31 October, 2007

Nairobi-City Within A Market

When the Narc Government took power in 2002 an all out campaign to rid Nairobi city off hawkers was commenced with great vigor and determination by both civic authorities and the Kenya Police. For a most part of the Kibaki administration the city was a glowing gem with the presence of albeit few to almost no hawkers. Security and movement of citizens was at a prime and the beauty of the city was restored. That has changed drastically!

For the past two weeks from around four p.m in the evening, masses of hawkers like a plague of locust have thronged the city streets bringing human traffic almost to a stand still due to the overcrowding. The city can aptly be said to a city within a market! With the prelude to elections on December 27th 2007, a sinister attempt has been made to bribe hawkers for their votes. With a former Nairobi mayor eluding that allowing hawker’s back to the street is a ploy to garner votes.

As a parent I am concerned with the kind of morals are being imparted to the youth, children and nation as a whole by virtue of such acts or apparent inaction by the authorities. It is apparently open that the unbridled spirit of competition at all costs has been let loose. The prevailing philosophy being one should do all that he can including subverting and breaking his own principles as long as they get what the want. Elections must be won at all costs despite backtracking on any gains that may have been made. This will be replicated in the upcoming generations leading to violence and short cut measures to get what one wants at all cost and shortest time and we always wonder what has gone wrong. It’s important to note that we lead by example.

And that is the folly of human leadership! No wonder more than two thousand years ago the wise man Jeremiah under inspiration of the holy spirit wrote at Jer 10:12 “it does not belong to man who is walking to direct his own step” the gist of that statement is that man was simply created not to lead himself and as such he cannot lead others. Frequently his incapacity to lead others is manifested by acts of violence, strife, hatred, ethnicity, murder, lack of ethics etc

While indeed hawkers have a right to earn a living! Time and again when allocated places of operation they have simply declined to use the allocated zones. Their crowding the city centre frequently results in increase in violence and theft since many thieves masquerade amidst the crowded streets and use opportune moments to snatch, pickpocket or even strangle their victims in their attempt at stealing. By allowing the hawkers back into the city without designated lanes and a modus operandi the interests of the everyday nairobian has been periled at the altar of vote seeking.

At the same time the hawker’s plight for affair share of the market will be short lived since once the authorities are elected back into power the daily battles between the city council Askaris, the police and hawkers will resume with loss of innocent lives in the skirmishes. But who cares anyway!

We simply must not forget the injustices and the value of life that results due to faulty policies. For the Nairobi hawkers it may be the proverbial two months of honeymoon and four and a half years of hell. With the political leadership hoping to ride on the ignorance, forgetfulness and hunger of the hawkers.

Simply put even if the hawkers are allowed to operate within the city the same must not be an attempt at getting votes but should be under well laid out and thought out plans that adequately cater for the continued development of the city, enhanced security and benefit of the citizenry by and large!

24 October, 2007

Keep Nairobi Clean !

Nairobi is a beautiful city!a wonderful place to live in .To maintain its beauty its every nairobians civic duty to ensure it stays that way!

Every morning thousands of commuters travel to the city centre using public transportation.After paying the requisite fare they are normally issued with receipts.For the past one week or so i have been quite observant of the commuters after they alight from the buses.Interestingly most commuters after alighting do not hesitate to throw away their receipts haphazardly on the pavements,bus seats,road etc without any hesitation or their conscience bugging them.That kind of behaviour simply has to stop.

By necessity it is incumbent upon all Nairobians to ensure that the city stays clean.That is not the preserve of the City Council,its askaris or National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA)officials.

I have heard the priveledge of visiting several european cities and the level of cleanliness was astounding.In essence i am not saying that the europeans are beter than us but their citizenry evoke a high level of environmental consciousness.It is shameful and even absurd for a normal citizen in those countries to damp a sweet wrapper,receipt,garbage... etc haphazardly!And they maintain this high standard of cleanliness notwithstanding the presence or absense of securlar authorities.I believe the same sense of civic responsibility is within our reach!

There are many trash cans within the city centre so let us make use of them.Failure to do so indicates arrogance,dirtyness,lack of civility... etc.And at the end of the day we end up blaming the city council for not performing their duties while we have failed on our own.Nairobians next time you use a City Hoppa,KBS or Double M ,please ensure you dump the receipt in a trash can or pocket it.It is good manners !As for the transport companies please provide more trash bins at your passenger points with apolite notice for your customers to use the same.The receipts may be recycled at lesser cost to your benefit.

At the same time i call upon corporate sponsors to engage in a massive public education and sensitization programme against this vice after all this is part of Uraia mwema(good civic duty)!

19 October, 2007

Lucky Dube Is Dead !

Iconic African Reggae star renown for famous tunes such as 'liquor slave' 'prisoner' etc is dead after a botched car jacking attempt on thursday evening at Rossetenville, Johannesburg.Too sad for Africa to loose such a legendary artiste due to the cruel hand of a robbery attempt.

My sincere condolences to the family and the rest of his fan base!

18 October, 2007

Buru Buru Matatus-Madness or Menace!

Life in Nairobi is Interesting but it gets more interesting or rather annoying when you venture into its traffic system! Matatu is the swahili word for the Mini-vans (14-32 seater mini vans and buses) which are the predominant public mode of transportation.

The drivers of the matatus often contravene laid down traffic laws,rules and regulations sometimes with abject impunity as is the case of Buru Buru Matatus!While the 'Michuki (former Minister for transport) rules' stipulate that all public transportation vehicles shold be of one colour and have a painted yellow strip(ribbon) around them.Buru Buru matatu's dont have this.
Further they are the only matatus in the city that overload and carry excess passengers who have to stand(shame on the passengers-you are the ones taking Kenya backwards).They often drive on the kerb when there is traffic exhibiting gross impatience and break haphazardly!

Most of the matatus have tinted windows ,often play loud distorted music and usually have more than one turnboy (makanga!)usually around four.This is absurdness and has immensely contributed to pick pocketing!carjackings,sexual harassment etc.Sincerely are this matatus being owned by the policemen and is this a classic case of corruption that continues to steer this country down a road to apathy and self destruction? if not are all the traffic policemen on Jogoo Road and City center lacking the capacity to see or are they simply grossly lethargic?

Through this blog i raise my voice against the culture of impunity that continues to be displayed by certain members of the matatu fraternity and further strongly advocate the enforcement of measures that guarantee public safety!As for Double M transport Company Kudos, we hail you for being the choice customer friendly passenger service!

05 October, 2007

The Switch from Analog to Digital Tv!

Kenya is poised to change tv signal transmission from digital to analog .This is according to Kenya Minister for Information Hon.Mutahi Kagwe

While this is a ready welcome technological advancement, pertinent issues rise up!For one the National Environmental Management Authority(NEMA) should raise a red flag.This development will render redundant the hundred of thousands TV sets in the market.Atleast a majority of the households in Kenya own an analog TV,in the abscence of a set disposal mechanism or exchange criteria we shall have mountains of hazardous material in the form of unwanted tv's and this will definately have a negative impact on the environment.

So before we take the switch let us look at all logical consequencies and how to manage the adverse effects!Fellow brethren let us continue to environmentally conscious.ITS OUR WORLD AND THE ONLY ONE WE'VE GOT!LETS TAKE CARE OF IT!

03 October, 2007

When is Paypal Coming to Africa?

I must be among the many Africans who are wondering on the question' when is paypal coming to Africa?' and more particurlarly to Kenya.

The online system of payment operated by Paypal was founded in 1998,San Jose California and now boasts of operating 153 million accounts worldwide ,available in 190 markets and 17 currecies all over the world except in Africa.Due to its inadequate presence in hinterland Africa,the E-Commerce provider losses out on massive profits which it could rake in due to emerging robust markets in Africa.

PayPal boasts of being a safer, convenient and easier way to pay and get paid online. The service allows anyone to pay in any way they prefer, including through credit cards, bank accounts, buyer credit or account balances, without sharing sensitive financial information.Pay pal is currently owned by ebay pursuant to an acquisition in 2002.It is just too unfortunate that Paypal is continuing on a sluggish pace to venture into the African Market.We certainly deerve access to use of this service ...ama?

Songstress Valerie's new Album

Valerie Kimani of tusker project has finally launched a 13 track album entitled "Baisikeli" and from the sound of it as evidenced in this weeks Nsync programe on NTV hosted by Tim Njiru.The album is bound to be a rocker for those who love afro fusion,jazzlike/ neo soul kind of love ballads.

All though its too early to call the shots,im certain that there is earnest interest by critics and fans alike of all sorts to examine the album in the critics crucible and see whether it fits her having won the much famed Tusker project fame to the exclusion of her close rival Alvin. For the romantically inclined this is a must have album.

For now thumbs up valerie.cant wait to buy n listen to the cd it will be a recluse from the Genge kind of music that continues to dominate the Kenyan airwaves and which lacks lustre due to lack of content and foul language!

02 October, 2007

Ineptitude at Lands Office !

I lodged a duly filled application for an official search of a certain property at the central lands registry Ardhi house Nairobi some time in August.It is quite dissapointing that two months down the line i have not obtained a certified copy of the official search/title from the Lands Registrar.

Its not that the file is missing nor is it an isolated event as i am constantly engaged in conveyancing matters of this kind.Its basically ineptitude and inefficiency at the Lands registry.
There is an urgent need for what i may call an OPR an acronym standing for an Organisational Process Restructuring.The continued ineptitude and inneficiency at the lands registry does not only contribute to increased loss of earnings but also corruption.

An OPR should be undertaken with the input from Business Process Re-engineers so as to reinvent the modus operandi of the lands registry so that less resources are utilized to achieve greater utility value to the consumers who are in this instance the local mwananchi(citizen).

I am particurlarly impressed by the Companies Registry at Sheria House which has recently been restructered and had its service halls renovated to a modern look.The companies registry has also been computerised greatly aiding and improving service and retrieval of information at the Companies registry.But i Look foward to the time i can be able to search company information such as Directorship,shareholding ,name search... etc online.We must remember that a Company's file is basically public information and that anyone has a right to view and peruse this documents.It would also be prudent to enable company's be able to file Annual Returns online.This would achieve greater ease for investors to comply with this requirements and also enable the registrarof companies de- register defunct companies.

The lands registry should also be computerised and an online search facility be enabled.While it is true that the ministry has begun an attempt at computerisation of the registry as a strategic objective,the same is being done at a snail pace thereby increasing concerns for anyone transacting in lands. Land is a precious commodity and frequently investors/purchasers are called upon to search on the ownership and status of particular pieces of lands before commiting themselves for purchase of the same. The delay and hustles at the registry forces some to abandon their quests to purchase real property mid way.

Computerisation will curtail corruption to an extent, save time, energy and other expenses that need not be for the end user-the mwananchi.At this day and age it is highly embarrasing for one to wait months on end for a search because a photo copier machine has broken down at the Lands registry.Shame on you Mr. Kivutha Kibwana alongside with your Permanent secretary Mr Kombo Mweru, because the buck stops with you as the Minister for lands and PS consecutively.The continued ineptitude by the staff at Lands registry continues to hinder economic growth and ease of trade.Its so sad to see Kenyans treat matters of great importance casually and to frequently avoid embracing technological advancements just to save jobs of people who are chronically lethargic and ineficient at most times.

Hon.Kivutha Kibwana
Reform the Lands registry now!That may be more important and urgent than a clamor for a new Constitution!

01 October, 2007

Nakumatt Westgate!

Kudos to the retail giants Nakumatt Holdings Ltd for setting up the 24 hrs-7 days a week multi million shillings store Nakumatt Westgate at westlands(A first of its kind in East Africa).The most attractive feature of the new convenience store is that it is virtually operational 24 hours a day making it convenient for its shoppers.300x100

Other industries should follow suit especially those in the service sector.The 21st Century simply has no space for sleeping dogs to lie.However the retail group is sleeping with regards to its website.It is hardly updated, visually un-appealing and does not offer the convenience of purchasing goods online.The internet has become such a powerful medium for e-commerce and many superstores have virtually gone online.Nakumatt has to follow suit in order to maintain a leading edge in the industry both locally and internationally.

Mr Thiagarajan Ramamurthy, the operations director of Nakumatt alongside with your marketing counterpart,take heed and diversify at the same time go regional in order to maintain and enhance your competitiveness as a superstore!

Electoral Code of Conduct-Kenya

Its an election year and most Kenyans are virtually euphoric in the support of the Leader they deem fit to lead the country for the next five years.

Interestingly all the campaigns have started on a high notch with President Mwai Launching his bid for Presidency this saturday to a mammoth crowd at Nyayo Naational stadium.With the onset of the campaigns the work of the Electoral Commision of Kenya(ECK) now truly begins.I have just looked at the ECK website and found it to be quite nice.Actually one of the best websites in terms of Government/Statutory bodies website.My main interest was to find out what does the electoral code stipulate in terms of enforcement of breaches by political parties against the code of conduct.

Unfortunately the Electoral commision seems to be atoothless bulldog,more precisely a bulldog that doesnt want to bite.The website lists(for the link http://www.eck.or.ke/index.php/Laws-and-Regulations-Governing-Elections/The-Election-Offences-Act.html) Acts of Parliament,laws and regulations that it is seized with enforcing .But i am more specifically interested in their rider after theElections Offences acts i.e. :

"As the title indicates this is the Act which contains and creates Offences
relating to registration of voters and election and the punishment of offenders.
By making it an offence to tamper with the voters’ register it enhances its
security and integrity. It forbids bribery of voters, and generally,
electoral corruption, intimidation and coercion of voters and candidates.
Indeed if it were enforced fully the conduct of elections in Kenya would be
I find this to be bi-partisan, defeatist and an excuse by the body not to perform its statutory obligations.As per the Civil Service Code of Conduct and the Electoral Code of Conduct, Civil Servants are not supposed to actively participate in promotion of a political candidate but evidently both opposition and Government rallies have featured Government resources and or Government employees(one being a diplomat) actively promote a certain candidate.
Obviously this demonstates that human elections wherever they may be cannot fail to have improprieties and two that those seized in enforcing enabling laws and statutes while expected to be neutral and forthright will always continue to turn a blind eye on manifest infringement of the said laws!
Free and fair elections! hardly not here not in America!Prevailing interests will always prevail.Indeed democracy is just a term that exists in the books and at best has been dictatorship by the majority!


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