Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Cutting Edge

TRAFFIC SUCESS. The unsung heroes and heroines in Nairobi County are the traffic marshals, who appear to be succeeding where police had totally failed, says Dave Tumbula. According to Dave, the flow of traffic in the city centre has improved tremendously since the men and women were trained and deployed some time last year, to the chagrin of the traffic police. “What is disappointing, though, is that traffic now builds up as soon as one leaves the city centre, as police still man the major roundabouts. Shouldn’t the entire job now be left to the county staff?” he asks.

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NGILU'S POOR SHOW. Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, who named the owners of the company involved in an ownership dispute over Lang’ata Road Primary School’s playground, should have gone ahead and revealed whoever sold the land to the four directors, says Peter Shikhule. CS Ngilu’s performance in the Lands docket, Peter adds, has been quite disappointing, “because after promising to rid it of corruption, the disappearance of files continues.” His contact is [email protected]

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CONCRETE FOR TREES. Reason has sailed away! remarks Martin Wahome, on the recent felling of the “beautiful trees” at the Changamwe roundabout in Mombasa so that the sponsor could build a concrete boat decoration. “The intention is noble, but why degrade the environment further in this dry and dusty area. Was it necessary to cut down the trees, even those that were not obscuring the view? The place now looks awfully open and vulnerable to the elements.” His contact is [email protected]

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ARCHIVE WATER PHOTO. A picture showing the residents of Kahawa West queuing to buy water from a bowser is misleading, says Nairobi Water Company corporate affairs co-ordinator James Karanja, adding that though that was a water supply problem, it was sorted out two years ago. The residents, he explains, are now regularly supplied, and do not buy from vendors. “Please archive the photo as it is outdated as the residents don’t queue for water any more.” For more details, his contact is [email protected]

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BUMPS WITHOUT SIGNS. Overjoyed about the recent construction of the Gitaru-Fort Smith road, which has brought a lot of convenience for the residents of Kikuyu in Kiambu County, Peter Kahindi still expects more. He says the contractor and the roads engineer should put up signs warning about the bumps erected to tame the speedsters endangering other road users’ lives. The worst bump, he adds, is on the stretch between Kanyariri High School and the ACK Church. His contact is [email protected]

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BEDBUG MENACE. Deploying the newly revamped National Youth Service to clean up Kibera and other slums in Nairobi and build roads is a commendable effort, and so is Kenya Power’s campaign to have the people living in these informal settlements legally connected to electricity, remarks Jackson Kenyatta. However, he wishes to draw the attention of the authorities to a bedbug menace in the slum dwellings, which should also be tackled. His contact is [email protected]

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

FORM ONE FIASCO. What is so difficult about the Ministry of Education disclosing the criteria used for the selection of pupils into Form One? asks Mutongoria Kimende.

He thinks the ministry has something to hide, which he strongly suspects is the lack of fairness in choosing the students, especially those to join the top public schools.

“Can the anti-graft body establish whether behind the vague official answers, someone is making a kill at the expense of our children?”

His contact is [email protected]

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LAPTOP DREAM. The plan to provide all the pupils in Standard One with laptops to fulfil the Jubilee administration’s election campaign pledge appears to have been quietly shelved, says Oketch Aoko.

Instead, he adds, each school will have a computer workshop and he knows of one that has been given “a paltry Sh60,000 to transform one classroom into a computer lab and buy a cabinet, though no laptops have been received. Can the officials let us know what is going on?”

His contact is [email protected]

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TIDY UP ROADS. As the chaotic construction of roads that has characterised the Upper Hill area of Nairobi nears completion, Frank Laurence is demanding that everything be tidied up.

Special attention, he adds, should be paid to the area outside Elgon Place, where a sewer was dug up and left open.

Potholes have developed and are largely to blame for the traffic jam from Don Bosco Catholic Church towards the Bunyala Road roundabout, which gets worse whenever it rains.

His contact is [email protected]

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NEW NUMBER PLATES HOAX? What became of the new generation motor vehicle number plates that the Registrar of Motor Vehicles had promised would be rolled out soon? asks Willis Aguko.

He recalls that about a year ago, when the announcement was made, it was disclosed that the machines to make the plates had already been acquired and a model plate was shown to the public.

“What could the officials still be waiting for?” asks Willis, whose contact is [email protected]

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WEIGHTY RESOLUTION. Living in a city where there is an increased obsession with being thin as a way to keep away the numerous lifestyle diseases, Nairobi resident Jim Webo says he was amused to hear a slightly built young woman swear in the streets that her New Year’s resolution is to try and gain at least three kilogrammes.

“The man she was talking to and passers-by suddenly burst into prolonged laughter. This weight-loss craze is not a joke, it seems,” he concludes.
Have a healthy day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Cutting Edge

BRAVE OFFICERS. Deserving the kudos of the week, according to Ruth Gituma, are the police officers at the Gilgil weighbridge who refused to give in to threats and bullying by Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter as he reportedly sought the release of a lorry whose documents were incomplete. “He insulted, cursed, and threatened the officers, who refused to be manipulated as they were doing their job.” Civil servants, she adds, should refused to be intimidated by claims of “calls from above”. Her contact is [email protected]

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SHOW OF IMPUNITY. MP Keter’s act of arrogance, intimidation, impunity, and coercion should be condemned by all, says Onyango Alare. According to him, this is a manifestation of how power goes to some people’s heads. “This coming from a person “who swore to protect and defend the Constitution is inexcusable”. Utterly despicable, Onyango adds, is the MP’s reported assertion that “we are the ones who make the laws and can break them”. The presidency deserves praise for distancing itself from him, he concludes. His contact is [email protected]

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TROUBLE AT HOME. The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has been so much in the news lately, accused of favouring foreign firms over Kenyan media houses and has perhaps not been paying enough attention to projecting its own image at its headquarters in Nairobi, remarks Irene Riungu. The name on the front building, she adds, reads, “CA CENTR”, with the second letter E missing. “Could this be a sign that all is not well at the CA?” asks Irene, whose contact is [email protected]

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PENSION WOES. Retired primary school headteacher J J Mutua, of Kangundo in Machakos County, feels rather abandoned and terribly frustrated by his former employer, the Teachers Service Commission. Mutua, who retired in January 2013, cannot meet some of his urgent financial obligations because his pension for June, July, August, September, and October of that year has never been paid. His complaints to the Pensions Department have yielded nothing. His Pension File is APN/PC 0000242551. He can be reached on Tel 0724769686 or 0733524088.

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INTERESTING NAMES. Though excited about the rehabilitation of roads in Nairobi, especially in Eastlands, Thomas Yebei is curious about the choice of the names of some of them, having recently come across one known as John Saga Road. He poses: “Who was this John Saga? Was he a Kenyan or an African hero?” The city county government, he pleads, should have small plaques with bio notes on the people the roads have been named after. His contact is [email protected]

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UNFAIR CHARGE. After having dinner at the Java Restaurant at ABC Centre on Waiyaki Way, Nairobi, travel writer Rupi Mangat called a taxi, which arrived shortly after 9pm to collect her and her party. “It took less than five minutes for the driver to pick us up — he didn’t even park — but we were charged a parking fee of Sh100. Though someone at the gate said parking after 9pm costs Sh100, it is might be better to ask a taxi driver to collect you from outside.” Her contact is [email protected]
  
Have a fair day, won’t you!
E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

DEVOLVING CORRUPTION: The proposal to have traffic offenders shipped far away for trial is not only ridiculous, but also tantamount to “auctioning corruption to the highest bidder”, remarks Willy Kirui. Traffic police, he adds, will demand huge bribes, threatening to send suspects to Mandera or Lodwar.

Willy cannot believe this could have come from a top official like Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, who serves a government that says it is committed to devolution. “He has, indeed, started on the wrong foot,” he yells. His contact is [email protected]

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THINK AGAIN: With the suggestion to have motorists ferried far away to be tried for committing traffic offences, Cabinet Secretary Nkaissery will only end up hugely fuelling corruption, says David Motari.

An offender in Nairobi, David adds, will “prefer to part with something big to avoid being taken all to the way to Mandera”. To get suspects to pay huge bribes, traffic police officers will only have to mention faraway destinations. “Think of something else, please!” pleads David, whose contact is [email protected]

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HIDDEN INTERESTS: The southern regional office of the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company is doing a great disservice to the residents of Kirichwa Road in Kilimani, moans George Macharia.

Frustrated by dry taps in their homes as they are hardly ever supplied with water, the people, he reports, have resorted to buying the precious commodity from water bowsers, whose quality they cannot vouch for. But George and his neighbours suspect that behind the water selling business could be some of the firm’s workers. His contact is [email protected]

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REPAIR ROADS: One of the key priorities that Esther Kamau would like to see the Kiambu County leadership urgently pay some attention to is the maintenance of dilapidated roads before it even thinks about building new ones.

Top on her list is Limuru Road, running all the way from Ruaka through Banana Hill to Limuru Town, which she laments, “is in a pathetic state, with huge potholes” The worst stretch, according to Esther, is from Raini through Tigoni to Limuru Town. Her contact is [email protected]

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DIGITAL MIGRATION: As the saying goes, when bulls fight it is the grass that suffers, and Levin Bett is convinced it is not any different in the battle between various companies over the migration to digital television.

While he and others have already bought set top boxes from StarTimes and GOtv to avoid being left behind when analogue TV is finally switched off, some media houses are insisting on selling their own. “We will soon have to get multiple gadgets to be able to watch news, which is worse than the analogue system.” His contact is [email protected]

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COMMON SENSE: Erecting bumps on a superhighway goes against common sense, remarks X N Iraki, adding that Kenya is the only country that does so. On the Thika Superhighway, he reports, there are bumps just after Utalii Hotel and before the Safari Park Hotel.

“These bumps cause immense traffic jams in the morning and evening, defeating the purpose of building such a highway.” The excuse that pedestrians are hit by cars is one he will not accept. “Build overpasses!” he demands. His contact is [email protected]

 
Have a logical day, won’t you!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

SCHOOL SELECTION: The Ministry of Education is not telling the public the whole truth about the selection of Form One students into national secondary schools, remarks Stephen Anyango. Many parents, he claims, are convinced that the ministry is not being sincere in its handling of the admissions.

He, for example, would like the ministry to release a list indicating how many pupils from Mombasa County will join national schools this year. His contact is [email protected]

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DIGITAL ERA: What became of the laptop project for primary school children, which the Jubilee administration was enthusiastic about as a key education policy statement when it came to power in 2013? asks Moses Mwenda.

In the latest back-to-school media reports, Moses adds, there has been no mention of the laptops, a flagship scheme of the self-proclaimed digital leadership, as the children who would have been the very first beneficiaries have now gone to Standard Three. His contact is [email protected]

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WHAT ABOUT GAS? Though welcoming the substantive reductions in the prices of petrol and diesel, thanks to the lower cost of crude oil on the international market, Tony Kariuki is unhappy that the benefit is not being extended to cooking gas.

He would like to know why the price of cooking gas has remained so high, at Sh3,000 for a 13kg cylinder, and yet it is also a by-product of crude oil. The  Energy Regulatory Commission, he pleads, should shed some light on this. His contact is [email protected]

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GOOD JOB: Thika town’s leadership should borrow a leaf from Murang’a county, and especially Governor Mwangi wa Iria, who has made sure that the complaints that had become synonymous with a dilapidated Kenol-Murang’a town road have become a thing of the past, says Richard Kamami.

Nowadays, Richard reports, whenever a pothole appears, it is quickly fixed, thanks to the intervention of Governor Iria. “Let’s benchmark ourselves on Murang’a to improve roads in Thika town,” he appeals. His contact is [email protected]

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WHAT A WASTE! The multi-million-shilling traffic lights at Buxton at the Nyali Bridge are functioning properly 24 hours, so why are police still deployed to control traffic during the morning rush hour? asks Derek Liech Onyango.

It simply does not make sense, he adds, at a time when most of the motor vehicles are going to Mombasa Island from the North Coast. The same officers return in the evening, when most of the traffic is headed for the mainland. “Why waste human resources?” His contact is [email protected]

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THE TRUTH: A sceptical John Kiarie says that what the brains behind Kenya’s economic blueprint, Vision 2030, are not telling the people is that it was meant to further benefit the rich. For evidence, John cites the “big jobs created by the secretariat that are being dished out to former MPs and other prominent people, “widening the already huge gap between the rich and the poor”.

According to him, the only option for the poor will be to engage in crime, “making the country the most insecure place by 2030”. His contact is [email protected]

Have a prosperous day, won’t you!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

ENCROACHMENT. The area around the junction of Mombasa and Enterprise roads, near the General Motors plant in Nairobi, has become a huge market for all manner of petty traders, but at a huge inconvenience to pedestrians, who have nowhere to walk and must scramble for space with motor vehicles, moans Nicholas Omondi. The path that pedestrians should be using is instead occupied by the traders. “Can the county government, please, relocate them?” His contact is [email protected]

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POWER SUPPLY. Can Kenya Power explain to the residents of Nairobi’s Kileleshwa neighbourhood why every time it rains, power goes off? asks Sadik Makii. Ironically, he adds, he lives less than 200 metres away from Kileleshwa sub-station, and experiences power blackouts almost every night, even when there is no rain. He wonders why the engineers employed by the power utility cannot sort this problem out so that he and his neighbours can also enjoy a reliable power supply. His contact is [email protected]

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SPEED LIMIT. Nairobi resident Steve Ngigy won’t buy his fellow engineer, Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau’s, view that enforcing speed limits on the highways will directly reduce accidents and curb the carnage on the roads. “While I agree that the Highway Code must be enforced, especially on the busy upcountry roads, limiting the speed to 50kmh on dual carriageways is not the solution. The answer is marking all the pedestrian crossings. Pedestrians must only use zebra crossings or be severely punished.” His contact is [email protected]

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ROAD HOGS. A report that listed Nairobi’s Waiyaki Way as one of the most dangerous roads with a high accident deaths rate is absolutely true, remarks Wilson Awili. “What the report did not tell us is the amazing criminal behaviour behind the carnage. Apart from the speedsters in Toyotas and Subarus, the PSVs are the worst, picking up and dropping off passengers in the road, where there are no bus stops. An accident occurs every week at the Uthiru junction, 87 and Kinoo bus stops because of the PSVs.” His contact is [email protected]

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PRIORITIES. The government’s mega projects such the Standard Gauge Railway, 10,000km of roads, Lapsset corridor or the Konza techno city sound fantastic until one learns that 1,000 cancer patients are waiting to die for lack of medicine, says Geoffrey Gatema. The government, he appeals, should provide at least two CT scan machines to each of the level 5 hospitals to avoid this painful delay. According to him, this is the best evidence of pursuit of the wrong priorities. His contact is [email protected]
 
Have a healthy day, won’t you!

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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

MANY DEMANDS. Happy to see teachers back in the classroom after their two-week national strike, Joseph Ngugi says his only grouse is about the apparent lack of modesty in their demands.

“Asking for allowances for almost everything may not be the answer. They want a housing allowance, commuter allowance, responsibility allowance… I thought we earn a salary so as to cater for house rent and transport and to compensate us for work done (responsibility). But we shall now be demanding value from them.”

His contact is [email protected]

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STYLE UP. KCB customer Churchill Amatha cannot understand the frequent lapses in service delivery at a time when technology has made banking much easier.

To fail to inform a client that a cheque could not be credited to his account for this or that reason “is simply ridiculous”, he adds.

“I know mistakes are made when people issue cheques, but once detected, it is only fair that the would-be recipient be informed accordingly, and if possible, also the drawer. Banks must style up to make our lives more comfortable.”

His contact is [email protected]

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SHOW OF POWER. During Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko’s recent much talked about flamboyant display of power, Christopher Kibiwott says he noticed that the high-calibre rifle one of his bodyguards was wielding was not a standard government issue AK-47 or a G3.

“How come he is allowed to operate a security wing, complete with Land Cruisers to patrol the city. Isn’t this the kind of impunity that could take the country down the drain?”

His contact is [email protected]

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BREAKING THE LAW. Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, who is thinking about transporting someone who commits a traffic offence in Mombasa to stand trial in Kapenguria, should be told that this will be illegal, says Wambua Musembi.

The law, Wambua explains, says that one “can only be tried in the nearest court from where one is alleged to have sinned”.

It is only a court, he adds, that can determine guilt and “transporting a suspect before he is tried is usurping jurisdiction the minister doesn’t have”.

His contact is [email protected]

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CALLING FIDA. When he was growing up, Dennis Mutua recalls that one of the most vocal organisations was the Kenyan chapter of Fida.

He adds: “I remember the firm and robust manner in which it advocated the rights of the downtrodden, especially women. The women lawyers would send shivers down the spines of many. Where is Fida these days as women’s rights are trampled upon? Their voice is being sorely missed.”

His contact is [email protected]

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PECULIAR BEHAVIOUR. Must all trade unionists be so loud in order to be effective in fighting for their members’ rights? asks James Mageto.

He adds: “I have noticed a common trait among nearly all trade unionists is that they all tend to be loud and somewhat cantankerous and menacing in demeanour. Is this a pre-qualification before one is elected into office or could this just be a smart tactic to scare the government or employers into giving in to their pay demands?”

His contact is [email protected]

Have a nice-sounding day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

POLICE FIASCO. Police acted rather silly in dealing with the demonstration by pupils and rights activists against the grabbing of Lang’ata Road Primary School’s playground, remarks Kennedy Butiko.

The protest, he adds, reminded him of South Africa’s apartheid days, when students would be shot during a demo, as happened at Sharpeville in 1960.

“I didn’t know that tear gas could be fired selectively, as the police said they only targeted the activists and not the children!”

His contact is [email protected]

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WHAT A SHAME! Tear-gassing children at Lang’ata Road Primary School, Nairobi, for demanding back their playground is simply primitive, remarks X N Iraki.

“We cannot ban ranking of schools ostensibly to let children be children, then allow their playground to be taken. It is a national shame to have images of school children crying after being tear-gassed splashed across the globe. The Constitution safeguards the rights of everyone, including school children and the unborn.”

His contact is [email protected]

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SERVICE TO ALL. The TV news footage of crying children was heart-rending, says Richard Mundia, adding: “Who, in their right mind, would teargas children? Do they have children of their own or even those of their relatives?”

At this rate, he argues, the officers who carried out the heinous act deserve “severe punishment or serious counselling”, but more importantly, “they should not be part of a force that prides in its motto of service to all.”

His contact is [email protected]

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CHARGE THEM. What happened at Lang’ata Road Primary School should never, ever be repeated anywhere in the country, says Asoka Itur, adding:

“That known activists and busybodies used children to shield their heinous acts is unthinkable and the peak of shamelessness! Charge the activist, an MP, the head teacher, the local police chief, and some parents for this stupid and dangerous escalation of irresponsible behaviour. Nobody should play poker with our children!”

His contact is [email protected]

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FIGHT GRAFT. With the crimes against humanity charges at the ICC having been withdrawn, President Kenyatta should now make fighting corruption, especially in government, his top priority, urges Stevenson Karanja.

“The time has come for him to take the gloves off and deal ruthlessly with graft. Those involved in corruption don’t seem worried by his frequent threats or warnings. His efforts will be surely appreciated and rewarded by Kenyans come 2017.”

His contact [email protected]

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CALLING NEMA. After the government spent millions of shillings cleaning up the Nairobi River, J Kali is disappointed to note that some selfish developers of residential apartments have been directing their sewage into it.

“Most of the buildings lack sewers and direct raw sewage into the river. The people living along the river bank have to endure the smell, making their lives miserable. Watchman, please come to our rescue by waking up Nema officials to do their work.”

For more details, his contact is [email protected]

Have a bearable day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Cutting Edge

APPARENT BIAS. Even as he applauds the National Hospital Insurance Fund for the recent launch of its special rescue and evacuation scheme for civil servants and the disciplined forces, Paul Onyango is unhappy about the apparent bias towards the two. According to him, workers in the private sector and the jua kali industry, too, deserve similar treatment by the NHIF. But to rub salt into the wound, he adds, patients are often asked if they are civil servants whenever they produce their NHIF cards in various hospitals. His contact is [email protected]

DUTY OF THE STATE. Part of the government’s obligation, Job Momanyi says, is to ensure that its citizens not only have some food, but also access to free or affordable medical care. Without these, he adds, he can understand why government workers are always agitating for higher pay and going on strike. His special appeal is to the government to do something for the “many cancer and diabetes patients, who are dying because they cannot afford the required medicine”. His contact is [email protected]

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GOOD JOB. Equity Bank’s Wings to Fly programme that sponsors needy children in secondary school is a good way of letting young people know that they all belong to Kenya as it caters for all the 47 counties, says Kanyi Gioko. He is also grateful to the KCB, Cooperative Bank, Safaricom, and the Chandaria and Jomo Kenyatta foundations for paying school fees for orphans and other children from poor families. “Other companies, especially in the oil sector, should take the cue and help transform our nation,” he urges. His contact is [email protected]

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EXPENSIVE PETROL. Nairobi motorist Eric Wachira would like to know whether Shell’s V-Power fuel is not covered under the Energy Regulatory Commission rules. Even after the ERC slashed prices by up to Sh9 a litre following the sharp decline in the international market, he adds, V-Power is still being sold at more than Sh100 a litre. On Mombasa Road, on January 17, Eric claims he bought a litre of petrol at Sh133.35, which was the same price last month. His contact is [email protected]

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WHY THE DROP? The low oil prices, X N Iraki suspects, could be a ploy by the West to “punish Russia for its adventures in Ukraine”. The dip, he adds, is “artificial and the prices will soon go up again”. According to him, the Russian economy “is heavily dependent on natural resources, particularly oil, and there is more to what is happening in the international market than meets the eye”. This, he suggests, will be confirmed when the information is declassified in years to come, as often happens in the West. His contact is [email protected]

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JURISDICTION. An offence committed on “Kenyan soil must be tried in our courts”, declares Wambua Musembi of Nakuru, rejecting the Chinese Government’s appeal for the release of its citizens arrested in Nairobi’s Runda Estate over an illegal communication network. “If they have any issues in China, those can be sorted out once we are through with them. I smell a rat as China would not try its nationals for offences committed in Kenya.” His contact is [email protected]
 
Have just day, won’t you!
E-mail: [email protected]
or write to Watchman,
POB 49010, Nairobi 00100.
Fax 2213946.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

POMOTIONS FAIR: Safaricom promotions are regulated by the Betting Control and Licensing Board, says CEO Bob Collymore, in response to Noni J. Kamau’s complaint. The board, he adds, ensures that the competition is conducted in a fair and transparent manner and does not favour any individual or group.

“All the winners are chosen through a fair draw done under the watch of the board’s officials. Since Bonyeza Ushinde promotion was launched in 2012, more than Sh200 million has been won by customers from all over the country, from all segments of society.”

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REDUCE FARES: As fuel prices continue to fall, there has been a deafening silence; that of Matatu Owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai, says Sam Muthamia. He poses: “Why has the association not said anything about reducing matatu fares over the past couple of months as the fuel prices have declined?

The same association acts with lightning speed whenever there is even a slight increase in fuel prices. What does Kimutai have to say about there being no reductions in matatu fares?” His contact is [email protected]

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REPAIR ROAD: The Kenya Urban Roads Authority, the Nairobi City County government, or whatever other agency that may be concerned, Quince Viraj urges, should grade the small stretch of road that links the Southern Bypass to the go-kart racing circuit which eventually connects to the Uchumi Supermarket outlet at Lang’ata.

“The 500-metre murram section is covered in craters that are growing larger and larger by the day. It is a perfectly good road being wasted due to negligence.” His contact is [email protected]

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ELECTRICITY WOES: Nearly a year since a faulty power transformer was replaced at Ruaka, near the bypass on Nairobi’s northwestern outskirts, local resident, Thuita Githiga, says electricity service has gone from bad to worse.

The residents, he adds, have to contend with “erratic supply and frequent blackouts”. Keen to establish what exactly the problem is, Thuita says they have been told the engineers need to do “some load balancing”. He poses: “So, why can’t they do it? We can’t take this any more.” His contact is [email protected]

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SPEED LIMITS: One area where the country is still stuck in the past is on speed limits, remarks Anthony Wanjau. According to him, the speed limits, not only on the Thika superhighway, but also on other roads around the country need to be reviewed, having been in place since the 1970s and into the early 1980s.

According to him, during that time, the performance of motor vehicles was not as advanced as they are today and the roads were in a poor condition. “Our speed limits should reflect the 21st century.” His contact is [email protected]

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PAY ATTENTION: For the information of the fellow who asked what the correct speed limit for the Thika superhighway is, Umar Ali says there are, in fact, several. They, Umar adds, vary from 50kph in some sections to 100kph in other areas.

“If he pays attention as he drives, he will see the speed limit signs. Otherwise, he should buy himself a Garmin GPS and have it installed in his car. It will alert him about the limits in each of the sections.” Umar’s contact is [email protected] 
Have a tech-savvy day, won’t you!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

BRAZEN GANGSTER: A seven-man gang has been operating on Mombasa Road, Nairobi, for a long time, brazenly terrorising matatu commuters. JM does not understand why the police are unaware of their deadly antics.

They are so daring that they operate during the day between the Imara Daima estate stage and Uhuru Highway/Haile Selassie junction. “They dress smartly and are well-spoken. On boarding a matatu, they pick their targets, sit next to them, steal, and alight at the next stage. When will the long arm of the law catch up with them?”

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CONCERN OVER JOBS: Reports that 8,000 Chinese are coming to build the new standard gauge railway and many more to “teach Kenyans how to set up industries” have alarmed Sharmi Balla.

At this rate, she moans, the Chinese could “soon take over the entire country”. She poses: “Why are so many of them coming now? Don’t we have competent Kenyans? The Japanese taught the Chinese how to set up industries and returned home, but the Chinese seem to be here to stay. Our youth will always be jobless if we don’t stop this influx.” Her contact is [email protected]

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INNOVATIVE: Not long ago, Dave Tumbula recalls, there was an outcry over the disappearance of manhole covers from the streets in Nairobi’s city centre and even residential estates, with the finger being pointed at scrap metal dealers selling the stuff to Chinese merchants.

On noticing the other day that some of the gaping holes have been covered, Dave says he took a closer look and could not suppress a chuckle. “The new manhole covers are marked, ‘Sterling Made in China’. Did they smelt, remodel, and return them to us at a higher price?” he wonders.

*******

SNAIL MAIL: Though Posta’s snail post is no longer in vogue, Nairobi residents who still cling to the old system of having post office boxes should just avoid code 00502 Karen like the plague, advises Joyce Karatina.

“Posting anything, you never know whether it will arrive or not, and for years, Christmas mail has been arriving until March. The service at the counters is unfriendly and lacklustre, and no wonder, the post office is always near-empty.” But the best post office in Nairobi, adds Joyce, is 00603 Lavington.

*******

NO PLANNING: What is glaringly missing in Thika town, also proudly referred to as the “Birmingham of Kenya” because of its vibrant industries, is strategic planning for the development of infrastructure, remarks Joel Kariuki.

Instead of coming up with a proper plan for the expansion of roads, he claims, the town’s leadership has gone into overdrive, constructing footpaths alongside roads. “Can Kiambu Governor William Kabogo intervene to ensure that the town’s leadership gets some professional advice?” urges Joel, whose contact is [email protected]

*******

MATATU INVASION: A resident of Wood Avenue in Kilimani, Nairobi, Alfonso Gribaldi, is sad that his “neighbourhood has taken a downward spiral that the city county government seems unable to stem in spite of our complaints”.

For 18 months now, he moans, it has been gradually turned into a matatu terminus, with his own gate constantly blocked by rude drivers and touts, whose vehicles belch black smoke and who start hooting for passengers as early as 6am until as late as 9pm. “Who will save us the anguish?” His contact is [email protected] 
Have an orderly day, won’t you!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

NOT REGISTERED: Traffic laws, Martin M Makundi notes, state that only duly registered and insured motor vehicles should operate on roads. However, while driving to Mombasa recently, he says, he could not believe what he saw.

Between Sultan Hamud and Taru, there were dozens of unregistered trucks belonging to the China Road & Bridge Corporation ferrying construction material or water for the standard gauge railway project. Makundi asks: “Do they have proper insurance, as they are unregistered?” His email address is [email protected]

********

EMPTY ELECTRICITY PROMISE: Since the launch of a major geothermal power generation plant in Naivasha last year, an event in which President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that electricity bills would reduce by 30 per cent, the bill has instead risen sharply, Edward Kinyanjui moans.

His own bill, he says, has puzzled him, having increased from Sh1, 700 to Sh2, 000 before shooting to Sh6, 800. “Can Kenya Power explain what is going on?” Kinyanjui says. His email address is [email protected]

*******

DISCLOSE INFORMATION: Seeing a poor, ageing village herbalist with a big family wallowing in the glory of having just won Sh5 million and a pick-up in Safaricom’s Bonyeza Ushinde competition was quite a gratifying experience for John Njuguna. However, he says, Safaricom should now reveal how much it raked in from the competition.

“This should then be followed up by a disclosure of how much went into the various prizes, corporate social responsibility projects and what was left as a clean profit,” he says. Njuguna’s email address is [email protected]

********

A SURPRISING HAPPENING: A recent, most-baffling natural phenomenon, Bosco Gicheo says, has been the death and rise of Rift Valley lakes. In the past three years, he states, something spectacular has happened: the water levels in the lakes, particularly Nakuru, Bogoria and Baringo, have risen tremendously.

Gicheo says: “I do not believe that it is because of conservation of the Mau Forest, coming at a time when we have seen extensive geothermal projects around these lakes. Is there a scientific explanation?” His email address is [email protected]

********

DO THE MATH: Haron Maina says that about Sh5 billion would be enough to erect a fence along the 628km Kenya-Somalia border. This, he states, is a price worth paying to secure the country.

According to Maina, the undertaking would require 682,000 concrete posts at a cost of Sh1, 000 each; therefore, a total of Sh682 million. Other costs would be labour (Sh1 billion), mesh or barbed wire (Sh1 billion), plus cameras and a command centre (Sh2 billion). His email address is [email protected]

********

STOP THIS: A worrying new trend, Devere Mwangi says, is that whenever a pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, villagers quickly mobilise to attack the motorist, block the highway, dig trenches and pelt other motorists with stones.

He states: “Motorists cannot always be in the wrong ... Unless this habit is stopped, it is going to get out of hand. The police should take action and warn the public to desist from this lawlessness.” His email address is [email protected]

********

WRONG FOOT: Given his suggestion that motorists will be taken to court far from where they allegedly commit traffic offences, new Internal Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery is starting off on the wrong foot, Mathangani Muya states, noting that what is really needed is strict enforcement of traffic rules and regulations.

He says: “How will he then deal with matters of grave insecurity and crime? This reminds one of the colonial detention and trial of freedom fighters in faraway places. He should change his advisers.” Muya’s email address is [email protected]

Have a lawful day, won’t you!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

WINNING TICKET. Safaricom’s just-concluded Bonyeza Ushinde competition appears to have been aimed at “rewarding customers from the lower income bracket”, says Noni Kamau.

Proof of this, she adds, is that most of the winners could hardly express themselves in English during interviews.

However, Noni adds, she “has nothing against them and I hope they will use the money well to uplift their standards of living”.

But she would like an assurance that Safaricom does not rig its raffles.

Her contact is [email protected].

**********

COLD RECEPTION. The Guardian Bus Company, which boasts luxurious vehicles in which passengers can even charge their mobile phones from the comfort of their seats, should do all it can to uphold its good reputation, says Benjamin Ashuma.

On Saturday, January 10, Benjamin boarded a bus from Mumias to Nairobi, arriving in a chilly city at 3am. To his disappointment, the passengers were told to alight and sit outside the booking office.

“Why not have a waiting lounge for passengers?”

His contact is [email protected].

**********

UNIQUE ADVERT. More familiar with signposts on which witchdoctors brag about their supposed ability to cure all manner of illnesses and redress victims’ misfortunes, Gitere Kimari says he was surprised to come across one who claims to have the expertise to deal with only one issue: marriage.

“The witchdoctors and fortune-tellers are, of course, out to fleece the gullible in society. But this advert on a pole at the junction of Desai and Murang’a roads is interesting, having only one item.”

His contact is [email protected].

**********

TRAFFIC FLOW. The Nairobi City County government should consider opening the slip road near the synagogue opposite the University of Nairobi library to traffic from Uhuru Highway to avoid clogging up the roundabout, Patrick Chege urges.

They should also remove the diversion after the Central Police Station on Moi Avenue that “pours traffic into an already congested Globe Cinema roundabout so that traffic from University Way flows smoothly through town via Moi Avenue”.

For more details, his contact is [email protected].

**********

INCONVENIENT DESIGN. The designers of the Thika superhighway must have got somewhat tired while working on the last stretch into Nairobi’s central business district, notes Bosco Gicheo.

This, he adds, is the only plausible explanation as to why there is no bus stop between Pangani and the fire station on Tom Mboya Street in the city centre.

The lack of such a facility, he adds, is a huge inconvenience to passengers, who would like to alight at Ngara, but have to go all the way and walk back.

His contact is [email protected].

**********

CORRECT SPEED. Can the National Transport Safety Authority and the Traffic Commandant explain to motorists and the general public what the speed limit on the Thika superhighway is? urges Dufton Kanguru.

Motorists doing 100kph at the Utalii Hotel drift towards Thika, he reports, often get arrested, “and yet the allowed maximum speed along a dual carriageway is 110kph”.

He poses: “How can the speed limit on the superhighway be lower?”

His contact is [email protected].

Have a logical day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

QUESTIONABLE PRICES. The formula being used by the Energy Regulatory Commission to set fuel prices does not seem to be working, remarks Denis Mutundu.

While the price of oil on the international market has dropped by half, he adds, the ERC has reduced the pump price in Kenya by just a few shillings.

“The ERC should do better or just let the forces of supply and demand determine the prices of fuel for Kenyan consumers,” urges Denis, whose contact is [email protected]

**********

FIGHTING TRIBALISM. Fidel Odinga’s funeral in Bondo, Siaya County, Isaac Tarus says, confirmed to him that most Cord politicians are not serious about fighting tribalism to create a united Kenya, “should they ever ascend to power”.

Isaac is upset some ODM luminaries chose to speak in their Dholuo mother tongue during the proceedings beamed live countrywide on national TV and “despite the fact that the ceremony was also attended by people from across Kenya and beyond”.

His contact is [email protected]

**********

INTOLERANCE. The height of shame at the funeral was the shouting down of some speakers, with empty plastic water bottles and other objects hurled at them, on top of the booing, remarks David Motari.

“They did not respect Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, who read the President’s speech, even after he had provided military planes to carry Fidel’s body and mourners from Nairobi. We should learn to tolerate one another. But, kudos to Cord leader Raila Odinga for condemning this without shame or fear.”

His contact is [email protected]

**********

EMPTY PROMISES. One of the roads leading to a posh area of Nairobi, Riverside Drive, is shaming the neighbourhood with its glaring potholes.

And an angry resident, Ashiembi wa Ndukwe, simply cannot help but fault Governor Evans Kidero, whom he accuses of being long on words and pretty short on action.

“We’re getting fed up with his promises to make the city better. We have sent tweets and posted photos of the potholes right from the Chiromo junction, in vain. Or is he too busy drafting another master plan?”

His contact is [email protected]

**********

PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE. The collapse of buildings under construction will continue unless both the national and local governments begin to subsidise construction by offering free compulsory inputs and supervision, Paul Mwangi warns.

“If we had a body to oversee the building of houses costing up to Sh2 million, this problem would be solved once and for all. In international and natural law, professional negligence and ignorance are no defence,” declares Paul, whose contact is [email protected]

**********

QUICK ACTION. The globalisation of terrorism is evident in the recent Westgate-like horror attacks in Paris, in which nearly 20 people perished, much fewer than in Kenya, thanks to the competent response by French security agents, says Taabu Tele.

He adds: “While radicalisation and marginalisation of minorities are common threads in both the Paris and Nairobi incidents, the tactful and coordinated response by French police will leave many wondering whether we actually live on the same planet. The speed with which the French authorities cornered the murderers helped to save lives.”

His contact is [email protected]

Have a competent day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

EBOLA CONCERNS. The nearly 200 Kenyan health workers who have gone to serve in the Ebola-stricken West African countries have made a great humanitarian gesture, remarks Betty Angwenyi. However, Betty needs an assurance that the epidemic will not be transferred to Kenya. She is worried about the situation on the ground, where some health workers have been infected and died. “Though it is morbid to even think about it, bodies being repatriated can transfer the virus!” Her contact is [email protected]

***************
FIGHTING TERRORISM. Two days after the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices in Paris in which 10 journalists and two police officers were killed, the suspects were still at large despite the sophisticated gadgetry at the disposal of the French security agencies, notes James Githinji. But quite interesting, James adds, is that neither the government nor police have come under criticism. Had this happened in Kenya, he states, the government and police would have been under severe criticism for incompetence. His contact is [email protected]

***************
ROAD SAFETY. The National Transport Safety Authority, which has been concentrating on curbing drink driving using Alcoblow tests and monitoring and punishing drivers for speeding, could do more, says Frank Laurence. Frank would, for instance, like to see the NTSA come up with the proper size and height of bumps to be erected on roads. Once put up, he adds, they should be clearly marked, warning motorists. “Now, anybody comes up with whatever they like, ending up with bumps that damage the underside of cars.” His contact is [email protected]

**************
DANGER OVERHEAD. The number of signposts and billboards that have sprung up all over Nairobi, but especially in the city centre, are a sign that business is flourishing, remarks Jeremiah Akumu, adding that this is particularly true about small-scale enterprises. However, he adds, this has not come without some challenges. According to Jeremiah, with many of these signs being put up and hanging low on shop verandahs, pedestrians risk serious head injuries. His contact is [email protected]

**************
CLOSE SCHOOLS. Now that the government has declared the teachers’ strike illegal, it should close down all the public schools until the perennial standoff over salaries and allowances is resolved, says Dr Kennedy Mochabo. The rival parties, he adds, should not use schoolchildren as pawns in the dispute, in which the young ones have no say. According to him, the closure of schools will ensure that young people are secure at home until the matter is fully resolved. His contact is [email protected]

*************
BATTLE OF THE TITANS. The old saying that when two bulls fight, only the grass suffers is not entirely true, remarks Wambua Musembi, reflecting on the ongoing teachers’ strike in which their unions and the TSC are engaged in a vicious battle. “In fact, both bulls get tired and bruised, and, yes, one of them loses. The teachers and their employers should stop playing games with our children’s lives. We are tired of seeing our children suffer.” His contact is [email protected]

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

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

SPEED LIMIT: The 50kph speed limit within the city of Nairobi should be stridently enforced, says Sanjeev Parmar, warning that there “are some dunderheads who, given a chance, will accelerate even up to 80kph and cover the next 500 metres on their brakes, coming to a roundabout.”

Day after day, he adds, this “moronic driving goes on”. They do so mostly on Mbagathi Way and Uhuru Highway, between the roundabouts. “There is no point speeding within the city.” His contact is [email protected]

********

CITY MANAGEMENT: Could the Nairobi City County government, like its predecessor, the defunct City Council, be concentrating on just sprucing up the city centre and blatantly ignoring the residential areas?

A resident of the Kahawa West suburb, Peter Macharia, says there is a huge pool of stagnant water bang in the middle of Mt Kenya Road, into which some devious landlords have been directing sewage, creating a breeding ground for diseases. “Please help. Our children like playing in the murky water.” His contact is [email protected]

*******

POWER MISHAP: On January 5, a resident of Nairobi’s Embakasi area, Robin Obino, bought tokens for his prepaid electricity meter by phone, receiving the message — Mtr No: 22119576589. Token 73095024301009882473. Date: 2015-01-05: 19:18:32 +0300 Amount Sh200.

Units 28.5. But he could not load the units and three days later, he was still in darkness, while his calls to Kenya Power went unanswered. “What is Kenya Power up to?” His contact is Tel 0727876859 or [email protected]

******

LOYALTY TEST: Tuskys Supermarket is shortchanging its loyal customers, says Samuel Kagiri, unhappy with the handling of the retail chain’s reward scheme. The firm, he adds, has introduced new cards in an effort to restore the customer loyalty scheme it had suspended, but he has been disappointed to note that the points earlier earned are not being transferred into the new one. “Shoppers like myself maintain our loyalty based on the points we have accumulated. We need an explanation.” His contact is [email protected]

******

IRRITATING WORDS: Adding to the list of the overused or misused English words or phrases that many now find irritating is James K Underwood, who is not impressed with the use of the expression, “game-changer or its derivative, game-changing”.

These days, he states, “any new idea or plan is described using the above terms, even when, clearly, what is being alluded to is anything but revolutionary!” His contact is [email protected]

******

ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE: Having thick dark smoke billowing into the sky from the rooftop of a five-star hotel in the prime location that is Nairobi’s city centre during the lunch hour “in this day and age is not a very good sight”, remarks Dave Tumbula.

“What could they be burning, particularly at that time, and is it environmentally safe? And isn’t there a better way this could have been done without this apparent pollution of the atmosphere?” 
Have a cleaner day, won’t you!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

COSTLY SHORTCUTS: A badly constructed storey building such as the one that collapsed the other day at Huruma, Nairobi, claiming two lives, would cost more than Sh80 million, hence the shortcuts taken by some developers and their contractors, says Martin Tairo Maseghe, a practising architect. “By not using professionals and the right materials, the owner could save Sh15 million or so.

But at what cost? In the end, cheap is expensive.” His contact is [email protected]

******

PROBLEM SOLVED: The Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company wishes to assure Eric Rumiri and other residents of Kasarani, on the city’s northern outskirts, that the cause of the water shortage they have been experiencing has already been identified and fixed.

According to Corporate Affairs Coordinator James Karanja, normal water distribution to the area resumed after the repairs and replacement of a broken water pipe valve near the Haco Industries factory.

******

MIND YOUR MANNERS: Many Kenyans “have lost it” as far as good manners and demeanour are concerned, remarks James Gone. According to him, “basic courtesy” is sorely lacking, with greed, showing off and selfishness prevailing, and phrases such as “Thank you”, “May I, please”, and “Shall I” in short supply.

Some of the worst culprits are senior public figures, who are wont to shout at press conferences. “Be kind to others, dress appropriately and be modest,” pleads James. His contact is [email protected]

******

STRICT RULES: Rules and guidelines are vital in streamlining operations and curbing abuse in organisations, says Thuth Mambela, who is, however, unhappy about the rigidity of some health insurance firms. He cannot understand why a parent’s CIC card, for instance, cannot be used to pay for the treatment of a child who is critically ill.

On January 4, he claims, he was turned away from a hospital in Nairobi despite the insurance company having his child’s details, including his photograph. His contact is [email protected]

*****

SLOW TO ACT: Whenever traffic police and National Transport Safety Authority officials hope to cash in on something, they act with utmost speed, but where there is not obvious gain, they are very slow, claims Bosco Gicheo. Whereas they are quick to mount Alcoblow checks, two months after the President directed that double-cabin vans be classified as private cars, nothing has happened.

As a result, the owners are still compelled to go through the tedious, corrupt licensing of commercial vehicles and police harassment. His contact is bgicheo@yahoo.com.

*****

CULTURE SHOCK: To describe Kenyan society as “cultured” is, to put it mildly, pretentious, and preposterous or simply untenable, says Wilson Awili, begging to differ with Patrick Majanja. “From social media to our matatu culture and to our politics and the stripping of women in the streets, we are a society in rot. We need a serious attitude change to ever come close to being cultured. The minority who may be cultured are not reflective of Kenya.” His contact is wawili2@yahoo.com.  
Have a polished day, won’t you!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

ROUGH TIME: Towards the end of last year, Kimani Kamau recalls, some companies closed their businesses, while others recorded massive losses, in a lousy environment for enterprise. Though sympathetic to those who lost their jobs, he believes the firms “had it coming!”

Kamau says: “How can you explain second-hand goods from abroad sold at the same price lasting longer than brand new Kenyan shoes? How can Brazilian sugar be cheaper than Kenya’s? We must make quality our priority”. His email address is Kamau kakk2018@yahoo.com.

*********

POOR CONSTRUCTION: As Nairobi residents look forward to the findings of the much-hyped audit of houses to ascertain their safety following the collapse of two buildings, Ngure Mwaniki says, the county government should take a long, hard look at itself first.

“It should inspect and condemn houses in some of its old residential estates, especially Ngara,” he says. “I am sure, if an independent body is appointed, 90 per cent of them will be found to be unfit for human habitation.” Mwaniki’s email is ngurekabau@gmail.com.

*********

WORKER VS EMPLOYER: State House employee Dennis Itumbi cannot, surely, sue the same government he now serves, demanding compensation for alleged wrongful detention in 2012, Prof Maina Muchara says.

He states: “The most decent and civilised thing he can do is to resign first”. Prof Muchara wonders how the Attorney-General would then be expected to give an unbiased defence of State House as the government’s chief legal adviser. “Something is very wrong with our beloved country,” he remarks. His email address is mainamuchara@gmail.com.

********

MANY BESPECTACLED FOLK: A baffled Burnett Kilasi asks whether nature shifted the power of vision without many people noticing. He says he has – after carrying out a casual survey during courtesy calls and on official assignments – been quite surprised to note that there are more secretaries and personal assistants than bosses in many offices in organisations in the public and private sectors wearing corrective lenses. To discuss Kilasi’s findings in detail, send him an email: burnettkilasi@gmail.com.

********

WINNERS AND LOSERS: Ruth Koirugo is disappointed she did not win anything in Safaricom’s Bonyeza Ushinde even after amassing 40,000 points. She says: “With that high number of points, I should, at least, have won something.

Most of the winners could not even construct a correct English sentence, let alone answer the questions. Fine, my money was used to make more for the lottery, but next time, Safaricom will be lucky to get enough competitors”. Her email address is d.ruth41@yahoo.com.

********

A MATTER OF COVERAGE: Just less than 20 kilometres from its posh headquarters on Waiyaki Way, Nairobi, hordes of Safaricom’s customers hardly have any network coverage on their phones, Thuth Mambela claims.

The leading mobile phone service provider’s signal, he says, is so weak at Kasarani, on the city’s northern outskirts, that residents in the upper floors of apartment blocks next to Thika Road get no network at all. Mambela’s email address is mambela-thuthregonyim@gmail.com.

*********

ON MUSAU NDUNDA: Thome Waweru is asking who will solve the Musau Ndunda mystery. He says that it is not clear where his parents’ association’s mandate comes from. He states: “Who elected him and which parents does he represent?

We, the parents of schoolchildren in the rural areas, have only heard about him on radio and TV, and in the newspapers. The striking teachers he has filed a case against are also parents. Isn’t this a case of biting the hand that feeds him?” Waweru’s email address is thome71francis@gmail.com.

Have a sightful day, won’t you!

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

ROWDY TEACHERS: Though the Constitution allows people to picket or stage demonstrations to get the government or employers to listen to grievances, Sammy Gatheru doesn’t like the crude behaviour of some protesters.

“We need decency and good manners. What message are the striking teachers lying on the roads, with their legs up, shouting, sending out to our children? No wonder, when these children join university, they end up stoning innocent people’s cars!” His contact is gatherusammy@gmail.com.

**********

DAMAGED ROAD: Calling the Kenya Urban Roads Authority and the Nairobi City County government officials is a nostalgic Wahu Kamunyu, who vividly recalls that in the 1970s, there was a neat tarmac road linking Uthiru 87 Kiiru and Dagoretti Children’s Centre.

Today, she adds, what is left of that road is a pathetic mess that still runs its full course, but with little evidence of any tarmac. “When does Kura plan to fix it?” asks Wahu, whose contact is wahukamunyu@yahoo.com.

**********

POOR TIMEKEEPING: Kenya Railways Corporation’s commuter train service in Nairobi, though useful, is lacking professionalism, especially in time-keeping, says Sarah Maina.

The set departure and arrival times, she adds, are never adhered to, “so what exactly are they for?” In the evenings, for instance, she claims, the trains that should leave at 5.50pm do not do so until sometimes up to 6.30pm or even 7.50pm. “Management should also maintain the trains, which often stall in some unsafe areas.” Her contact is sarahnmaina@gmail.com.

**********

WATER WASTE: Nearly a month since Evans Macharia reported to Nairobi Water Company two broken pipes at Mararui/Thome on the northern outskirts of the city, through which clean water has been gushing to waste, absolutely no effort has been made to stop the wastage. “I feel bad to see this precious commodity going to waste.

I am willing and ready to point out the spots, if the customer (dis)service desk has not alerted the repair team. His contact is Tel 0733604154 or email evans_macharia@yahoo.com.

**********

POWER TO RULE: The insinuation by TNA secretary-general Onyango Oloo that the Jubilee coalition has an exclusive mandate to govern the country without listening to any suggestions or criticism from Cord or civil society is, indeed, a shameful remark “in this day and age”, remarks Chris Rotich.

“A consensus arrived at in Parliament that will give Kenya a security law that will help to effectively fight terror will be a champagne-popping moment for all Kenyans and not just Cord.” His contact is chrisoir@gmail.com.
 

Have an inclusive day, won’t you!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

USEFUL LESSON. The President and other holders of top national offices must be respected by all, says S.K. Chege, rejecting criticism of the jailing of a university student over his Facebook insults.

According to Chege, Alan Wadi should “painfully learn what decency is all about”.

His conviction, he adds, will also teach other “foul-mouthed youngsters some manners”.

However, Chege is not opposed to calls to President Kenyatta to pardon the student who insulted him.

His contact is skchege@yahoo.com.

**********

STRANGE LINK. There is a link between the recent mysterious deaths of the children of some prominent Kenyans and the vibrant Westlands suburb of Nairobi, alleges X.N. Iraki.

According to him, the “glittering suburb epitomises a resurgent economy and multiculturalism”, but there is more to this than meets the eye.

“All that glitters is not gold and Westlands and other high-end suburbs have their problems. Those still hustling must remember the perils of affluence as they prosper.”

His contact is xniraki@gmail.com.

**********

SHAMELESS CORRUPTION. Keen to have electricity in his rural home, Paul O. Mbala applied to Kenya Power, was given a quotation of Sh34,980, dated July 26, 2012, and paid on August 27, 2012 (Ref E24422012060065).

After a long wait, he received a call from someone who told him that his application would only be processed if he sent him Sh5,000 by M-Pesa “to facilitate it”.

Says he: “I did not, and true to his word, I am still waiting for power connection to date.”

He can be reached on Tel. 0721213442, for more details.

**********

PUZZLING BILL. Something is wrong with Kenya Power’s billing system, says Nigel Otieno, who has been paying between Sh500 and Sh800 monthly, but was recently slapped with a whopping Sh6,125.15 bill.

Nigel often pays his bills through Uchumi Supermarket, after checking the balance using the KPLC special code 9551. This he did again and confirmed that he owed the power utility Sh141, before the shocker arrived.

His contact is cecilmash@gmail.com.

**********

SOLIDARITY. The leaders of the Western world have been quick to express solidarity with France following the terrorist attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, in which 10 journalists and two policemen were killed, notes Mathew Mwangi.

However, he adds, this is in stark contrast to the rush to issue travel advisories against Kenya over similar incidents, “abandoning us in our time of need”.

Next time, he hopes, the West will also equally be supportive of Kenya.

His contact is mathmwangi@yahoo.com.

**********

TRIBAL. Tribalism has reached a cancerous stage that calls for quick surgery to save the nation, says Eric Ochieng.

The death of Cord leader Raila Odinga’s son Fidel, he adds, has driven some “myopic individuals into their ethnic cocoons to hurl insults, forgetting the reality of their own mortality”.

The repugnant comments on social media, he adds, stand in sharp contrast to the humility of President Kenyatta condoling with his arch rival’s family.

His contact eric@davericonsultants.co.ke.

Have a dignified day, won’t you!

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

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

CONDOLENCES. The pain of losing one’s child is devastating regardless of how old they may be, says Michael Mburu, condoling with Cord leader Raila Odinga on the sudden death of his first-born, Fidel Odinga.

It is even worse, Michael adds, if it is the first death in one’s immediate family. The death, he argues, has put an end to whatever plans Raila might have had for Fidel and the latter’s own aspirations.

“My heartfelt condolences to the former PM and his family.”

Michael’s contact is mburumk@yahoo.com.

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DESPICABLE BEHAVIOUR. The death of Fidel Castro Odinga has rather sadly opened an unnecessary war in social media, with people supporting rival political coalitions shamelessly bashing one another, remarks Patrick Majanja, disgusted at this obnoxious addition to the list of the peculiar habits of some Kenyans.

“We are a cultured society that should not allow such behaviour to germinate. The political leaders are united in mourning with the Odinga family. Can’t these people also learn from them?”

His contact is trackers05@yahoo.com.

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KILLER BUILDINGS. The year has started on a sad note, with the collapse of yet another building under construction in Nairobi, killing several people, putting the county government on the spot, remarks Ruth Gituma.

The buildings, she adds, are approved, but there are no inspectors to make random checks and stop the shoddy structures coming up.

“A walk through some Eastlands areas such as Umoja and Kayole will attest to this… ‘skyscrapers’ with no proper foundations.”

Money must have changed hands, she declares. Her contact is rgitum@gmail.com.

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AUSTERITY MEASURES. When President Uhuru Kenyatta served as the Finance Minister in 2009, Benjamin Ashuma recalls, there was a directive barring government officials from using vehicles with an engine capacity of over 1800cc, to cut expenditure.

He wonders what became of that rule that saw senior officials riding in VW Passats.

Ashuma would like to see the officials issued with Vitz, Demio, or Probox vehicles, whose engine capacity is hardly 1000cc, adding that it would not be demeaning, at all.

His contact is xbenjy@gmail.com.

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IRRESPONSIBLE. On the Namanga Road at Kitengela, southeast of Nairobi, Jeremiah Akumu says a truck with a forklift, belonging to Richfield Company, stalled and was left at the stretch between East African Cement and Savannah Cement companies, blocking a full lane of the highway for five days.

That the owners could let this happen for so long, inconveniencing other road users, smacks of impunity, “especially in this area that is prone to road accidents”.

Jeremiah cannot why the owners should get away with this.

His contact is drakumu2009@gmail.com.

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VOCABULARY HITCH. Mombasa resident Bwanaheri Kalela could not agree more with X. N. Iraki’s view that some English words are either misused or overused, to his utter irritation, and yet the language is so rich and full of alternatives.

Besides the word, “challenges”, which Iraki said pops up everywhere, Kalela’s pet peeve is the word “vowed”. According to him, the “word is liberally used in the place of ‘promised’ or other equivalents”.

His contact is hkalela@gmail.com.

Have an eloquent day, won’t you!

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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN
More by this Author

FRAUD MAIL. There is little the government can do about the internet scams Pato Gura blamed on some West African fraudsters “because they are everywhere and all over the world”, says S K Chege. The solution, he adds, is to take personal initiative. “I get and delete them. That is what we all ought to do. I get emails telling me that I have won a lottery, though I never bought the ticket. We should just delete these emails when we receive them and not ask what the government will do for us.” His contact is skchege@yahoo.com.\

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ACCOUNT FOR FUNDS. Governors’ association Chairman Isaac Ruto, who has vowed that his fight for more financial allocations to the counties is not over yet, could do a little better, says Andayi Mushenye. He and his 46 colleagues, demands Andayi, should provide accounts of how they have spent the little that the government has released to the counties since they took office. “This is the only way to convince Kenyans that if the money is increased, the governors will do more to develop their areas.” His contact is mushenye@gmail.com.

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ETIQUETTE MINISTRY. Badly needed today, Dickson K says, is a Ministry of Etiquette to ensure that things are done properly. According to him, many people do not do their work or take their responsibilities seriously. “They do not return calls, while others generally lack courtesy. The leaders are selfish, government employees do not properly serve the people whose taxes pay their salaries, and dishonest business practices are rife.” The starting point, he proposes, should be to teach ethics in schools. His contact is mbafrc7@hotmail.com.

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FILTHY TOWN. The fast-growing Litein township, the headquarters of Bureti District in Kericho County, with mushrooming high-rise residential and commercial buildings, is also fast becoming filthy and mosquito-infested due to lack of a sewerage, warns W Kimariech. Raw sewage, he reports, is being discharged into the open, providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The county, he says, should build a modern sewerage to keep away malaria and water-borne diseases such as cholera. His contact is wkimariech@gmail.com.

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MIRACLE PRAYERS. Shouldn’t Prophet David Owuor, a highly respected televangelist and scientist, be making hospital visits to pray for the sick instead of them having to be ferried to his crusades? asks Joe Ngige Mungai, saddened by recent deaths at his rally in Nakuru town. It is sad, he adds, that some desperate people have been plucking their critically ill relatives from hospital beds and taking them to the crusades.” He should visit instead of being visited by patients,” pleads Joe. His contact is mungai6969@gmail.com.

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DECONGEST STREETS. To ease the flow of traffic in Nairobi’s city centre, the National Transport and Safety Authority should reconsider its recent unpopular decision to impose a 50kmh speed limit on key exit roads, says Morris Nthiga. He cites Uhuru Highway towards Westlands shopping centre, Mombasa, Ngong, and Murang’a roads, as examples. “You can only decongest by allowing fast traffic flow from the source.” His contact is morrisnthiga2030@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.