Saturday, September 29, 2007


I'm writing this in the hope that our Council will rouse itself from its perpetual slumber to address the condition of the roads in this 'city' which are it's responsibility.

Now, that the Ministry has taken notice and is fixing the ones that fall under it, the majority of Mombasa roads, unfortunately fall under our questionable and foggy Council. Some of the roads have not been 'touched' since Independence, judging from the condition they have now become.

While they collect huge amounts from all over in the form of various taxes, rates, etc., due to their (the Council), bloated and corrupt condition, they are perpetually running out of cash. Also, it's been quite a while since anybody did an audit of their accounts.

One such road is the Liwatoni Road on which reside many, industries who pay this Council a very fat sum every year, month, etc., in licenses, rates & taxes, not to mention the road and fuel levy via the petrol/diesel that their cars, lorries & trucks consume almost on a daily basis. Then, to add insult to injury, because of the awful condition of the access road, they also have to pay extra for the many breakdowns that these vehicles go through, in maintenance. This last, if it was any other more accountable and organized country, the Council would have been taken to task and probably court for the damage their incompetence creates. In fact, it would be a very good idea if all of the businesses and people who are compelled to use this awful road (and any other, for that matter), would get together and sue this horrible non-performing Council.

Another suggestion would be that they return the 'road' to the condition it was in before tarmac was applied to it, i.e. make it into a murrum one, again. This would at least be less damaging to the vehicles plying it.

Because, when it comes to collecting their dues, this Council and the rest of our government seems to be very efficient, including KRA, but, when it's time to use this money they have collected to offer services, they start singing the same old and tired song of, 'we don't have money'! Could they please explain to the public what happens to the millions that the govt. collects in road/fuel levy that it collects almost on a daily basis? After all we have millions of vehicles filling up all over the country on any given day. What exactly do they do with this money?

Also, there's a railway line passing through and I'm sure that due to the condition of this road, there are many trains that get derailed. Ironically, the KPLC emergency offices are also accessed via this same horrible road. Getting there for customers is an awful experience and some 'tuk tuks' refuse to take you there or go anywhere along that road for fear of damage to their vehicles and/or overturning due to the huge pot-holes. And what about the emergency cars and trucks from KPLC using this EVERY SINGLE DAY?!!!

Then, our traffic police tell us that our vehicles are unroadworthy. It's more like our vehicles are not made for such horrible roads as we find in this country!

Both Muslim and Christian noise

I've written many emails, many times regarding this topic, but, they have made little difference, it seems. For a while, I thought that the mosque in my neighbourhood had got the message and even understood it, but, enter the Holy month of Ramadhan and everything is back at square one!

What I cannot understand is that (and I am a practicing Muslim), why the Adhan has to be given at an HOUR before the actual dawn prayer and later that one, too? This was definitely NOT the practice of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), nor of the early Muslims immediately after him. Then, we do have clocks with alarms to wake us up for either prayer (Tahajjud) and/or the early breakfast before starting the fast. We are not, fortunately, living in times gone by when we didn't have a way of telling us the time and used to rely on the call to prayer for many things. Therefore, there is no need to disturb the Muslim and non-Muslim alike by giving this early Adhan needlessly.

Then, there is a so-called Muslim fanatic who insists on adding to the racket by going around loudly and angrily shouting at all the houses/flats in this neighbourhood to get up for prayers. Doesn't matter that many are non-Muslims and even the Muslims don't need his nasty way of waking them up! If, he or even the mosque Imam, know their faith, there is no compulsion in religion as truth stand out clear from error. In case, they don't, the verse I'm referring to comes immediately after the famous 'verse of the Throne (Ayatul Kursi)' in the second Chapter of our Holy Book, the Qur'an.

Considering this Imam and all the others like him, insist on reciting the holy Qur'an on the loud speakers EVERY SINGLE DAY after the Asr prayers, don't they understand what they read? First, when the Qur'an is being recited, people are requested to pay attention and listen to it. And like I've mentioned before, how many are really doing this, at the time? Therefore, it's an insult to the holy words being recited with not many paying any attention to them. It is also disturbing the peace, when, should we want to recite on our own at home, we cannot concentrate. Is the Imam compelling us and/or dictating to us when we can recite the Qur'an? I truly hope and pray he isn't, God forbid. What about the fact that he is and might be disturbing the sick, elderly and the non-Muslim in this estate? Or is he compelling them, too, to listen?

Then, there is no difference between a Muslim, who described in the Holy Qur'an as one who enjoins good and forbids evil.... or one of another faith and is he going to defend his actions by saying that, that is what he is doing by reciting the Qur'an loudly. But, how many can understand what he is saying? Even himself, for that matter, because, I don't think his teachings are having much effect on his congregation. Because, immediately that they break their fast and leave the mosque after the sunset prayer, they, start making a lot of noise and some insist on setting off my car alarm EVERY SINGLE DAY at every opportunity they get, on their way to wherever they might be going! Is this what he is teaching his congregation - to have no respect for another's property and disturb others?

Now, to come to the Christians.... They, too, make a racket every single working day over the lunch hour at Mombasa Women's Hall. I thought that they worshiped on Sundays, only, and the Seventh Day Adventists (SDA), do so on Saturdays. But, this too is not supposed to be loud and for HOURS on end! The ones who meet on weekdays at lunch time (for nearly 2 hours!), at the MWA hall, are from the Neno Evangelism as I've seen their huge bus that arrives outside the hall everyday.

The little church belonging to the 'Jesus Victory Temple', despite it's small size, uses huge speakers to the detriment of the patients at Aga Khan Hospital and the residents of our estate including Star of the Sea School. I think these people have joined up with the Neno Evangelists.

It is my observation that while we have so many 'religious' institutions sprouting up all over the country, it is directly proportional to the numbers of crooks among us! Despite making a show of being religious, there is NOTHING of the awareness of God, among most of us. It is now a matter of showing off rather than true piety. If piety was the criterion for going to attend church and mosque services, would we be disturbing others in the process? And wouldn't it have made a difference to our behaviour and attitude, too? Instead we're going from bad to worse, unfortunately.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Demise of the neighbourhood neem tree!

I got up to find that the one and only neighbourhood neem tree is being chopped off! I immediately rang up the local offices of NEMA and talked to the Provincial Environment Officer, Mr. Ochieng, but as soon as I told him who I was, he started laughing and when I told him about the neem tree being made past tense, he laughed further and asked me about who had planted it. I told him the Municipal Council, years ago (during colonial times), and then he said something that proved beyond a shadow of doubt that the NEMA officers, at least in this town (city?), are just there to have a glorified holiday. He told me to contact the Council about it. When I told him that they did not have any working land line and did not know anybody's mobile number, he laughed further. This attitude irked me beyond belief and I threatened that I would take pictures of it and send to everybody as proof and without waiting for his reply, hung up.

The pictures, of course speak for themselves and I've made an arrow pointing out the Councillor who lives downstairs to me and who is overseeing the cutting of the tree.

This is the 3rd time over the years that these people have been bent on cutting this tree. The previous two times, I was successful in arresting it, but, I think today, all that is going to remain of it will be a sorry looking stump. As I write this, the cutting is going on in earnest, despite them having seen me taking the photographs. How insolent can our Council, get?!

All this is happening with impunity because, the contentious well (see my previous emails with pics), has been allowed to 'develop'. Now, there will be no end to the lawlessness taking place in this estate, unfortunately....