14 and 18 as the Cabinet Secretary said.” His contact is onzerej@gmail.com.

********

A JOB WELL DONE. Traffic has been flowing smoothly on Jogoo Road in Nairobi’s Eastlands in the mornings since March 3, reports an elated Stephen Manegene. This, he adds, is probably due to efforts by traffic police to tame rogue matatu and bus drivers, who “create traffic jams by joining Jogoo Road through illegal entry points, overlapping over the kerbs, among other antics”. This, he says, they do after using non-designated PSV routes in residential estates. Please remove the PSVs from such routes.” His contact is smmanegene@gmail.com.

********

BODA BODA BAN UNWISE. The incidence of crime and insecurity is bound to increase in Nairobi’s Baba Dogo area following a police ban on boda boda motorcyclists, says Kenneth Mogaka. The presence of many riders on the roads at night creates a sense of security. “The over 100 operators have families to feed and will be forced to resort to crime.” He is, therefore, urging city police boss Benson Kibue to review the decision to outlaw the petty transport business. His contact is kmkmogaka03@gmail.com.
 
Have a useful day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 6 March 2014

Vehicles stop as digital traffic lights control the jam in Nairobi on August 04, 2013. PHOTO : Denish Ochieng 

SHAME ON MEN. Where are Kenyan men as the women continue to “claim all the firsts” in various spheres in the international arena? wonders Barre Shetto, celebrating new film star Lupita Nyong’o maiden Oscar win. “Prof Wangari Maathai was the first ever Kenyan Nobel laureate. Martha Karua was the first Cabinet minister to quit voluntarily, and Lupita is now the first Kenyan to win an Oscar. Kudos to all our women of substance,” says Barre, whose contact is alibarre@hotmail.com.

********

PAY MY REFUND. There is no doubt that George Morara Abuga is grateful to the Higher Education Loans Board for the support that enabled him to pay for his education at Kenyatta University where he graduated in 1998. It took a little while, but in 2002, George started repaying his loan, clearing it in 2011. But there was an overpayment, and a year since he filed a claim for his refund, he is still waiting. “The Helb threatens to go after defaulters, but delays refunds to those who overpay.” His contact is gabuga92@gmail.com.

********

NOT DOING ENOUGH. During his campaigns to become the governor of Nairobi, Dr Evans Kidero made a number of pledges to the residents of the capital city, but the one that Jackson Kenyatta still vividly remembers was to immediately tackle the traffic jam menace. However, after a year at the helm, Jackson is not convinced that Dr Kidero is doing enough to disentangle the mess as the problem seems to be getting worse day after day. His contact is atta119@yahoo.com.

********

MEN IN BLACK. How goons could have entered the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, disrupted the much-awaited ODM national elections and walked away scot free is something David Motari still cannot believe could have happened so easily. And quite annoying to him is the pledge by the ODM brass to ensure they are brought to book after investigations are completed, and yet there is video footage of them in action. “Stop playing mind games on us,” yells David, whose contact is dmots2005@yahoo.com.

********

STANDARDS REQUIRED. The proliferation of universities in the country is good, but where is the body charged with ensuring that all meet basic standards? asks Job Momanyi, in response to recent shocking revelations about Rongo University College. “Unless the authorities ensure all these institutions meet minimum quality requirements, we shouldn’t expect much from them. And why the obsession with the title, university, anyway? The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the best in the world.” His contact is jobmomanyi@yahoo.com.

********

SECURE PETROL STATIONS. Following the cold-blooded killing of attendants at a petrol station in Naivasha, Robert Njung’e says this calls for the urgent safety measures to ensure this does not happen again. One, the owners of petrol stations should build proper entry and exit points, complete with manned steel gates. “This is to minimise the grave risk the attendants face and cases of criminals fleeing at high speed without paying after having their tanks filled.”


Have a secure day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 5 March 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. Africa being a continent where the rule of law is something alien and some people are untouchable, the hullabaloo about Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni endorsing harsh anti-gay legislation is much ado about nothing, claims Silas Nyambok. “In Uganda, prostitution is illegal, but that has not stopped the oldest profession from thriving, especially in the towns. And, after all, Museveni himself came to power through a military coup, which is not just illegal, but treasonable.” His contact is ogutawinyo@yahoo.com.

********

BLATANT IMPUNITY. The ODM election fiasco is a sad chapter in the supposedly newly found democratic space, remarks Kanyi Gioko. That goons could descend on the polling room at Kasarani, Nairobi, and smash voting materials in the full glare of national TV is shameful, indeed, he notes, appalled at the blatant disregard for law and order. “It was evident from the onset that things were not going well.” The people’s will, he adds, was trampled upon in that moment of madness. His contact is kgioko@gmail.com.

********

STALLED PROJECTS. Could Transport Cabinet secretary Michael Kamau or Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero shed some light on what has become of one of the major infrastructure projects in the capital? Dr Omija TB, who regularly uses Mombasa Road, has noted that the construction of footbridges at City Cabanas and the General Motors plant has stalled. He would also like to know why it is “taking too long to complete the City Cabanas section of the Eastern Bypass”. His contact is olootb@yahoo.com.

********

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS. The contractor laying fibre-optic cables for Safaricom, GMT Otieno moans, dug a deep trench across the road behind my house on Sixth Parklands Avenue, but failed to fill it up properly, leaving a 12-inch wide hole. “Whenever motor vehicles pass, there is always a bang, which interferes with my sleep. Can Safaricom, the contractor, or Nairobi City County have it done properly to enable me to sleep peacefully?” urges Otieno, whose contact is gmtottieno@gmail.com.

********

JOB WELL DONE. Having forked out more than Sh400,000 in a bid to eliminate cat and dog urine smells in her house in Nairobi, and failed miserably, an expatriate, Brindle Lowe, was on the edge of despair. But the situation, she reports, changed rather dramatically in her household when she got to know about a cleaning company and decided to try it out. “They came up with the remedy at a reasonable cost and did a very good job.” Her contact is brindlelowe@gmail.com.

********

DISMAL PERFORMACE. Whenever Kenyan football teams play against their counterparts from other parts of Africa, the results are always depressing, moans Thomas Yebei, alluding to the weekend defeats of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards in continental matches. His conclusion, he says, is that there is no soccer talent to talk about in Kenya, adding: “We could just be the India of Africa, whose football team continuously records dismal results internationally despite a massive investment.” His contact is tomyebei@yahoo.com.

Have a skilful day, won’t you!

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

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 4 March 2014

PUNISH THESE HOOLIGANS. During most of February, national attention was on the campaigns and preparations for the ODM elections, remarks Ruth Gituma, adding, however, that the nagging question has been whether the country is ripe for true democracy. As the rival camps ratcheted up the tempo, she says, there were signs that trouble was looming and it was only a matter of time before violence broke out. The goons captured on camera disrupting the elections at Kasarani, she demands, must be identified and punished.” Her contact is ruthmuhiuha@yahoo.com.

********

ELECTION MESS. The ODM leadership should have hired the IEBC to conduct its national elections to avoid the shame it suffered on Friday, says J.M. Mwangi. But recalling party leader Raila Odinga’s frequent calls for the sacking of top IEBC officials for allegedly messing up last year’s General Election, Mwangi is eager to see what action the former Prime Minister will take against his own party’s elections board. “ODM should look inside its house before blaming imaginary enemies out there.” His contact is jm_mwangi2@yahoo.com.

********

CASE FOR NIGHT TRAVEL. Though he appreciates the efforts being made to curb the carnage on the roads, Mombasa resident Robert Muge has reservations about the ban on night bus travel as he is convinced that “it is such a huge waste”. Says he: “While I support the measures to curb the needless deaths on our roads, I believe it is time to review and take the necessary steps to expedite the return of night bus travel. A lot of opportunities, resources, time, and money are being missed or wasted through delays in travel.” His contact is muge.robert@gmail.com.

********

AHEAD OF THE PACK. Amiable Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, who is generally acknowledged to be running well ahead of his counterparts in initiating crucial projects, is in a big race against poverty, which he considers to be his greatest competitor, notes Victor Avisa. He wishes the other governors, senators, and MPs could emulate Mutua’s example instead of being fixated with the elections expected be held in 2017. “Kenyans are eagerly waiting for them to perform.” His contact is vavisa@gsmsystems.com.

********

STOP THE TALK. The best way for Africans to deal with the problem of homosexuality is simply to avoid talking about it in public forums, says E. Munene. Discussing it in Parliament, he warns, is likely to elicit strong reactions and condemnation, and put the country in the line of fire from the Western governments and donors promoting it. This is bound to have serious consequences such as the cancellation of aid, as has happened to Uganda. “Also, talking openly about gayism only makes the people curious to find out more.” Munene’s contact is munene.e@mail.com.

********

GET SMALLER GUNS. The big guns police carry can be a handicap in the fight against crime, says Mungai Kihanya. “I know that small, but powerful guns are available. So, why do our police have big rifles while on patrol? They are so heavy and clumsy that the officers can hardly run after even a petty thief. The bigger challenge is for those who escort cash-in-transit vehicles. If attacked, they can’t aim and shoot while seated in the chase car. They have to stop, get out and shoot! Can’t police get smaller guns?” His contact is mkihanya@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

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 3 March 2014

IS IT A COINCIDENCE?

Can Equity Bank investigate why its ATMs tend to break down at the end of the month?

Patrick Ikaale asks. In the past three months, he reports, the ATM at the Loitokitok branch has ceased to function just when salaries are paid, forcing customers to queue for hours for their money or travel to other towns.

“Can management assure us that this is not deliberately done so that we can go to the agents or withdraw money over the counter?”

His contact is Tel 0727683183 or patrickikaale@gmail.com.

**************************************************************************************************
STOP THE DECEPTION

While Airtel Kenya is always quick at enrolling people into special subscriptions, discontinuing them is never easy, moans Bonface Mwanzia.

According to him, the special offers are just a ploy to earn easy money. “They do not advertise how to unsubscribe or deactivate connection to special codes.”

On February 26, customer care assured him he had been unsubscribed, but he is still receiving football news alerts, with Sh5 docked off for each.

His contact is Tel 0789768874 or bonmwanzia@gmail.com.

**************************************************************************************************
AIRTEL ANSWER THIS

Airtel should simply do away with its Zawadi customer loyalty programme if it cannot sustain it, subscriber David Motari says.

“Being a loyal customer and keen to accumulate reward points, I have tried and failed because the programme has been ‘under maintenance’ without a word from the service provider. Honestly, why come up with something that can’t be sustained?”

But even more disappointing, he adds, is Airtel’s failure to communicate with its customers.

His contact is dmots2005@yahoo.com.

**************************************************************************************************
PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE

The clearance of goods from the port of Mombasa is being hampered by unofficial checks and delays, says R. Hood, writing from Nottingham in the UK.

If President Kenyatta’s directive to speed up the process is not being heeded, he adds, then perhaps the military should be deployed to ensure the smooth passage of the goods and trucks.

“This must be done to ensure that the President’s order is adhered to. It is that simple!”

His contact is grant.england@live.co.uk.

**************************************************************************************************
DANGEROUS MANOEUVRES

Overloaded trucks and buses crisscrossing Mombasa Road between Mlolongo and Athi River pose a grave danger to motorists, their passengers and even pedestrians, warns Joseph Musyoki.

The deadly manoeuvres, he adds, occur along the 20-kilometre stretch, with police in patrol cars watching almost helplessly, when they are expected to stem the mayhem.

Most of the lorry drivers, he claims, do so to evade the weighbridge at Mlolongo.

For the details, his contact is joeaffli@gmail.com.

**************************************************************************************************
CHANGING TIMES

Gone for good, it seems, are the days when the plush Lavington suburb west of Nairobi’s city centre was a quiet and scenic neighbourhood that many dreamt of moving to.

Today, Wanjiru Akinyi says she lives at the mercy of clubs that play deafening music daily from about 7pm, way past midnight.

“My five-year son can hardly sleep and I am now at my wit’s end. Where is Nema when one needs help?

I have tried calling and emailing, with no luck.” Her contact is wanjiru.akinyi@gmail.com.

Have a peaceful day, won’t you!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

ERA OF TITLES? Epochs are defined by the technology used, notes X. N. Iraki, citing the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages. However, he adds, the current era should just be defined as the Age of Titles.

“Kenyans have become obsessed with titles. Someone once told me: ‘Meet my wife, Engineer Jane’. I have also been corrected while addressing people: ‘Please, I am Dr or Engineer so and so’.

Why do we overuse titles such as Dr Rev Prof so and so or Dr Porojo, PhD? Is it to intimidate fellow Kenyans?” His contact is xniraki@gmail.com.

**********

INCRIMINATING PHRASE: Near both the British High Commission and the Israeli Embassy in the Upper Hill and Community areas of Nairobi respectively, there are heavily manned roadblocks, with clear signs saying, “Friendly police check”, notes Maina Muchara.

He wonders whether this could be an official admission by the police that their other checks on highways and other places are not friendly.

Maina wishes Inspector-General David Kimaiyo could shed some light on this. His contact is mmuchara@adjunct.usiu.ac.ke

**********

ALL ABOUT THE MONEY: As debate rages on what powers governors should be allowed to exercise as guaranteed in the Constitution, with Senators and Members of the National Assembly reportedly determined to claw back on these in the ongoing fight for supremacy, George Morara says that it is actually all about who controls the money.

He warns: “The attempt by the MPs to gain control of the money that should be in the hands of governors is like taking meat from one hyena and passing it over to another.” His contact is innocentgeorge.m.ongaga@wmich.edu

**********

COSTLY NEGLIGENCE: The works for the extension of the sewerage system to Nairobi’s northern outskirts has been a source of serious problems, especially for the residents of Githurai 44 , says George Mwas.

On Ngumba Road, at the Supersonic and Mulika Mwizi matatu stages, he adds, the contractor left a huge uncovered hole, which unscrupulous young people have taken advantage of, stealing water for sale to residents.

As a result, for nearly a month now, the people have not had any water in their taps. For details, his contact is Tel 0786342509 ormkaringa08@gmail.com

**********

EXPLAIN CONTRADICTION: Businesswoman Doreen Aliaro wants Nairobi City county government to confirm whether or not traders are still expected to renew their annual business permits by March 31, under the new county governance system.

Since the installation of the city county government, Doreen adds, some officials have been harassing and extorting money from traders, mentioning a notice published in the papers by the country secretary last year.

“So, which one should override the other?” she asks. Her contact is doreen2002ke@yahoo.com

**********

DIGITAL HEADACHE: The computerisation of the system of filing annual tax returns, though a good idea, has an elderly couple rather worried.

Says Hasu Crags: “My husband, who is 87, files his tax returns manually every year. His income is all taxed at source via withholding tax. He is not computer literate. I am 67, also not computer literate and in extremely ill health. How do we file our returns now? The Kenya Revenue Authority needs to know that some taxpayers are old and not computer literate. How do they deal with this?”

Her contact is hcraggs@gmail.com

**********

SAVE US THE CHAGRIN: Organisers of the Rhino Challenge need not go out of Nairobi for their annual event because there is an ideal location within Nairobi, where they can experience the same wild thrills, says Caroline Wangeshi Kamau, tongue-in-cheek, of course, appalled at the poor condition of the roads in the neighbourhood.

One such “ideal spot”, she adds, is bang on Masaba Road, at Upper Hill, which is full of craters and gulleys filled with nauseating raw sewage. “Who will come to our rescue?” asks Caroline, whose contact is cksheshi@yahoo.com.

Have an spectacular day, won’t you!

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 1 March 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

JUSTICE DELAYED. The promises by the Judiciary to speed up the delivery of justice do not amount to much, it seems. Nairobi resident Emily Chepkorir is frustrated about a court case that has dragged on at the Makadara Law Court. The matter should have been heard on October 31, but was put off. Last Thursday, it was put off again. “Cases are postponed even three times after sitting for three hours or more without any activity. Is there justice in this?” For the details, her contact is emily@braeside.ac.ke.

********

CITY POTHOLES. Could the Nairobi City County government be waiting for the dilapidated Doonholm road to degenerate further into a garden, as has happened before, necessitating its reconstruction? asks a disgusted Ben Maina. The numerous potholes and muddy patches the residents have to contend with daily, he adds, are the cause of the never-ending traffic jams and also make it easier for carjackers to strike, as motorists slow down. “A quick patch-up job is needed to improve the traffic flow,” pleads Ben, whose contact is ben.maina@ymail.com.

********

LIQUOR STORE. There is a container kiosk at the corner of Mkapa and Muthithi roads at Westlands, Nairobi, “which is open all the time, stocks and sells alcoholic drinks”, claims local resident Raju Raja. According to him, “there is always a crowd of people buying and drinking alcohol at the kiosk, even as early as 6.15am”. But what he finds even more intriguing is the fact that the kiosk is less than a kilometre from Parklands Police Station. Could the Liquor Licensing Board have cleared it? he wonders.

********

TRAFFIC JAM. Breaking his long silence, once regular contributor Omija TB says he has, after some serious observation, figured out the real cause of the perennial traffic jams at several sections on Mombasa Road, Nairobi. These are City Cabanas, the spot near General Motors, and at Belle Vue in Nairobi South ‘C’. The seemingly never-ending snarl-ups, he adds, are “caused by human traffic”, and its genesis is the many people often trying to cross the busy highway at those places. His contact is olootb@yahoo.com.

********

KENYANS IN JAIL. Following his recent complaint about the plight of fellow Kenyans being held in Saudi Arabian jails on trumped-up charges, including allegedly being in that country illegally, after their passports are impounded by their employers, Peter Njuguna is happy that something is finally being done about it. On February 20, he adds, a group of women arrived in Nairobi after being released from jails in Riyadh. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must now ensure that all are freed,” he pleads. His contact is pnjuguna@gmail.com.

Have a free day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 28 February 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

EXPENSIVE CHANGE. The introduction of new motor vehicle number plates with “advanced security features” was long overdue, says Joe Wainaina. However, Joe is not amused about the decision to require all vehicle owners to pay Sh2,000 for the number plate. “This is exploiting the vehicle owners, who paid for the existing plates.” But even if the people will be willing to buy the new plates, he is not convinced that the “current inefficient bureaucracy” can achieve this by December. His contact is jyninea@yahoo.co.uk.

********

NOTHING TO CELEBRATE. The Tanzanian authorities’ announcement that Kenyan tour operators will now be allowed to drop off tourists in one of the towns near the border is nothing to celebrate, says James Makau Nzioka. This, he adds, will not alter the skewed arrangement in favour of Tanzanian operators. “Their drivers are allowed to go into our national reserves and parks and even drive tourists to the airports. Why the double standards? We should just continue taking the visitors to the border. His contact is makaun@iconnect.co.ke.

********

MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE. While appreciating the great service to the poor that the government has done by providing free primary school education, Alnashir Walji is pained to note that there are still hordes of destitute children begging for alms in the streets of Nairobi and other big towns. He wishes the authorities and child welfare organisations could get these young people off the streets, rehabilitate and enrol them in schools to avoid swelling the numbers of illiterates in the country. His contact is alnashirdwalji@yahoo.com.

********

IN THE DARK. The residents of Bondeni in Ngong, on Nairobi’s southern outskirts, have been getting a rather raw deal from Kenya Power, with the area having become synonymous with blackouts, moans Daniel Njoroge. On being informed about a power failure, he adds, technicians are always sent to the area to rectify the problem, but after a day or two, it occurs again. Early this week, they had a power failure that lasted three days. “Can the engineer-in-charge come up with a permanent solution to this problem?” His contact is dnjoroge@consultant.com.

********

OPPOSING VIEWS. Calling homosexuality “an abomination that is forbidden in the Bible and the Koran” and also in the tradition African moral teachings, Thomas Yebei says he simply cannot understand the Western countries’ obsession with it. Similarly, he cannot understand their rabid opposition to polygamy, “which is largely practised in Africa,” but is seen in the West as “backward and having no place in the modern world”. His recommendation? “The West should stay with its homosexuality as we remain with our polygamy.” His contact is tomyebei@yahoo.com.

********

POVERTY OF LEADERSHIP. Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney’s new weekly salary of an equivalent of Sh42 million, Daniel Njaga says, confirms just how “very poor we Kenyans are”. What a footballer in the UK Premier League earns, he explains, can underwrite the Kenyan President’s pay for a whole two years. “This is so, yet our leaders and their Ugandan counterparts are more concerned with homosexuality and miniskirts. Talk of poverty of leadership or is it leadership of poverty?” His contact is daniel.njaga@gmail.

Have a leading day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 27 February 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

VEHICLE SECURITY. The new generation motor vehicle number plates will be a most welcome relief from the existing eyesores, says Michael Odiyo. However, Michael would like to see more done to enhance the security of vehicles and their owners. A good start, he says, would be to issue different number plates for the various classes, such as saloons, pick-ups, trucks, or vans. “The chips to be embedded should have special codes that uniquely identify the class of vehicle instead of registering vehicles in the counties.” His contact is michael.odiyo@gmail.com.

********

GHOST WORKERS. Frequent statements by Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Planning and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru about the supposed existence of ghost workers, some people earning more than one salary, and others being paid while in their graves are much ado about nothing really, remarks Agatha Kazungu. “If they are so sure that this is the case, why can’t they take action? Instead, we’re told that some people can raise their salaries for three months before reverting to their old ones.”

********

PARTIAL ARBITRATORS. A proposal by senators to establish county development boards, which they will chair, is one Kennedy Butiko totally disagrees with. Kennedy is particularly concerned about how the senators can, after doing this, remain impartial arbitrators in cases where governors are accused of involvement in corrupt dealings. “They need to keep off the day-to-day running of the counties to retain their oversight mandate,” says Kennedy. His contact is kennedy.butiko@yahoo.com.

********

THUGS IN UNIFORM. Watching the operations of members of the City Inspectorate, one would be forgiven for mistaking these for incidents of robbery with violence, charges Gabriel Kilonzo. On 21 January, at 11.30am at the junction of Karen and Marula roads, he reports “some of the thugs in uniform pounced on my driver, who had parked by the roadside to answer a phone call, bundled him onto their breakdown vehicle, and towed the car to Dagoretti. He was then slapped with a Sh8,500 charge. His contact is Tel 0724674707 or gngunza@yahoo.com.

********

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. The upcoming ODM national elections have been overhyped, remarks Juma Ogai, adding that the real truth is that most ordinary Kenyans do not care much about political parties. “Raila Odinga is ODM, just as Uhuru Kenyatta is TNA, William Ruto, URP, and Kalonzo, WDM. Whether Ababu Namwamba or Agnes Zani becomes the ODM secretary-general is less important than what Raila thinks. Without Raila, Uhuru, Ruto, and Kalonzo their parties will simply disintegrate.” His contact is jumaogai@gmail.com.

********

ROAD CONSTRUCTION RECORD. This could just be a record of sorts as far as road construction is concerned. According to Anne Ngenye, the tarmacking of the 40-kilometre Tawa to Kyambalasi road through Kikima in Mbooni, Makueni County, which started in 2007, has yet to be completed. With only half of the project done so far, she wonders whether it will take a total of 14 years to complete the entire job. Her contact is angenye@gmail.com.
 
Have a complete day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 25 February 2014

POWERING THE LAPTOPS. Has the government factored into the budget for the school laptops project money for the purchase of electricity generators, given the frequent power interruptions in many parts of the country? asks Taabu Tele. With most of the schools in the rural areas not connected to the national grid, he adds, failure to charge the laptops will mean no lessons. Lack of a reliable power back-up, he warns, will see the laptop project handicapped even before it is launched. His contact is taabu.tele@outlook.com.

********

NOISY NUISANCE. After a long day at work, the last thing Nairobi resident Kyalo Muasya expects is to have his eardrums assailed by the noise in matatus in the name of music. Sadly, this is what he must endure every evening, and it is not peculiar to his route. Pleas to the drivers to lower the volume, he adds, invariably fall on deaf ears and many commuters will just take the nuisance lying down. “Where is Nema to enforce the law on loud music in matatus or ban it altogether like in Tanzania?” His contact is szczalo@gmail.com.

********

SHAME OF BAD ROADS. Thika Town has some of the worst roads among all the urban centres, says Ceasarine Nkatha, disappointed that instead of fixing them properly, all the Kiambu County leadership is interested in is increasing taxes and introducing new levies. Where some attempt has been made, it has been poor, as the workers just poured soil into potholes, which easily got washed away even after a drizzle. “We need a permanent solution to this problem,” she demands. Her contact is ceasarine.nkatha@gmail.com.

********

UNFAIR PUNISHMENT. On February 19, Nairobi resident Dorothy Shivere says, her water supply (account No. 1314007) was disconnected despite having a credit of Sh933 and always being punctual in paying her bills. She called customer care and was promised that she would be reconnected the following day, but nothing happened. By February 24, she still had no water. “What am I supposed to do? Why should I be punished for doing the right thing?” Her contact is khakayidee@yahoo.com.

********

DELAYED DOCUMENTS. Could there be a cartel at the Motor Vehicle Registrar’s department at the Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters in Times Tower, Nairobi, which deliberately delays the processing of applications for logbooks and other documents for its own gain? Geoffrey Njenga asks. In October last year, Geoffrey says, he applied for a change of ownership in his logbook, paying the requisite charges. To date, he has not received it. His contact is geoffnjenga@yahoo.com.

********

CRIME WAVE. Who will curb the mounting crime rate at Uthiru 87 on the western outskirts of Nairobi? asks Miriam Kimura, adding that “gunshots rend the air almost daily”. With crime more rampant in Kiambu County than in Machakos, which recently acquired over 100 police patrol cars, Miriam feels it is the former that needs more such vehicles. “Security personnel are doing their best, but are handicapped by lack of transport. Governor William Kabogo should address this issue.” Her contact is kimura.miriam@gmail.com.
 
Have a secure day, won’t you!

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

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 25 February 2014

CONSERVING HERITAGE. The return to Kenya of the prized Mijikenda carvings, vigango, after years of negotiation with authorities in the United States is a big triumph in efforts to conserve the country’s heritage, which should be stepped up, says Dave Mungai. The vigango, he adds, are among the hundreds of treasured artefacts smuggled out of Kenya and now on display in US and British museums. “They include the two unmaned lions known as the Man Eaters of Tsavo that almost brought the building of the railway to a halt.” His contact is mungaidave2@gmail.com.

********

LOST IN THE POST ? At the beginning of September last year, Sharmi Balla sent a parcel to Ahmedabad, India, at the post office at Sarit Centre, Nairobi (No. Cp000598218), and was assured it would take three months to reach the destination. To date, it has not been delivered and on enquiring about it, Sharmi was advised to fill in a form, with an assurance that efforts would be made to trace the parcel. “It is now six months and I just hope it is not lost.” Her contact is Tel 0733 641079 or sharmi@soulonfire.org.

********

TECHNOLOGY TO STOP CRIME. At the height of the revelations some time back that inmates at Kamiti Maximum Prison and other jails were using mobile phones to plan and abet crimes outside, D. Wanderi recalls an assurance by a Safaricom official that the signal could be scrambled to block them from making calls. With the latest upsurge in prisoners’ illegal use of phones, he wonders why the technology cannot be deployed to avert the crimes, including the hijackings being co-ordinated by prisoners. His contact is Tel 0733746403 or wanderix@yahoo.com.

********

STOP KILLER DRIVERS. The ban on night travel, it appears, has not done anything to correct the antics of the deadly wayward drivers. While travelling on the Mombasa highway between Buchuma and Mariakani, Elizabeth Chater says she saw six buses belonging to one company “being driven in a very dangerous manner, far too fast and overtaking despite oncoming traffic. With companies such as this one being allowed to operate, the carnage on our roads will never end.” For the details, her contact is chater.elizabeth@gmail.com.

********

PINCH OF SALT. The trouble with the much-praised Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua is that he comes across as a lone ranger, who is not interested in working with his fellow leaders, notes Job Momanyi. “While many are mesmerised by his achievements since taking office a year ago, the immense media publicity about it should be taken with a pinch of salt. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the race has just begun. He may be the pacesetter among the governors, but not necessarily the eventual winner.” Job’s contact is jobmomanyi@yahoo.com.

********

SELFLESS SERVICE. For his heroine of the week, Joe Mungai has picked national women’s volleyball star Mercy Moim, who put aside a big personal tragedy for a while to do duty for her country. “Coach David Lung’aho had wanted to rest Mercy following the death of her mother, but this extraordinary woman did something extraordinary. She declined and went on to play all the world cup qualifying matches in Nairobi. The government should cater for her mother’s funeral expenses to reciprocate this great, selfless gesture.” His contact is mungai6969@gmail.com.

Have an exemplary day, won’t you!

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

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The cutting edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

UNACCEPTABLE DICTATORSHIP. Some political leaders seem overly obsessed with the notion that whatever they say, want, or propose must be readily accepted by their followers and others as the final position, notes Wambua Musembi.

“They think the Judiciary is an irritating irrelevance that ought to be scrapped altogether.” To Wambua, this smacks of dictatorship, which has no place in today’s society. “The Judiciary enforces the rule of law and checks excesses.” His contact is fwmusembi@gmail.com.

-------------

RAMPANT CARJACKING. Carjackings are rampant on Nairobi’s northwestern outskirts, especially in the fast-growing Ruaka township, says an alarmed Jefferson Muriithi. “Almost every week, we hear of two or three cases in Ruaka and its environs, and this has been going on for the past five years and yet no culprit has been arrested. The gangsters often pounce as motorists wait for their gates to be opened for them to enter their compounds. Police boss David Kimaiyo should intervene as this has reached crisis levels.” His contact is gmjeffer@yahoo.com.

-------------

WHY THE DELAY? Something is amiss at the Registrar of Motor Vehicle’s logbook section at the Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters in Times Tower, Nairobi, remarks Bernard Gaitho.

He applied for change of details in his logbook in early November, last year, and he is still waiting, and this despite numerous visits to their offices in the city. As a result, Bernard adds, he can neither apply for insurance cover nor have the car valued. The car registration is KBA 741E, and his contact, mbirewanjiku@gmail.com.

-------------

SLEEPING ON THE JOB. Writing from Ukunda on the South Coast, local resident Theodor Wolfgang asks: “Does the Postmaster-General know that a letter sent from Mombasa to Nairobi takes at least eight days?”

The posts boss, he adds, should realise that thanks to SMS and email, not many people write letters these days. But empathising with those who must still send letters, Theodor concludes that “somebody is sleeping on the job”. Still clinging to his snail post, his contact is P.O. Box 855 – 80400, Ukunda.

---------------

UNHAPPY FLIER. Njeri Gachathi, who flew Etihad Airways for the first time on Sunday, February 16 (EY 0642), did not like the experience. Says she: “Not only was I forced to buy a return ticket I didn’t need,  one of the staffers was rude and unhelpful.

And when I posted my complaint on the Etihad Kenya Facebook page, it was deleted and I was blocked from the page.” At the check-in, she claims, she was kept waiting so long that she did not have time to repack her luggage and was surcharged $200. Her reservation code is NOQRBG and her contact, rng6e@virginia.edu.

----------------

BEYOND RENT. Nairobi resident S. Dayaa has been stunned to note that every time he is late by a few days with his rent, his landlord promptly disconnects his power and water supply. Ideally, the landlord should have nothing to do with his electricity as he pays Kenya Power for the service.

Similarly, only the city water company has the right to interfere with his water supply. “The last time this happened, I was out of town and the food in the fridge went bad. Where can I seek help?” asks Dayaa, whose contact is sdayaa70@gmail.com.
 
Have a logical day, won’t you!

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

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 23 February 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

LET VOTERS USE IDS: The decision to enable East African citizens to use their national identity cards to freely travel to any of the countries is good news, indeed, says Churchill Amatha. But Ugandans who do not have a national ID, he adds, will are also allowed to use their voter’s cards. “These are recognised as valid documents for identifying people. Similarly, to avoid wasting money, Kenyans should be allowed to vote using their IDs. Can the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission take this up and ensure that it is effected soon?” His contact is amatha@hotmail.co.uk.

DECENTRALISE COUNTY SERVICES: Nairobi City County government is in dire need of funds to meet its various obligations, but it is not easy for people wishing to pay their rates and charges for services at the City Hall to do so, moans Bernard Kavoo. He is, therefore, appealing to Governor Evans Kidero and the county executive in charge of finance to streamline this. Says he: “We spend a lot of time in traffic jams, and as if that is not enough, we queue for hours at the cash office. How about decentralising payment centres?” His contact is benard.m.kavoo@mdlz.com.

GONE TO THE DOGS: Nakuru Town has degenerated into a shocking state of decay since the advent of the county government, claims Charles Gitau. This, he adds, is a horrible situation for a town that once seemed ready for a take-off to become one of the country’s fastest growing urban centres. “Today, hawkers occupy nearly all the verandahs on the congested main streets, with roads turned into markets. Street lights last worked over a year ago and taps in the residential estates have dried up.” His contact is gitaucg@yahoo.com.

NEGLECTED FOR TOO LONG: For over 20 years now, the Banana-Raini Road in Kiambu County has been totally neglected, earning the flattering nickname of ‘Mombasa’, perhaps thanks to the little swampy ocean in a section of the road, says David Mwangi. Whenever attempts at repairs have been made in the past, they have been so shoddy that they have never lasted more than two months. The locals, he adds, are suffering the consequences of a combination of neglect and incompetence. His contact is david.mck.dm@gmail.com.

PATCH UP ROAD: A resident of Nairobi’s Eastlands, Denis Mutundu, can’t wait to see the planned, lofty and elaborate multi-million-shilling reconstruction and expansion of Outer Ring Road that is expected to change the face of the poorly planned area begin. But for now, he must contend with the numerous potholes and muddy patches that are blame for the never-ending traffic jams. However, he hopes that some patch-ups could be done soon to ease the traffic flow. His contact is denumut@gmail.com.

WORSHIPPERS OFFENSIVE: While he has nothing against people worshipping their God, Jefferson Onguti says what is happening in Kericho Town is a shamefully loud racket. A number of houses of worship in the residential have been fitted with roof top loudspeakers that unleash a cacophony daily from 5a.m. to 5p.m., and sometimes up to 9p.m. “Where is Nema? Our children can hardly enjoy their sleep. The big churches do not disturb us and yet they have many followers.” For the details, his contact is jorina14@live.com.

BLOWING THE WHISTLE: The owners of trucks in Nairobi are lucky if their drivers and turn boys are not among the scores who, almost daily, take their vehicles to a “milking spot” on Kangundo Road in the Eastlands, says a whistle blower. He has been watching the illegal business for quite a while now, and has often counted up to 10 trucks arriving within an hour, he adds. But quite intriguing for him is that police cars pay regular visits to the “siphoning den”. His contact is dontipis@yahoo.com.

Have an honest day, won’t you!

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

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 22 February 2014

DARK ROAD. As soon as the construction of Nairobi’s Eastern Bypass, up to City Cabanas, was completed, the contractor put up neat street lights on Airport North Road, all the way to the roundabout just after Tuskys Supermarket at Embakasi, says Mark Odeny. However, the lights worked for only two weeks and what once a magnificent road at night is now pitch-dark, and a haven for muggers. Over to you, Governor Evans Kidero. Mark’s contact is odeny17@gmail.com.

********

SOAP DEBATE. The manufacturers of the numerous medicated soaps in the market, in an attempt to lure potential customers, Mungai Kihanya notes, often claim that doctors have recommended the use of their products. But a skeptical Mungai says this cannot be true as all the dermatologists he has consulted have advised him never to use those soaps. “They all insist on using un-medicated and un-perfumed soaps. Which doctors are these manufacturers talking about?” His contact is mkihanya@yahoo.com.

********

M-PESA DILEMMA. On realising that he had sent some Sh2,550 by M-Pesa to the wrong number (transaction ref EP93JE460), Hillary Nandasaba called Safaricom, who reversed the transfer. But a while later, the unintended recipient called Safaricom, claiming that the money was payment for some service and it was again sent to him without consulting him. “They later advised me to report to the police, but I am disappointed that they could believe him and not me, the sender.” His contact is nandasaba83@gmail.com.

********

WASTING POWER. Nothing hurts Mohamed Bagha as much as having to witness the wanton misuse of public resources. A frugal chap, Mohamed is terribly angry that for several days on Siaya Road at Kileleshwa, Nairobi, the street lights have been left burning day and night, instead of being sychronised to work only when needed. Says he: “I feel pain when electricity goes to waste, just because someone is sleeping on the job and still gets paid a monthly salary.” His contact is bagha.mohd@gmail.com.

********

ILLEGAL BILLBOARDS. For the second time in the past one year, Daniel Njaga says, he has noted many billboards on Nairobi-Nakuru highway marked for demolition, adding: “It’s good to enforce the law, yes. But I wonder whether all these people are ignorant or defiant — or is it the KenHA that doesn’t have clear guidelines on erecting signs on the highway? And some of these are rather expensive, having been made of concrete.” His contact is daniel.njaga@gmail.com.
  
Have a proper day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 20 February 2014

ASTOUNDING EXTRAVAGANCE. The revelations by the Controller of Budget and others about the heavy spending habits of some of the 47 governors on local and foreign trips and allowances at the expense of development are astounding, says Andayi Mushenye. Keenly following the developments unfolding back home from his base in Texas, US, Andayi says he can now understand why the governors are so vehemently opposed to the Senate’s oversight of their operations. His contact is mushenye@gmail.com.

********

WHY THE CONTRAST? Within a relatively short period of time, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has unveiled hundreds of police cars and ambulances to be distributed to the various townships in the county, and Peter Kanyugo cannot help but ask what his counterparts elsewhere are doing for their people. He poses: “Could he be getting a higher allocation of funds or are the other counties doomed with governors who cannot start even a small project? We should start agitating for a recall of the failures.” His contact is pkanyugo@yahoo.com.

********

SECURITY REASONS. A footbridge cannot be built on the Thika Superhighway near or outside the General Service Unit headquarters in Nairobi for security reasons, says Richard Mutevi. The GSU offices and other premises, he adds, are part of a vital national security installation that needs full protection. According to him, such a bridge would give intruders, including potentially dangerous characters, a good view of the home of the elite security unit. His contact is mutevu.richard@yahoo.com.

********

PROTECT KENYANS. Unlike Ethiopia and the Philippines, which evacuated their citizens from Saudi Arabia, where they were being persecuted, Peter Njuguna is disappointed that the Kenyan authorities have been rather casual in their response to the problem. “Some of the Kenyans in jail had their identification documents seized by their former employers before they were arrested and charged with being in the country illegally. I know two women who were arrested in Riyadh.” His contact is pnjuguna21@gmail.com.

********

REPAIR ROAD. The dilapidated Brookside Drive right from the Lower Kabete Road junction at Westlands, Nairobi, is largely to blame for the traffic gridlock during peak times, says GMT Ottieno. Another source of the frequent snarl-ups, he adds, is the Sixth Parklands Avenue, off Limuru Road, “which is also in dire need of repairs”. He wonders whether the bosses at the Kenya Urban Roads Authority and the staff ever see the appalling state of these roads. His contact is Tel 0723440999 or gmtottieno@gmail.com.

********

SHAME ON YOU, DRIVERS. Motorists are often quick to blame the police for the seemingly endless traffic jams in Nairobi, but some of them are the biggest culprits, says Wangui Waite. On Friday, February 14, at about 5pm, she and other drivers were stuck at the City Mortuary roundabout for 20 minutes, “just because some selfish drivers would not give way because they were rushing to Valentine’s Day events”. But she is grateful to the motorist who came out of his car and within four minutes had helped clear the jam.
 
Have a disciplined day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 20 February 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

WHAT SHORTAGE? Farmers in the North Rift grain basket, Jesang Kitur says, have been shocked to hear Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei announce that the country is facing a shortage of 10 million bags of maize, yet the National Cereals and Produce Board is reluctant to buy the produce from them. Farmers in Lessos and Eldoret, she adds, have spent sleepless nights waiting for 50-kg bags to package the maize. “The situation has been aggravated by the current rains. We need the bags now!” Her contact is pjkitur@gmail.com.

********

IDENTIFICATION DILEMMA. Can the Kenya Commercial Bank explain to Stan Oduor why it does not accept the use of a “valid Kenyan passport” as an identification document when one seeks to open a bank account? Stan went to the KCB’s Ongata Rongai branch on Nairobi’s southern outskirts to open an account, but was turned away by the staff on producing his passport as they insisted on seeing his national identity card. “What is the reasoning behind this policy?” he asks. His contact is wuonleo@gmail.com.

********

HOLIDAY COACHING. Many schools in Machakos County have been openly defying the government ban on holiday tuition, claims Charles Mwongela, adding that headteachers continue to levy what is referred to as a “coaching fee”. In Kangundo sub-county, he adds, parents pay Sh280 per pupil for the holiday instruction. If the bosses at the Ministry of Education headquarters in Nairobi are interested in the details, Charles can be reached through email: carlos.mwonge@gmail.com.

********

PAINFUL ABSENCE. Just under a year since he left office, Joseph W. Ngugi says Othaya constituents are already missing their former long-serving MP, retired President Mwai Kibaki. “When he was in power, even though he didn’t come to Othaya Town that often, his presence was always felt. The town used to be clean, services in government offices, including the issuing of national identity cards, were fast, the roads didn’t have potholes, and we hardly experienced power blackouts.” His contact is mickeyngugi06@gmail.com.

********

TELEPHONE WOES. Mombasa resident Naseem Hatimali Bana was elated when Telkom Kenya technicians restored her landline, No 0412223151, on January 16. But it was up for hardly a month, as it ceased to function on February 8, and on writing to customer care was assured that it would be fixed within three days. Well, it is still out of order and Naseem fears that she could be in for a long wait again, as happened the last time when the phone was out of order for four months. Her more reliable contact is hnbana@gmail.com.

********

COMMON SENSE. Aren’t the experts at the Treasury aware of the common sense that by increasing tax on the Senator beer brand, which is meant for the low-income earners, fewer people will afford to buy and drink it, meaning less profit for East African Breweries? asks Elijah Chester Gakuo. And the consequences, he adds, will, of course, also be felt at the Kenya Revenue Authority as less tax will be remitted by the giant brewer. His contact is elish47@gmail.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, February 18, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 19 February 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

CHALLENGE. The newly opened 40-acre Machakos People’s Park, which has an amphitheatre, a miniature golf course, and a swimming pool that the county government hopes will bring in Sh100 million in earnings annually, is a commendable project, says Dave Mungai. This, he adds, should be a challenge to other governors, some of whom are already earning notoriety for stealing public funds, while others have introduced high fees and other levies for services, including funerals, to up their game as well. His contact is mungaidave2@gmail.com.

********

NEGLECTED. The once highly rated former town clerk John Gakuo, now the Nairobi City County government executive in charge of water, sanitation and environment, seems to have lost steam or gone into deep slumber in his new job, charges GMT Ottieno. “You only need to look at the flyovers at the National Museum, on Forest Road, Pangani, and the Globe Cinema to see what I mean. They are covered in rubbish that blocks storm drains. With the rains, the pools will be a nuisance. Aren’t these bridges supposed to be swept?” His contact is gmtottieno@gmail.com.

********

HEINEKEN MOMENT. Heineken East Africa boss Koen Morshuis, pitying Frederick Iraki, whose wallet was stolen at a popular bar in Hurlingham, Nairobi, is offering to help make up for the loss the best way he knows how. Says he: “We are happy to offer a case of cold Heineken for him to enjoy with his friends on his next visit to Sailors’ Pub. We believe that a Heineken moment should always be enjoyed to the fullest. This definitely did not happen due to the unfortunate incident Mr Iraki suffered.” His contact is koen.morshuis@heineken.com.

********

COSTLY DELAY. After trying for two days to repay his M-Shwari loan and continually receiving messages from Safaricom saying the service was experiencing delays and that he should try again after 10 minutes, Anthony Mugo was terribly frustrated, but the worst was to come. He adds: “I finally received a message indicating that my loan was overdue and had been rolled over to next month, which means paying more interest. Is someone trying to reap where he has not sown?” His contact is ammugo2003@gmail.com.

********

TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE. Nairobi’s Lang’ata Road has become a nightmare, with heavy traffic jams starting as early as 6am, moans David Jasondu. Part of the reason, he explains, is the diversion on the Southern Bypass next to Uhuru Gardens, but the other is the increasing population. “The mass exodus to Ongata Rongai has brought so much traffic to Lang’ata Road that even the new bypass and the interchanges will not clear the mess.” Jasondu is urging the authorities to open other routes to the city centre to ease pressure on Lang’ata Road.

ARTISTIC TOUCH. What is even more annoying about the demolition of the Sikh community monument in Kisumu Town is the brazen and thoughtless destruction of a beautiful piece of art, says Gathoni Kuria. This, to Gathoni, is the best proof that many Kenyans do not appreciate art. “The sculpture, which symbolised a woman worshipping, was a fine piece of art. It did not look like an idol and had added some artistic touch to the lakeside town.” Her contact is gathoni_kuria@yahoo.com.

Have an art-loving day, won’t you!

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

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 18 February 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

WRONG APPROACH. News that Kenya Breweries is about to stop producing a brand meant for low income earners because of high taxation is saddening indeed, moans Job Momanyi. Though the government needs to raise revenue, he adds, taxing companies out of business is not the way to do it. “This is sad, coming at a time when the economy needs to create more jobs and the poor are being discouraged from consuming illicit brews. The way to go is to enable businesses to thrive, not to stifle them with punitive measures.” His contact is jobmomanyi@yahoo.com.

********

ODD DISPARITY. Over the past several years, the cost of living has escalated, with the skyrocketing of prices of goods and services, says Peter Kiarie. “The cost of some commodities has doubled and others have trebled, while the prices of others, such as land, have quadrupled, taking a heavy toll on the ordinary Kenyans, whose income has not matched the inflation rate. But there are some items whose prices have generally remained constant, such as company shares and telephone call rates. Why the disparity?” asks Peter, whose contact is kiper17@yahoo.com.

********

WILL HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF? Frankie Frank is sceptical about the decision to buy laptops from India for the primary school project “because our recent experiences with investors from that country have not been pleasant”. He cites the collapsed Pan African Paper Mills, Kenya Petroleum Refineries, and most recently, Karuturi flower firm. “Also remember the Mahindra jeeps for the police, which were grounded before a year was over. Why not go for a reputable manufacturer like HP, even if it means adding a few more shillings?” His contact is frankie.frank2014@gmail.com.

********

LOVE COMES OF AGE. During this year’s Valentine’s Day, X.N. Iraki says, there were fewer women wearing red in Nairobi. He also noted that the queues of love-stricken people buying flowers were shorter than in previous years and that none were delivered by helicopter. “It is not that Kenyans have become less loving; they may have become more focused on the realities of life, from rearing children to making more money. That is a sign that Kenya is coming of age, a sign of modernism. Or what do others think?” His contact is xniraki@gmail.com.

********

IRRESPONSIBLE COMMENT. While condemning the demolition of a monument erected in Kisumu to commemorate a centenary of the Sikh community in the lakeside town, Alex Irungu made an irresponsible statement, says a disgusted Ezekiel Oganga. It is the claim that the lakeside people “revere Omieri, the serpent, and practise witchcraft”. Ezekiel is particularly upset about the attempt to stereotype all the residents of Kisumu as believing in witchcraft. “He should remove the log in his own eye before pointing at the speck in others’.” His contact is ogangae@gmail.com.

********

SHAME OF TRAFFIC JAMS. Traffic jams on the Thika Superhighway are making a mockery of the magnificent project built at a great cost to eliminate this and ensure a smooth flow of traffic all the time, remarks Evans Macharia. Having had a good look at it in search of a solution, Evans says the problem begins at the General Service Unit headquarters, partly due to the speed bumps at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies. “Why not put up a footbridge? The other spot is the old Nation House roundabout. Why not just remove it?”

Have a smooth-flowing day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 14 February 2014

INTOLERANCE. The demolition of a Sikh monument in Kisumu shows just how ignorant, insensitive and intolerant some Kenyans have become of one another’s religion and culture, remarks Alex Irungu. But he finds it ironical that the lakeside people have desecrated a religious monument “and yet they revere Omieri, the serpent and practise witchcraft, which is nothing but idol worship.” He hopes the culprits and their inciters will be dragged to court to deter similar actions. His contact is antolex2001@yahoo.com.

********

BILL DUE DATE. Nakuru resident Dave Ranger says his past two months’ bills for his December consumption were due on January 15 and 17. He was, therefore, surprised to note that the bills for February came due on the fourth and fifth days. “It would be nice to know why the disparities in the due date. Can the power utility explain to Dave why the shortened usage time period and “why not have fixed due dates month after month like other companies.” He expects a response through his email: 411hello@gmail.com.

********

OBEY THE LAW. Though protecting the rights of citizens abroad is part of the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this cannot apply where people get involved in “irresponsible behaviour and are arrested”, says press official Edwin Limo. Responding to a claim that the ministry “does not care much about Kenyans overseas”, Limo explains that Saudi Arabia has strong rules against the mingling of sexes, prostitution, and liquor consumption. “Therefore, the mission in Riyadh can only assist where it is possible.” The ministry’s contact is mfapress@mfa.go.ke.

********

BRAVO, ANTHONY. For really exemplary service, Harun K. Patel takes off his hat to Kenya Airways cabin crew member Anthony Kuria. Says Patel: “I recently travelled from Bombay to the JKIA on KQ203 and next to me was an elderly woman who was very ill as she was coming home after a major spine injury. Kuria assisted the woman, taking her to the toilet five times. He was helpful and mindful of her welfare and also of other passengers. Now, that is the pride of KQ. Keep up the great work, Anthony!” His contact is harunkpatel5@gmail.com.

********

LET THE WORK BEGIN. For the past 10 years, the people of Ting’ang’a in Kiambu County have had to put up with the agony of using their terribly dilapidated road, moans Karanja Gachichio. They were, therefore, quite thrilled to hear from Deputy President William Ruto during a visit on February 6, that the road would be recarpeted within the next three months. “In the spirit of the motto of his URP, ‘Kusema na Kutenda’, we look forward to seeing the work begin soon.” His contact is karanja@safenetinsurance.net.

********

REPAIR THIS ROAD. Last year, the road under the Nyali Bridge on the North Coast of Mombasa, Jean and Brian Elms recall, was given a comprehensive facelift using Cabro bricks at the bottom to make it even more solid. But early this year, enormous drainage pipes had to be installed to stop flooding in the Bombolulu area and, unfortunately, the road had to be dug up. However, no repairs have been done since, “leaving a muddy mess, which is not good for a road that has so much traffic.” For the details, they can be reached through elms@africaonline.co.ke.

********

Have a complete day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Cutting Edge - Thursday 13 February 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

TAXES AND PERFORMANCE. Under the Constitution promulgated in August 2010, the county governors are the holders of the most important position after the presidency and must, therefore, operate with the decorum and dignity attached to the office, says Michael Mburu. The governors, he adds, must realise that their actions in private and public will earn or lose them points daily. “They cannot, for instance, purport to be working hard by merely increasing all manner of taxes, and with no progress to show for it.” His contact is mburumk@yahoo.com.

********

STANDARDIZE ROAD BUMPS. What became of the talk of having standardised bumps erected on roads in residential areas and on highways? A resident of Nairobi’s Eastlands, Beatrice Kamwana, says she always feels the pain in her heart as her car goes over the huge bumps recently put up at Buru Buru shopping centre towards the Mutindwa junction on Outering Road because they are simply vehicle wreckers. “Who will help curb the damage to our cars?” asks Beatrice, whose contact is bettykams@gmail.com.

********

PERENNIAL HEADACHE. The rains are here again, with the inevitable traffic chaos and the horrendous flooding and damage to the supposedly well-designed roads, moans Anthony Sifuna Otoa. He adds: “It is no wonder that our seasonal roads are washed away, leaving potholes big enough to bury a dog in.” This, he argues, is a wake-up call to Governor Evans Kidero and his team, who only seem to be more interested in the increased revenue from raising the daily parking fee from Sh140 to Sh300. His contact is otoasifunaanthony@yahoo.com.

********

CURIOUS PHENOMENON. A resident of Akila 1 estate at Makadara, Nairobi, since 2004, George Githuka would like to know what connection there is between electricity supply and rain. Says he: “Every time there is even a light drizzle, our power goes off. And it only happens at Akila, as the surrounding estates never seen to experience any blackouts. Can Kenya Power engineers explain this curious phenomenon, or better still, fix it? Ten years is a long time for a company known for swift disconnections for non-payment of bills.” His contact is githukaman@yahoo.com.

********

BLAME IT ON THE RAIN. Suffering double punishment since the sudden downpours, Lilian Kuhora says, are her fellow women, whose grooming has been threatened, even as they also experience the flooding and traffic chaos. Many, she claims, did not know that the rains would come this early and, keen to look smart, had gone to hair salons to have “expensive weaves” fixed. “Now, all you seen in town are women with plastic bags, files, and some weird items on their heads whenever it rains.” Her contact is liliankuhora@gmail.com.

********

DIGITAL MOTHER TONGUE. With the policy requiring the teaching of primary school pupils in their mother tongue up to Standard Four, Paul Otieno now has his eyes on the preparations for the supply of laptops to the young one. He wonders whether the Indian company that has won the tender to supply the gadgets has been informed about the need to translate the computer programmes into vernacular, too, for the 42 or so ethnic groups. He quips: “I wonder what Microsoft Word will be called in my native tongue.” His contact is Paul.Otieno@dvn.com.


Have a smart day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 12 February 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

INVESTORS BEWARE. The goons who smashed a monument in Kisumu in the full glare of media cameras are giving the lakeside town a bad name, and this could have far-reaching consequences, warns Richard Kihara. “This is unfortunate in this era of stiff competition between counties. Who will be comfortable with investing in Kisumu if mobs can so easily destroy property for the flimsiest of reasons?” However, Richard is happy to note that Governor Jack Ranguma has vowed to track down and punish the culprits. His contact is richardkihara@ymail.com.

********

PUNISH THESE HOOLIGANS. The Kisumu County government must hunt down and punish all the hooligans who, in broad daylight, descended on and demolished the Sikh monument on a street in the town centre, urges Dave Tumbula. “This is the best opportunity for the county to demonstrate that impunity will not be tolerated and that there is a need to ensure harmony and peace among the diverse ethnic, racial, and religious communities living in the region. The vermin who shamelessly destroy what others have built must be made to pay for their sins.”

********

DEAD END. Taveta Town on the Kenya-Tanzania border is neglected, says Benny Ranjonne, citing stalled road projects. The Emali-Oloitokitok road, he adds, was completed in 2011 and looks great, but it reaches a dead end in Oloitokitok. Taita-Taveta Governor John Mruttu and his Kajiado counterpart, Dr David Nkedianye, he pleads, should source and pool resources and ensure that the Oloitokitok-Taveta Road is tarmacked. He says this will complement the Mwatate-Taveta Road financed by the African Development Bank. His contact is ranjonne@gmail.com.

********

FIX THIS ROAD. During the 25 years Sere Diakite has lived in Nairobi South ‘C’, he says, the two most constant things have been lack of water and bad roads. The road linking Five Star and Bandari estates, he adds, is “ just a bad joke”. He adds: “It ranges from too much dust from building materials flattened into the road to the rains that have made the place muddy. Four years since moving to Bandari Estate, and after numerous promises, there is still no road. Whoever is responsible for this should fix it.” His contact is sirez2003@gmail.com.

********

JUSTICE DELAYED. When her husband had a case at the Kibera Law Courts in Nairobi late last year, Njeri Karanja paid his cash bail, knowing very well that once the matter was over, she would immediately get a refund. He was finally acquitted on December 9, and 10 days later, Njeri duly filled in an application form and was promised that the money would be wired to her account within three weeks. This did not happen, and to rub salt into the wound, the file, No 3624/10, has gone missing. Her contact is karanjanjeri@nokiamail.com.

********

LOUSY SERVICE. After he bought a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone last December, Charles Mwangi, felt great about having his new gadget, until he found out that he could not perform any mobile banking transactions. He took the phone to Samsung’s service centre at Hilton Hotel, Nairobi, and four days later, it was still faulty. A rather bored attendant, he claims, casually told him to try their Westlands Centre. “I’ve now reverted to using my old phone.” His contact is crmwas@gmail.com.
 
Have a reliable day, won’t you!

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Cutting Edge - 11 February 2014

HELP THESE KENYANS. The Foreign Affairs Ministry does not care much about Kenyans overseas, especially when they get into trouble, charges Peter Njuguna. He claims he has contacted the ministry on behalf of Kenyans languishing in Saudi Arabian jails such as Malaz Prison in Riyadh since June last year, “most of them on false accusations”, but the principal secretary, Dr Karanja Kibicho, just keeps promising that they will look into the matter, but nothing happens. For the details, his contact is pnjuguna21@gmail.com.

********

LAND OF SCARCITY. Against the backdrop of the hunger and starvation ravaging the northwestern regions, Devere Mwangi says he has been thinking about the many bean bags he made while in primary school. “Our teacher would ask us to bring bean bags and we would boast about having the biggest. Today, it’s unlikely that any child would ask his mother to give him beans to make bags. What has changed our country from the land of plenty to one of scarcity?” His contact is devere_mwangi@hotmail.com.

********

WE'RE NOT THAT BAD. We’re not that bad. Nairobians are a pretty friendly lot, says Alnashir Walji, rejecting the popular belief that the residents of what was once fondly referred to as the City in the Sun are “stubborn or snobbish”. He adds: “They will lend you a helping hand in a crisis, politeness is their hallmark, and they have no scruples about queuing at the airport and in supermarkets. Save for the high crime rate, we could grow into a cosmopolitan society that would be the envy of many in the West.” His contact is alnashirdwalji@yahoo.com.

********

DISCRIMINATION. This year’s Form One selection has been unfair against candidates from private schools and yet their parents also pay the taxes that run the national high schools, moans Joanne Ndirangu. “Children who scored 219 marks in public schools have been admitted to national schools at the expense of their counterparts from private schools, with 350 marks or more. This is discrimination of the highest order. Something should be done about it.” Her contact is jonyawira@gmail.com.

********

NIGHTMARE IN THE DARK. A resident of Thika Town, Arthur Rubia, is upset that his neighbourhood has been without electricity for over a week now and this, despite reporting to the local Kenya Power office immediately the problem started. “As a result, we continue to languish in darkness in the evenings, but worse, some of us have medicines that should be kept in the fridge. Kindly restore our power supply,” pleads Arthur, whose contact is Tel 0722507750 or arthurrubiag@gmail.com. The account number is 2460727-01.

********

ABSURD SOLUTIONS. Government officials are going overboard with ideas on how to curb the carnage on the roads, some of which are ridiculous, says Ruth Gituma. She is particularly surprised at the proposal to ban people over 50 from driving heavy commercial vehicles. “How does one’s age affect one’s driving skill? Some older people are better than many younger drivers, who cannot handle a manual car. So what will happen to older people who have their own vehicles? This is out of line with what the people expect from the government.” Her contact is rgitum@gmail.com.

Have a rational day, won’t you!

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

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Cutting Edge - February 8 2013

By The Watchman
More by this Author

CHARITY. A donation of an equivalent of only Sh1 million from the head of the global Catholic Church, Pope Francis, to fight hunger in Turkana County is “taking stinginess too far”, declares John Gitau. He simply cannot understand how the man who leads perhaps the wealthiest church on earth could have given so little, when individuals such as Bill Gates donate millions of dollars of their own money to charity. I am embarrassed as a Catholic.” His contact is johngitau@africaonline.co.ke.

********

BUSY JUDGES. How long does it take to issue letters of administration to the heirs of a dead person? asks Joseph Dama, whose family cannot make use of the estate of their late father. Some six months after they filed their application, the matter couldn’t be dealt with because the judges were busy hearing election petitions. The matter was finally determined last November, and the judges went on vacation. Now, they are back at work, but the documents have yet to be signed. “We appreciate their busy schedule, but this is too much.” His contact is damajoseph3d@gmail.com.

********

EFFICIENCY. Confirmation of just how valuable the contributions of some individuals in the overall success of organisations is what this complaint by a resident of Nairobi’s Eastlands, Mary Ndichu, is all about. One of the people Mary badly misses is a traffic police officer who used to patrol the Doonholm-Lunga Lunga road every morning on a motorbike. Says she: “Traffic has become a nightmare since he disappeared. Please, help bring him back!” Her contact is maryndichu486@gmail.com.

********

TRAFFIC LIGHTS.The best news James Githinji has heard lately is that police officers will soon cede traffic control duties in Nairobi so that traffic lights and the newly trained civilian marshals can take over. However, James warns, this will only be possible if the city county government can ensure that the lights work efficiently “99 per cent of the time to gain motorists’ confidence” and make the venture a success. His contact is jgithinji2012@gmail.com.

********

TRICKY IDEAS. Governor Evans Kidero should not rush to implement some of the tricky recommendations of the committee appointed recently to help streamline the flow of traffic through the city centre, as they may not be based on any tangible evidence but speculation and theories of what has worked elsewhere, warns Dave Tumbula. He is particularly incensed by a suggestion that private motorists be barred from entering the CBD. “This can only work where public transport is extremely efficient.”

Have a realistic day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Cutting Edge - Friday 7 February, 2013

FAMILY VALUES. Kiambu Governor William Kabogo’s call to young women to get married should not be just condemned, says X.N. Iraki. “The governor is simply frustrated by the breakdown of families in Kiambu and elsewhere in central Kenya, where some children even use their mother’s names as their surnames. You cannot build a strong nation without strong families. There is nothing heroic about bringing up a child alone. Please, do not kill the messenger...” His contact is xniraki@gmail.com.

********

NO MORE EXCUSES. Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero now has no excuse for not delivering the goods to residents. Isaac Tsikhutsu says a petition against his election as governor was thrown out and the latest threat to his political career, arising from his clash with city Women’s Rep Shebesh is over as she has forgiven him. “He should now have garbage cleared, potholes fixed, drains unclogged, markets cleaned, streets lit, street boys removed, traffic flow improved and water supply streamlined.” His contact is itsikhutsu@yahoo.com.

********

CASH COW. As the police now concentrate on the new cash cow that is administering the Alcoblow to catch those driving under the influence of alcohol, carjackers and other vermin are having a field day, says Michael Mburu. “The carjackers ensure that they are sober, as that is the only way to pass through a police check at night on their way to waylay unsuspecting motorists. They really understand the psychology of the police, who are now totally focused on Alcoblow as serious crimes mount.” His contact is mburumk@yahoo.com.

********

LOST AND FOUND. For the sake of the owner and due to the sheer sentimental value she must certainly attach to this item that must mean a lot to her and her husband, Jackson Okachia, a public-spirited Nairobi resident, is sending out this appeal. Says he: “Did you misplace your wedding ring around the Kenya Railways headquarters? You might just be lucky if your husband is Michael and you tied the knot on February 25, 2011. Contact me through jokachia@gmail.com to get it back.”

********

LONG WAIT. In May last year, Zainul Velji bought a car and paid the excise duty in Kisumu, lodging the logbook with the Kenya Revenue Authority for the transfer of ownership. To date, Zainul has not got back his logbook. When he enquired from KRA staff what could have gone wrong, he was told that the documents might have been misplaced and that he should send a new set. And he did so immediately. “So, why is it taking so long?” he asks. The car is a Mercedes Benz, Reg KAH 900X. His contact is Tel 0733744762 or zainulvelji@yahoo.com.

********

FAMOUS WHITE CAR. What is this Kenyan criminal’s obsession with white cars? asks Jim Webo, in response to a report of the kidnapping of an elderly man in Kiambu Town recently after he had just withdrawn Sh200,000 from a bank. “The robbers seized and bundled him into a white car and drove off to a slum, where they abandoned him. This reminds me of the white car the suspected killers of former Foreign Affairs minister Robert Ouko also reportedly used in 1990.”
 
Have a curious day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Cutting Edge - Thursday February 6 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

STOP ALCOBLOW. The police use of the Alcoblow on motorists should be immediately stopped because it is unconstitutional to force a suspect to provide evidence that can be used against him or her, warns Nakuru resident Wambua Musembi. The officers, he adds, have assigned themselves the power to confirm drunkenness and “yet the efficiency of the tests has not been determined”. It is, he claims, “also a health hazard, as he has seen police blow into the gadget to show suspects how to do so”. His contact is fwmusembi@gmail.com.

********

ELECTION YEAR. According to Mungai Kihanya, the next General Election must be held on August 8, 2017, and he explains: The first year of the Jubilee Government runs from March 4, 2013 to March 3, this year. The second is from March 4 to March 3, next year, the third, from March 4, 2015 to March 3, 2016, the fourth from March 3, 2016 to March 4, 2017, and the final year from March 3, 2017 to March 3, 2018. “Therefore, ‘the second Tuesday in August in every fifth year’ is the one that appears between March 3, 2017 and March 4, 2018, which is August 8, 2017.” His contact is mkihanya@yahoo.com.

********

PAYING FOR NO WATER. Urgently calling Nairobi Water Company is Beatrice A. Musiga, a resident of Ruai on the northeastern outskirts of the city. While there are numerous unmanned counters at the various city water company offices, the situation at their satellite office in Ruai is even worse. But most annoying, she claims, is the selective supply of water to residents in the peripheral areas. She calls on Governor Evans Kidero to intervene. “For several years now, I have paid bills without receiving any water. Please come for your meter or I will send it back to you.” Her contact is bmusiga@yahoo.com.

********

LANGUAGES OUR HERITAGE. Teaching children in their mother tongue, in addition to English and Kiswahili, is not retrogressive, remarks X.N. Iraki, adding that it, in fact, gives the young ones more versatility in interacting with one another and with their own environment. He poses: “Why do we look down upon our God-given languages, which are part of the world heritage? We should teach our languages up to university.” His contact is xniraki@gmail.com.

********

REFUND DEPOSIT. Keen to benefit from the rural electrification programme in Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri County, Cosmas Wanjohi applied and promptly paid a deposit of Sh34,980 six months ago. This included a Sh2,500 deposit for the meter. However, after the transformer was installed, he was asked to pay another deposit of Sh2,500. He later sought a refund of one of the deposits and was assured by customer care that it would be done. But to date, nothing has happened. His contact is wanyogatush@yahoo.com.

********

USER-UNFRIENDLY. Some time back, Kenneth Wandua complained that the designers of the brand new Thika Road Mall in Nairobi had failed to make the toilets at the facility, which is frequented by hordes of families, user-friendly, especially for little children. He is particularly incensed at having little boys exposed to “indecency in the toilets for adults”. Management, he adds, will possibly be interested to know that some of his own friends and other parents are now shunning the mall and will lobby more to join them until special washrooms for children are provided. His contact is keneth.ndua@gmail.com.

Have a caring day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cutting Edge - Wednesday 5 February 2014

By The Watchman
More by this Author

NOT NORMAL. Listening to a senior police officer, an OCPD, explaining that an incident in which a 14-year-old girl stabbed a man to death was “a normal robbery”, M. Ochieng Odhiambo claims, confirms the depths to which the country has sunk. “We may well be the only country in the world where a robbery can be described as normal, but how normal is it for a girl to kill a man her father’s age? Police officers must change the way they describe or explain crime.” His contact is ochiengodhiambo@gmail.com.

********

THIS IS WORRYING. Crime is on the rise in Kiambu Town, moans Michael Gatimu, adding that his grandfather, Steven Kamau, withdrew Sh200,000 from a bank at 10am, on January 28, and was kidnapped a few minutes later by men in a white car. They hit him on the head, bundled him into the car, and later abandoned him near the Ngomongo slums after relieving him of the loot. “We, as a family, are very disturbed about this,” says Michael, whose contact is  micgatimu@yahoo.com.

********

SLAP IN THE FACE. The repairs going on along James Gichuru Road on the western outskirts of Nairobi are appalling, remarks a local resident, who has asked not to be named, fearing possible reprisals. “The dilapidated road is being cut up only to be filled up with rocks. Who is responsible for this? This clear example of corruption is a slap in our faces and no one seems to care! Senior government officials are driven along this road every day.”

********

WAS THIS A CON? A medical consultant, Dr T. T. Gachuiri, says he was approached by a fellow who claimed he was from Safaricom and that he could help him set up a “Lipa na M-Pesa” account. He liked the idea, paid up, and was allocated an account number on January 28. Though he started using the number immediately, he claims the account was never activated and thus he has ended up losing some money. His contact is ruiruimaging@ gmail.com.

********

TEACH MOTHER TONGUE. A most disgusting sight, says Dave Mungai, is seeing parents struggling to make their little children “speak in a foreign tongue such as English”. And it gets even more ridiculous, he adds, when those same parents will be conversing in a language they refuse to teach those children. “You  feel sorry for the young ones at a family gathering. Our mother tongues are just as important as other languages.” His contact is mickeyngugi06@gmail.com.

********

ROAD WITHOUT SIGNS. A fine, newly constructed road that connects Nairobi’s posh residential areas of Kileleshwa, Lavington, Riverside Drive, and Westlands, Mahendra Adalja moans, does not have a single sign at any of its junctions or roundabouts. This, Mahendra adds rather sadly, reminds him of the Thika superhighway, which had no signs for several weeks after its construction. Can the authorities sort out the anomaly? His contact is mahendramedicaf@yahoo.co.uk.

********

Have a signable day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com

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

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

MOTHER TONGUE: The new educational policy requiring pupils in the lower classes to be taught in their mother tongue is retrogressive, says Dave Mungai.

He poses: “As laptops are to be introduced in primary schools, should the suppliers then be asked to provide vernacular content?” According to Dave, those behind this new directive are “living in the 1960s” and should be told it can’t work for a rapidly developing country such as Kenya.

At this rate, he adds, then they should provide typewriters. His contact is mungaidave2@gmail.com.

**********

ENVELOPES: Similarly stuck in a time warp, according to Dickson Ogolla, are the manufacturers of the cumbersome khaki envelopes, which one must lick to activate the glue.

“Apart from the disgusting feeling, this practice is dangerous, as quite often, someone might suffer a cut on the tongue while licking the envelope. Envelopes are now made with peel-back self-adhesive flaps, and it is time the Kenyan makers also styled up.” His contact is dogolla@gmail.com.

*********

RECKLESS DRIVERS: Streamlining the traffic flow in Nairobi’s central business district should begin with reining in buses and heavy commercial vehicles that are often driven at break-neck speeds, endangering the lives of pedestrians and other road users, urges Mohammed Fazal Hussein.

The recklessness is evident from the many dents on the buses plying the city centre routes. How they get motor vehicle inspection certificates is anybody’s guess, he states. His contact is mohammed78611021@hotmail.com.

*********

KIAMBU TAXES: Some of the levies and taxes proposed by Kiambu County will hurt its economic growth as they will astronomically raise the cost of doing business, warns Daniel Kangara.

He cites the decision to raise the business permit licence from Sh4,900 to Sh17,000 a year.

“This is not only irrational and business-unfriendly, but also lacks merit.” Daniel is appealing to Governor William Kabogo, himself a shrewd businessman, to reject the levy increases. His contact is kangaradaniel@gmail.com.

**********

STAY ALERT: A past victim of the smartly dressed crooks preying on matatu commuters along the Thika Superhighway, June Bonareri, says they mainly target those carrying expensive mobile phones and “often talk in codes”.

The young men, will then advise other passengers to be on the look-up for thieves, and will drop some money, and if one tries to pick it up, they will lash out and in the confusion grab one’s phone and vanish. Her advice is that commuters should always be on the alert whenever a mob enters a matatu. Her contact is junebonareri@gmail.com.

 
Have a watchful day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

POLLS WILL HAPPEN IN 2018: While he fully agrees with Dickson Ogola that Articles 101 and 136 of the Constitution provide for the day and month in the fifth year during which the General Election should be held, Peter Muthoni won’t buy his argument that the next poll should be held in 2017.

Says he: “It is the fifth year of the tenure of government. In simple arithmetic, our next elections will be held on the second Tuesday, August 2018. By 2017, Jubilee will not have served its full term.”

*********

NOISE POLLUTION: The residents of Loresho Lane in Nairobi have in the last few days had to put up with immense inconvenience as their neighbour puts up a three-storey building, reports Alice Herrmann.

From as early as 7am to 8pm, excavations are being carried out, with noisy lorries ferrying the debris away. Following complaints by some residents, the contractor has been arrested twice, but he manages to “sort out the matter” and the racket continues. “The noise and dust is too much. Where is Nema?”

********

KABOGO, MIND THE ROADS ! As Kiambu Governor William Kabogo attracts attention with his declaration that unmarried people should not hold elective positions, there are more pressing concerns in his backyard.

For Jeff Kihoro, it is the dilapidated roads in the county that are crying out for rehabilitation. He singles out the Ruiru-Uplands road, which traverses Githunguri Division, a productive area for dairy and general farming. “Can Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau intervene?” pleads Jeff.

********

OIL POLLUTION: His once beautiful Cabro-paved compound is in a mess, thanks to used engine oil spill deposits, but Nairobi resident Hasmukhlal Shantilal Shah is about to despair, having tried in vain to remove the dirt.

Shah is, therefore, appealing to oil industry gurus or other experts who know how to clean up after such a mess to give him, and he believes, many other people in a similar predicament, tips on how to do it. But being a man still stuck in the snail’s post days, he can be reached through P.O. Box 47571-00100, Nairobi.

*******
JUA KALI A NUISANCE: A resident of Keroka township in Nyamira County is not convinced that the National Environment Management Agency officials on the ground are unaware of what a nuisance jua kali artisans have become. 

Welders, he adds, do their work on pavements with no regard to the safety of businesspeople in the town and passers-by.

He worries about sparks flying from the welding machines and the fumes from spray painters, and wonders why they shouldn’t be allocated a site away from the shops.

*******
EXPLAIN ANOMALY, MULTICHOICE: A Nairobi-based DStv subscriber, Wainaina Githi, would like to know from Multichoice Kenya whether the Pay TV free-to-air policy involving local channels does not apply to them.

He has noted that whenever his monthly subscription lapses, he is promptly shut off from all the Pay TV channels and also cannot receive the free-to-air broadcasts from local stations. “Can they, please, clarify?” he pleads. His contact is wainaina.githii@uonbi.ac.ke.

 
Have an accessible day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com

or write to Watchman,

POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.

Fax 2213946.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

IT'S A BLAME GAME. County governors may have had a good opportunity to exchange experiences during their recent Nation Media Group-sponsored summit at Naivasha, but they also tried to duck responsibility by blaming all their teething problems on others, says Taabu Tele.

Key among their grievances is alleged interference from the National Government, the National Assembly and Senators. “The truth is these chief executives have goofed big time by betraying the trust of voters. They must work very hard to regain it.”

**********

PLANNED TRIP A JOYRIDE. The planned trip to Israel by Mandera County Representatives does not make sense, says Dalahow I. Abdi.

“Although Israel is a semi-desert like Mandera, spending Sh15 million on travel alone is not a good idea. If it’s about food security, why not just hire a Kenyan agriculturist with vast experience to offer consultation, which would be cheaper?”

The programme is more of joyride than anything else. His contact is Dalahow@gmail.com.

**********

RESTRICTION SILLY. With banks now involved in the money transfer business, why do they still display a notice warning customers not to use their mobile phones in banking halls? asks Vincent Munga.

The notice, he adds, made sense until mobile banking, whose key tool is the phone, was introduced. “Nowadays, on the same wall, there is an M-Pesa agent number which requires one to use the phone to send and receive money.”

Vincent hopes the banks will see the reason to bring down the notices.

**********

REFUND OUR CASH. Zuku TV subscriber Hussein Zakir says he and other patrons did not get any service for several days last December and expected an explanation from management, but none has been forthcoming.

To add insult to injury, the bill sent to him did not show any discount for the days they got no service. He has called the company several times and also sent emails, but there has been no indication that a refund is coming soon.

His client code is 52270 and his contact, husseini052@yahoo.com.

**********

REPAIR THIS ROAD. Crying out for urgent repairs, Angela Kinyua says, is Dagoretti Road in the leafy Karen suburb of Nairobi. The road, she adds, is a main transport artery between Karen and Kikuyu and yet it has been totally neglected.

Angela is worried that when the long rains begin at the end of March, the road will become almost impassable, with the worst section being the Warai South junction near Nyumbani Children’s Home and all the way up to the Resurrection Gardens.

She is calling for action before it gets worse.

**********

NO SECURITY FOR CARS. Caroline Karimi parked her car on Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi’s city centre and on returning an hour later, found it had been vandalised. Since the city county government was installed, it has only been obsessed with increasing the daily parking fees without bothering to deal with the blatant thefts.

“I should be able to park my car without having to worry about finding some parts missing.” Over to you, Governor Evans Kidero! Her contact is caroline.karimi@gmail.com.

Have a secure day, won’t you!

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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

READ THE CONSTITUTION: There is no need to argue about when the next General Election should be held as this is clearly outlined in the Constitution, says Dickson Ogolla. Articles 101 and 136, for the General Election and the presidential poll, respectively, the Kisumu resident adds, both indicate that it is “the second Tuesday in August in the fifth year”.

According to Dickson, whether the base is January 1, March 4, 2013 or even April 9, the next poll date will be August 8, 2017. “The Jubilee government, therefore, has three-and-a-half years to go.” His contact is dogolla@gmail.com.

**********

FODDER FOR GENIUSES: Nacada chairman John Mututho’s remark that only a tenth of the drinks in the market are legit and fit for consumption is simply intriguing.

However, George Gathu thinks that this is an opportunity in the digital age, with the upsurge in mobile phone usage, for some clever people to come up with an app and a bar code or a disposable drink label that verifies its authenticity.

“The possible reuse of the label should be eliminated.” This way, he adds, drinkers will be able to enjoy their tipple without any worries. His contact is ggathu@yahoo.com.

**********

WHERE IS OUR WATER?: Nairobi Water Company can do better than this, says Peter Kago, a resident of the Civil Servants’ Estate, at Kariobangi South, which, he claims, has not had tap water for a good six months.

And this, despite calling at the city water firm’s offices at Kariobangi and Eastleigh, and the headquarters on Kampala Road in the Industrial Area. To add insult to injury, Peter adds, a broken pipe some residents have been drawing water from has recently been plugged without giving them an alternative. His contact is kagopm@yahoo.com.

**********

JOB HURDLES: The numerous clearance letters one has to obtain to be able to apply for any of the many jobs being advertised in the counties is a big joke, says Jane Kanana. But that is not all. The letters come at a tidy fee, with some asking for even up to Sh10,500 to issue one.

She wonders where someone who does not have a job will get such a huge sum from to be able to send in her application. “Is this a ploy to keep the poor away from these jobs?” asks Jane, whose contact is jakana2000@yahoo.com.

**********

APPROACH IMPRUDENT: The protests being witnessed daily in the towns in many counties, following local governments’ decision to increase business permit fees and other charges and levies, are a firm indication that all is not well in these newly devolved units, says Joseph Macharia.

Writing from the little farming town of Naivasha, Joseph is urging the governors to urgently seek ways and means of “arresting the situation” before it gets out of hand countrywide. His contact is machariajoseph82@gmail.com.

**********

ROAD A PUT-OFF: With Nairobi’s new Imara Daima Railway Station now ready for use, complete with a magnificent parking lot where commuters can leave their cars and ride on the train to the city centre, Donnelly M. Mose is disappointed that the job is not quite complete yet.

And his grouse is about the road leading to the station, which, he says, is in an appalling state. Mose has been using the road while taking his child to the nearby Riara Springs School, and the mere thought of driving on the stretch makes him cringe.

“Please repair this road,” he pleads. His contact is Donnelly.Mose@equitybank.co.ke.

**********

DREAM DERAILED: Following the launch of the Makadara and Syokimau commuter train stations in Nairobi, Dennis Oketch says he was excited about the prospect of avoiding the horrendous traffic jams in the city and riding comfortably to and from work daily. (READ: New train service to ease traffic)

However, according to him, this remains a distant dream. Says he: “After parking my car at Syokimau and being crammed with others into a coach, I wondered what became of the promise to provide more coaches and increase the frequency of trips. I am sorry. It’s either back to my car or matatus.”

His contact is dennisoketch@gmail.com.

Have a better day, won’t you!

Email: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com

Mail: The Watchman PO BOX 49010, GPO 00100, Nairobi.

Fax 2213946

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

MORE CASH: While the National Social Security Fund is hell-bent on getting workers to pay higher monthly contributions to it, Robert Wanyoike is not convinced that it can manage more resources, having failed to take good care of what it already has.

For evidence of NSSF’s incompetence, Robert cites Hazina building in Mombasa’s town centre, which “has been left to lie idle for donkey years, instead of letting it out to earn pensioners’ a return on the investment”. His contact is robert.wanyoike@kpc.co.ke.

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

WRONG PRICE: On three consecutive visits to Tuskys Supermarkets’ T-Mall outlet in Nairobi, Mungai Kihanya says he has noted differences between the prices on the shelves and what is actually charged.

He picked up an item, whose price tag was Sh85, but he was charged Sh99 at the till. On the second visit, a Sh130 item was sold for Sh150. And on the third visit, the price on the item was Sh133, but the teller charged Sh140. “When I pointed out this to the manager, he ignored me and left me standing at the counter.” His contact is mkihanya@yahoo.com.

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

RETURN MONEY: The behaviour of some Kenyans is quite disheartening, says Ken Ogare, still smarting from the loss of money meant to clear a medical bill.

He had the cash in a white envelope, which he forgot on a table at the Galitos restaurant at Capital Centre, Nairobi. He suspects a man and a woman, who sat at the table after him, picked it up and vanished. “Please, let them know that their act was captured on CCTV. They should return it.” His contact is Tel 0724322136 or k_ogare@yahoo.com.

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

CORRUPT POLICE: Some things can only happen in Kenya. Manvir Kenth says his driver was driving along Waiyaki Way, Nairobi, keeping left, and intending to join the Slip Lane, before entering James Gichuru Road.

In front of them, a vehicle had broken down, and a traffic policewoman instructed motorists to get into the second lane before rejoining the Slip Road. To his utter surprise, the officer’s boss accused the driver of causing obstruction and threatened to impound the vehicle. His contact is manvir@shadesail.co.ke.

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

PROUD COUNTRY: Soccer star Victor Wanyama, the first Kenyan to play in the English Premier League, and Dan Adongo, the first Kenyan to feature in the American National Football League, have one thing in common — both come from Samia District in Busia County, says Joseph Matata.

Of course, Victor’s elder brother, McDonald Mariga, and other greats, including former Harambee Stars striker Joe Masiga, he adds, have also put Samia on the national and international map. His contact is jnmatata@yahoo.com.

 
Have an exemplary day, won’t you!

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

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

GOVERNMENT MEANS WELL: The trouble with many Kenyans is that they will never support anything the government does or says, including policy directives and other pronouncements in the national interest, says Kiplimo Kosgey.

He has in mind the mounting opposition to the “supposed ban” on night bus travel. “I believe the government means well with this regulation and not an outright ban, given the high number of productive Kenyans who have been butchered on the roads year in year out.”

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

I WANT MY AIRTIME: While Sh200 may not be a lot of money to many, including Gabriel Oundo, what really pains this Nairobi resident is losing it. Last September, Oundo bought two Safaricom scratch cards but didn’t load the credit into his phone account.

On realising this later, he called at the Safaricom shop at I&M Building on Kenyatta Avenue to seek assistance and was assured that matter would be sorted out within 24 hours. He has not heard from them since. His telephone number is 0724676520.

***********

SIGNAL TOO WEAK: And can the big bosses at Safaricom also look into the plight of Kennedy Mukanga and other subscribers in Heidelberg Plaza at Bellevue, on Mombasa Road, Nairobi, who have had to endure a poor signal for over one-and-a-half years?

“Since October 21, and despite several calls to Customer Care, posting on the official Facebook page, a visit by an engineer and assurances that a booster would be installed, nothing has changed. “Of our 27 staff, four are on the post-paid service.” His contact is karizmuks@gmail.com.

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

NO LIGHT AT THE HIGHWAY: The Chinese contractors and road gangs that built the magnificent Thika Superhighway have already packed up their gear and left, but Ruth Gituma is not convinced the job has been fully done.

Though she sees lamp posts, they remain some kind of decoration as they have never been switched on. Ruth wonders why the lighting bit of the road project could not have been given to proven Kenyan entrepreneur Esther Passaris. She also worries that the road is not being swept regularly and the drains will clog again when the rains begin.

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

FLYOVER TOO DIRTY: The flyover at the Nairobi West-Madaraka estate roundabout is the filthiest in the city, having been turned into a toilet by some homeless people, who also, incidentally, sleep up there, says T. Dunia.

This source of convenience for the homeless is proving a nightmare for school children who have to contend with the stinking mess as they go to school. “Right now, dashing across the busy Lang’ata Road appears to be the better option. Can the authorities do something about this?”

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

MUSIC TOO LOUD: Has Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru given up the fight against matatu crew that play deafening music in their vehicles, ignoring protests by passengers? On January 8, Tom Maina boarded a Route 17B matatu from Nairobi’s city centre to the Kasarani suburb at about 8pm, and sat down, expecting a peaceful ride back home. But the driver of the matatu immediately cranked up the volume, assailing his ears, and the more he complained to the conductor, the louder it became.

Have a melodious day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

GIVE US PREPAID METERS: As individuals, companies and other organisations continue to make their New Year resolutions, Dr James Mukabi’s greatest hope is that Kenya Power will extend the installation of prepaid meters to Kitengela on Nairobi’s south-eastern outskirts.

He says he had been promised that he would get one early last year, but it never happened, and to rub salt into the wound, no apology has been forthcoming. His account number is 3915014-01 and his contact, jmukabi@gmail.com.

*********

RESTORE PHONE SERVICE: Some people hardly ever give up. Take Mombasa resident Naseem Hatimali Bana, whose house telephone, No. 223151, has been out of order for the past four months.

She still hopes Telkom Kenya will be moved enough to restore service soon. But what has annoyed her most recently is coming home to find the line reconnected, but two days later, it was kaput again. And mark you, it’s a prepaid service! Her contact: hnbana@gmail.com

*********

TARMACK THIS ROAD: For the past eight years, Nairobi resident Salome Muhia says she and her neighbours have been literally begging for the tarmacking of the one-kilometre road between the two Five Star estates.

And because she is not about to give up, Salome is now appealing to Governor Evans Kidero to intervene. “Our cars are getting wrecked,” she moans, adding: “And while you are at it, please fix the lights on Ngong Road, Waiyaki Way and Mbagathi Way as well.” Her contact is sallymmuhia@gmail.com.

*********

REFINERY MOVE UNSETTLING: Kenya Petroleum Refineries official Martin Wahome has been quite unsettled about recent developments that could have far-reaching consequences for him and others.

He, for instance, wonders why Kenya is investing in a refinery hundreds of kilometres away in Uganda, and yet it has its own in Mombasa, “which is a going concern”. The Mombasa facility, he adds, has tanks, running plants, pipelines, a jetty and highly trained operators and engineers. “What will happen to these?” His contact is Martin.Wahome@kprl.co.ke.

*********

LURE TOURISTS: Due to its prime location near Mt Kenya, the Embu County leadership should do its best to immediately begin to get the best out of the tourism industry, Bimbo Heich advises.

The county, he adds, should open a prime access route to Mt Kenya, which presents it with its best source of revenue collection.

As more visitors patronise the attraction, it is bound to create more jobs, improve infrastructure and boost business, enhancing the chance to attain its Vision 2030 goals. For more information, his contact is bimboheich@gmail.com

*********

CALLING FOR HELP: A man who hates to see anything useful, however, little go to waste, Joseph Muiruri has been collecting little pieces of soap that are discarded in his homestead and in the neighbourhood, hoping that it might one day be possible to amalgamate them into one big bar of soap.

He wishes to know whether there is any handy device he can use to make the soap for reuse as he already has numerous pieces. In case anyone knows, Joseph’s contact is jmuiruri@creditschoolmanagement.com.

Have a frugal day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com

or write to Watchman

POB 49010, Nairobi 00100

Fax 2213946

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

HEADS MUST ROLL. The revelations by Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo about the monstrous spending by counties are not only shocking, but also “totally inexcusable”, remarks Joe Mbuthia. He can now understand why doctors are opposed to their proposed transfer to county governments. (READ: Senators criticise governors spending)

“It seems we are only enriching a few people with this devolution. Heads should not only roll; some people should be jailed. Counties are spending millions on personal emoluments at the expense of development. Where is the anti-corruption commission?”

**********

JAIL THEM FOR LIFE. Overtaking is, without a shadow of a doubt, the main cause of the mounting carnage on the roads, says Nairobi resident Diana D’Souza, adding:

“Drivers who don’t know what a thick yellow line means, and who blatantly overtake when they cannot clearly see ahead causing death or destruction, should have their licences revoked and they themselves should be jailed for life. Unfortunately, we don’t have traffic police who can strictly enforce these traffic rules.”

**********

RACHEL TAKES THE PRIZE. There are people who, indeed, deserve to be commended for putting much more into the discharge of the duties than they have been assigned, and for which they earn a salary, says D. Muiru.

And his nominee for an excellent employee award is Rachel Rimberia, a cashier at the Co-operative Bank’s Kayole branch. Says Muiru: “She not only welcomes customers warmly, but also serves them very fast. With enough of such tellers, there will be no long queues in banks.”

**********

PROBE TASSIA SAGA. There is more to the National Social Security Fund’s Tassia II land saga in Nairobi’s Eastlands than meets the eye, it seems. (READ: Tassia row headed for a messy ending)

Thika resident Bimal Shah poses:

“If the NSSF purchased 1,760 (1/8 plots), which is 220 acres, at Sh10 million an acre in 1994, then where did the 5,500 plots that were sold in 2008 come from? I never knew a piece of land was this expensive in 1994!” According to him, the NSSF bosses and directors owe the members an explanation. His contact is bimal@broadway.co.ke.

**********

IT'S GOOD NEWS. Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) official John Cheboi’s assurance that the repair of several Nairobi roads is to begin soon is good news, says David Jasondu.

But before this happens, David is urging Cheboi and his bosses at Kura to follow up on the stalled work on Hospital Road and other roads in the Upper Hill area that has caused so much pain to business owners. Upper Hill is a key hub for offices and it simply does not make sense to commission road repairs, but fail to complete them, he concludes.

**********

WE NEED A BOOSTER NOW. Calling Safaricom are the residents of Valley View and Faith estates and adjacent neighbourhoods between Ruiru and Juja townships on the Thika Superhighway, who can hardly use phones in their homes for lack of the network, says Jimnah Irungu. The worst affected areas, he reports, include the whole of Kenyatta Road, where residents must move to higher grounds to make or receive calls. “We need a booster now.” His contact is irungujimnah@yahoo.com.

Have a connected day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

RECLAIM THIS LAND: There is something sinister happening on Ngong Hills, remarks Frankie Frank. The beautiful hills, he adds, have suddenly been inundated with homesteads – at least 10 homes with mabati roofs can be seen from as far as Ngong Town. “Surely, if it is a question of settling the landless, must it be atop national landmarks? The government, and in particular, the Forest Department, should lead in claiming back the land for re-afforestation before further environmental damage occurs.”

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

STRIKES NOT A SOLUTION: Officials of the Kenya National Union of Teachers need to be urgently taught that they do not necessarily have to keep calling strikes to be seen to be doing their work, remarks Jackson Njamba. He poses: “Who will tell these officials that issues can be solved through dialogue, not through endless chest-thumping? Who will remind them that innocent children suffer whenever they strike? We are getting sick and tired of their meaningless strikes.” His contact is jackson.njamba@gmail.com.

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

TINTED WINDOWS ARE HARMLESS: In his rant against tinted car windows, Hakim Abdi sounds like someone from Planet Mars, says Kevin Nyoike. “The President’s and the Deputy President’s motorcades consist of cars with tinted windows for security reasons. Accidents? Zero since retired President Moi’s Museum Hill mishap in Nairobi several decades ago. Cabinet secretaries and other top officials have tinted windows on their official cars. There’s no evidence that tinted windows cause accidents. I should know. I am a civil engineer.”

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

LET THEM EAT TILAPIA: A believer in the myth that eating fish is what makes people from Nyanza “exceptionally bright”, Collins Mwatati is calling for a rich diet for all candidates for better results in national exams. “Tilapia and other fish rich in Omega 3 should be recommended for all children so that the next generation becomes bright. We will not have close to 50 per cent of KCPE exam candidates failing. The Coast region counties, which once again recorded dismal performances, badly need this diet.” His contact is collinsmakoko@gmail.com.

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

VICTIMS NEGLECTED: The people who lost millions of shillings in 2007 through pyramid schemes have been abandoned by the government despite promises they would be assisted to rebuild their lives, says Anne Wambui. Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich should fulfil a government pledge over a year ago to refund them the money lost in the dubious schemes. “Why not, as the money to be used was recovered from the culprits? Many victims are languishing in abject poverty.” Her contact is annttn@gmail.com.

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

SONKO IN A CONVOY: On January 3, Githuku Mungai saw a VIP convoy which caused quite a public stir, as it zoomed on Moi Avenue in Nairobi’s city centre. Some of the vehicles had sirens, exciting even more curiosity as to who the big person being ferried was. “A red Hummer was at the tail of the convoy. I think that is not less than 20 direct jobs created and they are building the nation.” He strained his head, only to see that it was Senator Gidion Mbuvi alias Sonko. Githuku’s contact is githukumungai@gmail.com.

Have a notable day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

ROAD REPAIRS ON COURSE: Road repairs in Nairobi County are set to begin soon, assures Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) official John Cheboi, in response to Shamsherali Datoo’s list of roads of shame in the metropolis, which include Brookside Drive, General Mathenge, Loresho, Eldama Ravine, and Lower Kabete roads. Pleading for a little patience from city residents, Kura’s chief corporate communications officer says contractors are expected to begin working on the roads by the end of the month. His contact is jcheboi@kura.go.ke.

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

ENT SPECIALISTS TOO COSTLY: Though well-meaning and certainly meant to be of assistance, Kenneth Omolo’s advice to people to seek the services of Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists is not very useful as the majority cannot afford their high charges, says Mohammed Fazal Hussein.

“The fee per visit is absolutely out of this world and would run anyone dry. If one goes every fortnight, one pays a minimum of Sh3,000 minus other expenses.” His contact is mohammed78611021@hotmail.com.

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

DUMPING UNCOUTH: Some nasty people have carried their uncouth habits into the brand New Year! Shame on the person or company responsible for the dumping of a truckload of garbage in branded supermarket bags on Mbagathi Road next to the KMTC flats in Nairobi on Monday morning, yells Christine Ng’ang’a, adding: “This is the height of irresponsibility. Who do they expect to clear the dump? The garbage menace is choking up our city.” Her contact is wanjikumwaniki@gmail.com.

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

STRIKE TO OVERHAUL SYSTEM: With teachers often withdrawing their labour to push for higher salaries and allowances, Ruth Gituma has always yearned for a day when they will strike “to force the government to overhaul the education system”. She adds: “Every year, we have a revision of recommended textbooks, meaning that parents have to buy new ones instead of older pupils passing on theirs to their siblings.” She has been wondering who the real beneficiary from “this apparent manipulation” is.

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

KENYANS, STOPO WHINING: The Kenyans whining about poor governance, R. Rutere believes, have themselves to blame, “as choices certainly have consequences”, as American diplomat Johnny Carson said. Kenyans, Rutere adds, “invite their own problems, the main one being the kind of leaders they elect, especially, the ones from rich families who have never experienced the pangs of hunger.” Such leaders “are too mean with their leftovers and too mean to fulfill God’s law of procreation to fill the earth and they equate poverty with foolishness!”

***********

. . . AND STOP SHOUTING TOO: Who will make Kenyans realise that one does not need to shout to make a point? wonders Job Momanyi. He has been observing this unbecoming conduct and has been ashamed to see “people shout themselves silly, even when they have a microphone”.

According to Job, “the point sinks better when delivered slowly and with the understanding that the speaker could also be entirely or partly wrong and need not deafen himself or others on one half of the truth.”

Have a truthful day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com

or write to Watchman,

POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.

Fax 2213946.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Cutting Edge

OVERTAKING DEADLY: The most common cause of road accidents is blind overtaking at corners and the brows of hills, notes Automobile Association vice-chairman (road safety) Mahendra Adalja.

The solution is to set speed limits before such spots and strictly enforce them. “On straight roads, good drivers should speed up to reduce fatigue, which is a major cause of accidents. But worldwide, alcohol is the commonest cause of accidents. Breathalysers are thus a major tool in reducing accidents.”   

***********

KUDOS COLLYMORE: Should people or organisations be praised for doing what they are supposed to do? Daniel Kangara, a resident of Thika Town, thinks so.

For the flawless M-Pesa operations during the just-ended festive season, Daniel says Safaricom deserves kudos. Daniel, an M-Pesa agent, adds: “We did not experience any delays in our transactions, which is an indication that the money transfer technology has improved. If the system could withstand the huge demand during the holidays, then it is okay. Kudos to CEO Bob Collymore and his team.

***********

BILLBOARDS TO BLAME: While commending the good work done by the Nairobi City County government to ease traffic flow by installing the new traffic lights with timers, Kibira Kamotho is annoyed that the effort is being watered down by advertisers who have put up huge billboards that block traffic lights.

He singles out the one at the Haile Selassie roundabout. Though a revenue spinner, he argues, the adverts should not be allowed to hamper road safety.

***********

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: The mounting complaints about the recent public appointments are much ado about nothing, as it’s the President’s prerogative to choose whomever he “feels is capable of doing the job, regardless of tribe, age or political affiliation”, says Alex Ndalila.

Some critics, he adds, are upset just because they feel members of their communities have been left out. The boards of parastatals have targets the chairpersons are expected to help meet and they will be assessed on these.

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

NGARA DANGEROUS: The busy commercial and residential area of Ngara, Nairobi, has seen an increase in muggings and robberies by gangs that are taking advantage of the pitch darkness in the evenings due to the lack of street lighting, moans Richard Munina.

The worst affected area, Richard adds, is around Fig Tree Hotel, Makini Herbal Clinic and Chandarana Supermarket, where all hell breaks loose as dusk falls. Numerous complaints to the Parklands Police Station have fallen on deaf ears as the crooks wreak havoc.

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

HEADTEACHERS BLAMELESS: Parents have been too quick to condemn principals of public secondary schools for raising fees at the beginning of the year, and yet these people are not entirely to blame, says Joe Mungai.

Such a decision, he explains, can’t be unilaterally made by the principal, without the endorsement of the District Education Board, and with good reasons to justify the increases. “Next time you see these increases, do not just rush to accuse the principal who does not even sit on this board.” His contact is mungai6969@gmail.com.

 
Have a responsible day, won’t you!

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

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Cutting Edge

By The Watchman
More by this Author

AN ELEGANT MOVE: The shifting of the Immigration offices at the Busia border post into a neat and spacious new building has eased exit and entry to and from Uganda, says Dave Tumbula.

During a recent visit, Dave was also pleased to see notices warning against corruption and specifying payments for services such as issuing of temporary passports. “Our Immigration Department has set a high bar for its Ugandan counterpart whose officers still operate in a little kiosk. Now, that is progress.”

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

GET RID OF WHITE FLIES: Calling the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) is Ashibon Mwangi on behalf of his fellow farmers in Kirinyaga and Embu counties.

Says he, in appreciation of previous efforts by Icipe: “They came for the fruit flies, and we appreciated it. They later came for the tsetse flies and we were really happy. Now, we request them to come for white flies. These will wipe us out after our crops.” His contact is Tel +254722354270 or email amkibui@yahoo.co.uk.

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

WHERE IS MY PENSION? A former employee of Kenyatta National Hospital, Immanuel Muriu, cannot understand why he should be subjected to double punishment, having lost his job on disciplinary grounds, and, as they say these days, moved on.

The biggest referral hospital in East and Central Africa, which also caters for patients from neighbouring countries cannot trace his pension file.

“How can this be and yet they handle files for patients from four countries?” His file is KNHp/no 530812 and his contact, immanuelmuriu@gmail.com.

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

EMPLOYEE RUDE AND DRUNK: On Sunday, December 29, Bethuel Oduo went through the two screening points at Kisumu International Airport and sat in the departure lounge.

Then a Kenya Airports Authority employee ordered him to return his luggage for rescreening. The woman, who had no name tag and refused to identify herself, was reeking of alcohol. In the meantime, his name was being called out as other passengers had already boarded. “It was quite a scene. But thanks, KQ for being patient with me.”

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

UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR: Public secondary schools appear to have also been bitten by the bug of sieving and presenting only the very best candidates for national examinations to boost their mean scores.

Urging the Ministry of Education to investigate such underhand dealings in Murang’a County, Geralde Kihiu says the principal of one secondary school is notorious for forcing students to repeat and those who refuse are expelled. For the details, Geralde can be reached on Tel 0702951515 or email: kihiugeralde@yahoo.com.

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

SELL SET-TOP BOXES: Echoing Prof Maina Muchara’s call, Churchill Amatha says that just like mobile phone service providers whose core business is connectivity but who also provide handsets to boost their clientele, TV stations should also issue set-top boxes to customers to enable the digital migration.

His unsolicited advice to media owners is to swallow their pride and pool resources to procure the gadgets at a reasonable price, “as it seems there is no going back on this migration plan”. His contact is amatha@hotmail.co.uk.

Have a digitised day, won’t you!

E-mail: watchman@ke.nationmedia.com

or write to Watchman,

POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.

Fax 2213946.