Saturday, July 31, 2010

36th outage....

It is nearly exactly 24 hours since we last had outage number 36! That

is the power got back at 6.00 pm after it did a disappearing act without
an explanation at 5.00 pm.

Everybody whose numbers I have was unavailable except Ms Faith Njuguna.
Unfortunately, she couldn't give me a reason for the outage, either. I'm
still waiting.

Most of our outages in the North Coast area happen with no satisfactory
reason or explanation. I wonder why that is the case....?! KPLC is
taking it's customers for granted since they know that to be able to
live in the 21st Century, we desperately need their, in this case
(dis)services. Without this, we go back at least 2 centuries and all our
work disintegrates into chaos! Some even go out of business thanks to KPLC.

Considering we are trying to eradicate poverty, KPLCs erratic 'services'
don't help matters......, for their information.

So, are we EVER going to be given an apology and an explanation for
their shoddy services?

Friday, July 30, 2010

35th outage....

Yesterday, we had a day long power outage despite the day before having been highly frustrating with frequent outages (see my 2 emails of the day before on my blog), and fluctuations.

How can anybody do anything worthwhile with such an unaccountable service provider? Will we ever progress or even earn our daily bread predictably?

Considering we pay an arm and a leg for this so-called service, it is an insult to consumers when we get ridiculous answers to our various questions and a horrible service to match!

I was told that it was a planned outage and that service would be resumed at 5.00 pm. The reason this time was that KPLC was connecting power to the Show Grounds. Do they do this every year at around this time? If so, why not have a permanent supply there, so that they don't inconvenience and disrupt all the residences and businesses around there? We truly live in a banana republic!

And of course, the power which I was told would resume at 5.00 pm never did come back at that time. This too, is a fairy story that they advertise and tell us everytime without keeping their word. It finally did at about 5.45 pm after numerous calls, some unanswered and the remaining between the new Customer Relations Manager, Ms. Faith Njuguna (who was on her way back to Msa), and I. She is the one who managed to get the various people responsible to answer her phone calls.

But, does one have to resort to this every time there's an outage or fluctuation messing us up? What is the matter with KPLC?

Monday, July 26, 2010

30th, 31st, 32nd & 34th outages and fluctuations...

KPLC is really 'earning' its new name that I have given them - Kenya

Weakness & Darkness! Especially, from early this morning regarding which
I have already written earlier.

This afternoon, we had one outage which lasted a couple of minutes which
despite being just a few, can do untold damage. And just now, which has
prompted the present email - we have been having fluctuations and if one
is using Sollatek devices, these switch off any equipment hooked up to
them. This is highly irritating and one wonders which is worse, having
our equipment switched off umpteen times in a day or having them pack up
on you. Both are!

Is it at all possible for KPLC to give a smooth and uneventful power
supply which they are supposed to do? And will they pay damages for
their incompetence? In more accountable countries, that is what would
happen and that is one reason that it is very rare to have fluctuations
and outages even during extreme weather conditions. And should it go
off, it's restored promptly and predictably unlike this banana republic
that we live in where not even KPLC knows what is exactly wrong and how
long it will take.


PS - It has just gone off, yet again, and while I was talking to Mr.
Musau, again, on the phone, come on and went off again all within
minutes and seconds!

The 26th, 27th, 28th & 29th outage.....

We had an outage late afternoon on Friday last week at around 5.15 pm.

This time I called the new Customer Relations Manager, Ms. Faith who has
taken over from Mr. Vidzo. She is very polite and helpful and promised
me that she would call the emergency and find out and then get back to
me as soon as she had. This she did promptly and I hope and pray that
the practice will continue considering the number of outages this area
has in a day, even.

I had mentioned to her on that day that we hoped that we would not have
outages messing up our weekend and sure enough, they did not. It was
such a relief!

But, this largesse was short lived for as soon as early morning dawned
today on the stroke of 5.00 am the power went off. I rang up Mr. Mbaluka
who promptly switched off his phone so, I rang up the helpful Mr. Musau
who equally promptly answered unlike his colleague. He told me that they
would send a team to investigate.

Now, this bothers me and I have mentioned this many times in my missives
in the past. Since the North Coast of Mombasa has more outages than it's
believed possible, why doesn't KPLC get themselves established in a
branch emergency office, here? It would be so much faster to deal with
our consistent outages as well as prove to be much cheaper transport
wise than the present arrangement of coming all the way from right
across town, across our one and only access road the Nyali Bridge and to
wherever the problem is in the North Coast.

Consider the fact, that this one and only access to the North Coast -
the 'bridge', is usually choke a block with bumper to bumper traffic and
other insane road users plus the added disadvantage of it not being wide
enough for the growing traffic.

Imagine the time and money wasted by KPLC if their 'teams' are stuck in
this traffic. Officialdom has not seen it fit to have alternative roads
and bridges built with their usual myopic vision, over the years. In
fact, myopically they removed a landmark floating bridge which would
have really come in handy in more ways than one, had it been still
there. But, that is a topic for another email....

Now, to get back to the latest 2 outages of this morning. When the power
had still not returned after nearly 45 minutes, I called Mr. Musau,
again to find out what the problem was and when it would return. His
answer really fascinates me. He told me that they were still checking
out the problem and had no idea when it would return, but, it would be
soon.... Whatever that meant!

After about 5 minutes of this call, the power came back to my relief.
But it went off again after a few minutes. So, I called Mr. Musau, yet
again. This time he told me that this 'on/off' was due to them checking
the line. Again, I asked him how long this was going to happen for and
his answer caused my above mentioned fascination. He said that he did
not know as this line was very long and they were checking it and it
depended on where and how many problems they encountered along the way.

I tried asking him why in the nearly 50 years of our so-called
Independence, they and their higher ups had not simplified this work,
but, he claimed that he could not hear me. How convenient and so much
for our mobile telephony!

Oh, as I am writing this, the power went off again, and then I called
Mr. Musau he told me that they are still checking this long line and
could I please call his colleague Mr. Chama (whose number I fortunately
have), who is at the place doing this and would be able to give me
better information. Well, I just did and he told me it would be back in
two minutes and sure enough it did, thank God.

But, one wonders for how long.....? And who will pay for the damages to
our equipment with this constant on/off situation. Even our Sollatek
devises pack up. Maybe, some of the lawyers who reside here and are
members of the NCRRA and are recipients of this email would be
interested in carrying this issue further.....?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

.....25th outage for 'maintenance'.....

Yesterday morning, the power went off for a supposed maintenance at about 9.15 am and while it was advertised that it would be back by 5.00 pm, it was not restored till more than 2 hours later at around 7.10 pm!

The reason I was given for this late restoration was that they had been doing a 'big' job! Whatever that meant!!! This will also not mean that we will not get outages of the unplanned variety, of course.

Because, just a few hours later, early this morning, there were fluctuations and trying to call the emergency numbers was futile. Nobody answers this supposed 24 hour 'service' at KPLC. If they do, by some miracle, one encounters a very sleepy voice which has to orient itself to it's 'job'.

This is not the first time that KPLC has been 'maintaining' its work and not keeping time restoring power later in the day. That advert that they put is just window dressing. KPLC is no longer the prompt and efficient service provider of yester years when they were the most reliable ones around and accountable. Alas, no longer are they that way.

They are going the same way as most of our other 'service' providers, unfortunately.

This maintenance outage will not mean that we will have an uninterrupted power supply till their next maintenance, either. So, look out, everybody!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Noisy announcements...

This morning at around 9.00 am, a car fitted with huge speakers and loud music drove around our neighbourhood in Nyali announcing something at ear-splitting decibels. And this is not the first time, either. Why?

And who allows this intrusion into our lives? I was later told that they were announcing some prayer meeting at Tononoka grounds. But, couldn't these people have used the other media like radio and/or t.v. to do this? Are they under the impression that we still live some one and a half century back when they had to inform people in this way. Come to think of it, there weren't any radios either, i.e. not everybody had them like now. Therefore, people went about using drums to attract attention and carrying placards with announcements written in various languages as the invention of the loud speaker was yet to come and very few people had cars.

Now, not only do we have cars which cost a lot of money to run in fuel (who pays for it?), but, nearly everybody has a radio though not a t.v. So, these announcements can be made via that media. And the few who don't even have a radio, will most likely be a very tiny minority who
will get their friends telling them about it.

But, there is absolutely no need for a vehicle to go around like in a typical banana republic making a racket everywhere! In fact, I have not noticed such a thing happening in even Nairobi. Why does officialdom allow this? Don't they know that while they might not have caught up,
the rest of the world including most in this country are supposed to be living in the 21st century?

.....24th outage....

I'm a day late writing this. In fact, there would have been no need to do so, if it had not been for our 'Kenya Weakness & Darkness' which is the new name (they know about it), I've given of late to KPLC,, letting us down, again.

We, in the North Coast, had another outage at about 9.45 am yesterday and I would probably have been informed of it by my friend Mr. Musau, who usually does me this favour. But, this time he could not since a tree, according to him, fell on the power lines supplying us, without
due notice.

It seems that trees are really falling all over the place and one gets the impression that there are so many of them and they only choose to fall where power lines exist. This gives our KPLC unwarranted license to go around chopping off branches to such an extent that the only thing
left of the poor tree is it's trunk! They might as well chop off the whole thing as it affords no shade or anything and it becomes quite an eyesore.

Now, judging by the numbers of trees falling on our power lines, one gets the impression that reforestation is really getting into its own in Coast Province, while the opposite is the case. So, I don't understand KPLC's favourite excuse most times we have an outage. In fact, we don't
have enough trees! And yesterday, we did not even have torrential rains to justify this falling tree.

Are our trees having questionable root systems, too, like the foundations of our many concrete structures, due to which so many of them collapse?! Is there a solution to this? I mean, the trees falling so often and so that they don't choose to fall on power lines?

Fortunately, the outage, yesterday, lasted exactly 20 minutes just like Mr. Musau had promised me it would. But, this does not mean that we can accept that. It still messes us up.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Noise in the name of religion...

Why do certain religions insist on practicing their faith at ear splitting levels even in residential areas where peace and quiet should prevail? I have written about this many times over the years but, despite there now being a law passed by NEMA regarding noise pollution, very little enforcement of it is apparent. Why is this?Why is it that when one complains about religious noise to officialdom, and especially from the mosques, everybody is terrified of doing anything about it? If there is a law regarding noise, it should be enforced, since the law is not denying these institutions from worshiping but, the people objecting have an objection to them doing so loudly.

Since God is not deaf (Astaghfirullah), and He can hear the most silent of prayers, one gets the impression from the loud worship that the worshipers would like the whole world to know howholy they are. This smacks of hypocrisy. One reaches the conclusion while suffering from this noise that these people are more bothered about what the people on the outside think than what their Maker does.

Take Islam and Muslims for instance - the numerous mosques have no need to be heard beyond their immediate neighbourhoods and therefore do not need to use public address systems even for the call to prayer, because every neighbourhood has at least one mosque if not more, so whom exactly are they calling for prayers? People on the other side of town? For their information, those places too, have their own neighbourhood mosques, so there is no need.

Then, when the Imam starts leading the prayers, there is no need for him to be heard outside the mosque since he is not leading the ones outside the confines of the mosque in prayer and it is not valid either, anyway, for someone to follow the Imam while for example he/she is at home. So, why should he add to the noise by being heard outside?

Also, in the entire history of Islam and the practices of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), calls for prayers have never been given a whole hour before the actual time in the early morning. In Mombasa, this happens at 4.00 am. Of course, if somebody wants to say supererogatory prayers it is a very private affair and there is no need to give the call to prayer for it. Also, in this day and age we have alarm clocks, etc., and those of us who are interested in praying will get up of our own free will and there is no need for mosques to disturb non-Muslims among us. Why should they be disturbed? There's freedom of religion, remember?

Now that Ramadhan is just about a month away, most non-Muslims and even some Muslims are dreading the continuous racket that we will have to endure for a whole month in the name of freedom of religion. Because, of the loud recitation of the Holy Qur'an after the mid-afternoon prayers as well as the Tarawih prayers at night. It is really awful and disturbs even the Muslims who are praying at home, the sick and the elderly.

Can the authorities please draw a line between freedom of faith and noise making? And enforce their law about noise pollution, please?

This is also on behalf of the NCRRA, btw.

.....Ad infinitum.... and counting outages - resumed counting ....21st, 22nd 23rd....

It was highly ironic that when I got home from a meeting of the North Coast Ratepayers & Residents Association, last night where one of our biggest grouch and frustration were the frequent and irritating not to mention highly expensive outages in this area - I returned to a very dark neighbourhood! I found out from our watchmen that darkness had descended in the neighbourhood at around 9.00 pm. Earlier in the afternoon there had been an outage, too, with no explanation, of course.

Then, twice in the course of the night and early this morning there were fluctuations. At about 2.10 pm this afternoon, the good Mr. Musau from KPLC, called me (very considerate of him), to inform me that they were going to switch the power off around my area for about an hour. Like
everytime, I tried finding out what it was all about and his only response was that they were fixing something and needed to switch off for about an hour.

While all this is very nice of KPLC to inform me that they were taking off the power, what of all the other residents in this area? I'm sure, they would be in the middle of some work and these frequent outages are highly inconvenient. What is the cause of all these outages, anyway? And
why doesn't KPLC tell us the reason? They behave very suspiciously when they don't give us any specific explanation for these outages. It has reached a point where hardly a day goes by without fluctuations and/or outages.

From now onwards I will be writing these emails and also on other issues on behalf of the North Coast Ratepayers and Residents Association (NCRRA), of which I an now a member plus it's writing spokesperson.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Traffic jams....

Some time back, I had promised to write this email about the traffic

jams, especially in the Nyali area but this one covers the ones in
Mombasa and environs.

Within Mombasa proper, the jams are mostly created by narrow roads and
total lawlessness practiced not just by vehicles, big and small which
are increasing in number on a daily basis, but, suicidal pedestrians who
never look left or right before setting foot in the path of an oncoming

Unfortunately, most of our road reserves have been allocated by our
useless Council to politically correct individuals and they have been
built upon, so much that it is going to be something next to impossible
to remove the structures without a mini riot. Everything in this country
is politicized beyond belief!

Right, to get back to the jams.... As the roads cannot be increased or
widened, but new vehicles keep increasing with no regulation about
where, which ones can or cannot go, is another case in point. Take for
example, encountering a huge trailer, lorry or any such monster on an
Old Town lane. There's hardly any room for this monstrosity to maneuver,
but, they trudge along by hook or by crook and there's nothing or nobody
to stop this from happening. To add to this, these town centre roads
have not been built to take the load of such heavy vehicles nor is the
drainage system (non-existent, in fact), capable of draining excess
water from the roads. The combination of heavy loads and faulty or
questionable drainage systems, lead to huge pot-holes even in, on and
around bumps which are of a variety of width and height. There are no
standards that are have been followed and they have been 'planted' all
over the place indiscriminately.

One wonders why the Council puts up these bumps when it cannot fix the
roads. Drivers would have to be very drunk or stark raving mad to speed
on such roads, anyway. Therefore, officialdom should either keep roads
in good repair or remove the bumps. The presence of both creates ROAD
RAGE, especially when one takes into account the kinds of other
irritants that road and side-walk users have to put up with.

Our public transport is one of the most unruly imaginable and they
follow even fewer rules of the road than the general public. They give
wrong signals or none and expect that everybody around them is gifted
with reading their pea-brains except themselves. First, it was just the
matatus that people had to put up with, but now, tuk tuks have added to
the insanity. These two breeds are totally selfish and nuts. Add to this
breed, the learner drivers who have proliferated every nook and cranny
of town and environs. I don't know what these people are taught, but,
immediately that these learners get their licenses and get behind a
steering wheel they forget, if they have ever been taught and passed
their tests legally, all the road rules and become as insane or over
cautious as the others. They add to the insanity on our roads. No
regulation here, either.

Cyclists are very scary, too. They ride under atrocious conditions and
it must be a nightmare for them to ride their bikes. I truly pity them,
but, they really should also abide by traffic rules. They don't.

Next, are the mkokotenis, for whom one really sympathizes for the loads
that they push to earn their daily bread, but, they too behave
insolently towards other road users and are sometimes like runaway
buffaloes around slopes and God help anybody to gets in their way. They
are totally uncontrollable.

Then, there are the herds of goats in town with no visible person who
tends to them. One gets a sneaky feeling that the Council has
deliberately distributed them around town to deal with overflowing
garbage! Unfortunately, the owners of the goats have not taken the time
to make their charges urban set-up friendly and the poor goats are under
the mistaken impression that they are still moving in a rural setting
where they can roam wherever they like without hindrance and take their
time in doing so, too.

Talking about goats, brings another farm animal into the picture - the
cows! People who live in Nyali must have noticed that not only is there
only one access road to the North Coast of Mombasa, the Nyali bridge and
all of the above mentioned hindrances to them making their way into or
out of town frustrating, but, there is a herd of cows which appear off
and on on the Nyali road between the turn off for Mkomani and the turn
off for Nakumatt Cinemax. This afternoon they were calmly chewing cud
outside the entrance to the Fishette and other restaurants and offices
in that building. These animals get into the road either to sit or cross
causing traffic jams. I wonder whom they belong to....?!

Are all these goats and cows allowed where they are found? Maybe, they
belong to somebody who has a connection with some politician. After all,
there is no rule of law in this country which politicians or a person
close to them is bound to follow. They can and have been known to break
any law that suits their purpose. The rest of the country can go jump in
the nearest body of water for all they care.

During the rainy season, the pot-holes increase in leaps and bounds. So,
everybody who uses these roads have to be very careful where they put
their foot or wheel. Of course, the people responsible for the
maintenance of these roads and who collect millions everyday in road and
fuel levy are very averse to fixing their shoddily built roads and they
need to be taught a lesson, by people suing them for damages either to
their persons or their vehicles. It is like adding salt to wounds.
First, these crooks collect huge amounts of money from the citizens,
i.e. road users in taxes and then their work or lack of it, causes
injury. Is this justice?

In fact, there is not a single new road that has been built since
Independence in Coast Province, especially the second largest town in
the country and a main Port, Mombasa. What are these people doing with
all the money that they collect everyday? So much of it is from Coast
Province and in particular Mombasa. Why isn't all this put back into
improving this historical town? Anybody out there who will take
responsibility for all this mess?