Thursday, May 31, 2012

The opaque workings of Kenya Power...

Since the beginning of this week, our redoubtable 'power' company has again started it's obnoxious business of plunging most of North Coast into darkness without a word of warning, apology or explanation.

As usual, their phones go unanswered for HOURS on end and when finally, one is picked up, they can offer no explanation or even be able to tell us when we'll return to the 21st Century, again from the dark ages!

It seems that Kenya Power, like the National Security, has a policy of being highly secretive about it's operations. The last time (about a week ago), when they gave a full page advert/explanation by their CEO in the Weekend Star, I even felt a twinge of guilt for picking on them everytime we have an outage, but, not anymore. Not after the past couple of days and especially today.

How can a power company which charges an arm and a leg function in such an unprofessional, unethical, irresponsible and haphazard manner? How dare they have such insolent employees who do not care about answering their phones, who have phantom emergency numbers which hardly ever work or are answered effectively (they have discovered the automated answer system which tells you to wait till a line is free and one can hold on for ages as though one was calling a toll-free number), and satisfactorily from the customer's point of view, of course.

In fact, should we miraculously manage to get through to a human at the emergency number, we will find that they are totally at sea regarding your outage! They are a very frustrating lot while some are quite impertinent, too.

Just before I started writing this email, we had two very quick outages of a couple of minutes. Why? After all, we haven't had power most of the day starting very early in the morning around 4.30 am. Of course, as I mentioned earlier we've been having early morning outages the past couple of days and also later in the evening around sunset. And while today's first outage lasted for nearly 5 hours (it came back at around 10.45 am), we lost it again, after an hour, and it continued that way - off and on for most of the day.

How long is this going to continue and at what point will Kenya Power get its act together and give us a continuous and predictable supply without suddenly without warning force us to travel through time (they've discovered the secret of time travel of science fiction!), when artificial light/electricity had not been discovered, yet?

And yes, those people of yester years were also as uncouth as the employees of Kenya Power in the way they treated others.


What has been suggested by one of our estate's residents' would be a good test for this aspiring Governer-to-be... 

Let's see how and when he's going to react.

We urgently need a change of 'scenery' in the political arena where we are very FED UP of half baked (semi-and illiterate), money guzzling politicians who only show themselves just before election time and/or in public barazas where they spew hot air with little or no action!


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Toby Darugar <>
Date: Mon, May 28, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Hi Fauziya,
Thanks for your email. Well Suleiman Shabal will have full support of Umoja Estate and the neighbours which are not les than 200 families.
Every rainy season we all suffer floods on our roads which is also a short cut to links road.
We have complained to the authorities, but no response !
If you have contact with Mr Suleiman, then please forward this mail for his assistance.

Hope for the Coast Province, very inspiring. Spare 9min to listen to it.
Please spread to other people it concernes.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Road Engineers are a shame to Kenya

From: odhiambo okecth <>
Date: Fri, May 18, 2012 at 2:43 PM
Subject: Re: Road Engineers are a shame to Kenya
Cc: PK <>, Kiswahili <>

Well stated.

Can you share this on the blogs Raziya?


--- On Fri, 5/18/12, Raziya Mohamedali  wrote:

From: Raziya Mohamedali
Subject: Re: Road Engineers are a shame to Kenya
To: "odhiambo okecth" <>
Date: Friday, May 18, 2012, 1:24 AM

Yes, Oketch! You're so very right.

These roads engineers are upto something. They do the shoddiest of jobs which after every rainfall results in their 'work' (if you can even call it THAT!), gets washed away. Why is this?

There is also the matter of being discriminate regarding the kinds of vehicles allowed on most urban roads.

Unfortunately, ALL kinds of vehicles are allowed on ALL of our roads, indiscriminately causing not just traffic jams in urban centres but, the roads also get damaged because they are not made to carry such heavy traffic, e.g. trailers, lorries, trucks, containers, etc. If you add this kind of traffic to shoddily made roads with questionable drainage, the results are the pathetic roads we now have to use to our detriment. 

These kinds of roads and legislation, cause accidents, damage to life and property and of course our public transport system adds to the chaos. All of them are extremely unruly and undisciplined.

So, despite paying heavy taxes, we still suffer more pain and loss!

Re: Road Engineers are a shame to Kenya Part 2

Oketch, after reading all
of these emails regarding 
the condition of roads in
Kenya, I agree with you, 

For an example of road 
width that you've mentioned, there is a brand 'new' road linking beach road to the main Msa/Malindi road, which 
the 'powers that be' have built. I went on that road just to check it out because I was told about it by a Councillor Mwalimu who is a member of our North Coast Rate payers and Residents Association (NCRRA), and who is also our area Councillor. 

When I went on the 'brand new' road which is supposed to filter the traffic jams, it is so narrow, you wouldn't believe. In this case, there is good drainage on the side but open and the narrow brand new road twists and turns and would be highly dangerous because it's very narrow. 

If a car (forget about 
mad matatu and other
public transport), was 
to come in the opposite 
direction, the vehicle 
towards the open drainage
ditch would end up in that
trying to avoid it!

Then, there's no street
lighting, either.

So, when you're being 
challenged about the 
competence of roads
engineers, give them 
this very living and 
latest example.

As far as these politicians
are concerned, they 
just want to show on their
records that they built
a new road. Nobody bothers to inspect if what they built is practical for use.

In fact, in our subsequent
meeting of the NCRRA
I asked our Councillor 
this same question and 
he just shrugged and told 
us that, that's what we
had wanted and it was
built!!! So, why are we 
still complaining?!

It didn't seem to matter
to him that the road in
question was very impractical for traffic let alone heavy traffic. There is also no room that I could see for it's expansion.

Oh, I could carry on 
and on, ad infinitum,
regarding this and other
service delivery issues
but, will stop, for now.

On Sun, May 20, 2012 at 2:03 PM, odhiambo okecth <> wrote:

Herr Ezekiel,

You have raised the levels on this debate to acceptable standards. This is what we really want at The Clean Kenya Campaign- TCKC-

I want to start by agreeing with you on the aspect of maintenance. Those who are employed to do this are sleeping on the job. We have Provincial and District Road Engineers across all Kenya, and they are Engineers. They are a shame to all Road Engineers.

Secondly, what is the scientific wisdom that makes one build a Road that develops cracks and holes two months after Commissioning? I pointed out to Roads that were built in Europe in the 1930's as still being strong as they were built. What makes ours wear out withing two Months of completion?

Thirdly, and I want an honest opinion here; are our Road Engineers happy with their Professional Competence in Kenya? Are they happy with the standards of Roads they are building for us? A drive around all our Roads reveal the kind of scientific incompetence we are referring to. We do not have any single Road with a smooth continuous stretch of 50 meters! Just take a drive anywhere across Kenya and you will confirm this.

Does this tell us anything about the Professionalism or lack of it of these chaps?

Fourthly, the science of Road building involves a few things and I want to look at some;
  1. Topographical Sampling; I want to believe that before any Road is constructed, the soil samples for the earmarked area must be taken and studied. I have two clear cases I want to make reference to in this piece; 1; From Timboroa towards Burnt Forest, we have a section that makes you very sick. There are no cracks and no pot-holes. But the Road has developed bumps- very unpleasant bumps. One is tempted to ask; Who built this Road? Was he a Roads Engineers or was he a Brewer? Secondly, Mai Mahiu Road has just been opened after being closed for about 5 Days because the Road developed cracks and the sides were washed off. Now, as you build a Road, is there need to take care of such cases; Drainages. Most of our Roads are built without any consideration of such a basic necessity for any Road; Drainage. This again begs the question; Was this Road designed by a Roads Engineer or by a Brewer?
  2. Design; All Roads are designed after careful studies. During the Design stages, I want to believe that some little thinking is involved. Because you are an Engineer, and even in Brewing, some thinking is involved, you look at what course the Road will take. You look at the soil situation, the gradient levels, the hills, the rivers and all. You then come up with a Design that meets the levels of your trained competence. Now, going by some of the Road Designs we have seen, can you be convinced that someone applied some level of thinking in coming up with those Designs? Some Designs leave some of us bewildered. It makes us ask, was this the works of a Road Engineer or a Brewer?
  3. Drainage System; Drainage is a must component in any Road Construction. In our Lay World, we all know that Tarmac and Water are never the best of friends. And this is why in any meaningful Road Construction, the first things they work to put in place are the Drainage Systems. But take a walk across Kenya and report back to us which Road in Kenya has a functional Drainage System. Whenever it drizzles in Nairobi, you are on your own. Now, when it rains, all come to a stand still, because of the incompetence of these rudderless people calling themselves Road Engineers. In fact, they must never talk where we are! You cannot build a Road without building a functional Drainage System. Take a keen look at what our Road Engineers build for Drainage and you will laugh all the way to the Bar for a cold Guinness. They are open ended things heading nowhere. When it rains, they drain all the water onto the Road. And they call themselves Road Engineers these Brewers
  4. Size and width; When constructing a Road, I want to believe that the size and width of the said Road is very important.I want to ask, what is this scientific wisdom of building very narrow Roads for us. I have had to come to a complete stop in some sections of our Roads when a Trailer is approaching. I am not the only one who suffers this. Many who have failed to stop have ended in the Mortuaries- courtesy of the Professional Incompetence of these our Road Engineers. If it is a question of resources, then where is your professional training? You must tell the bureaucrat that I need this much for this far and you stand to your Professional standards. Have you ever heard any Road Engineer complain of under funding? Have you ever heard even their Professional Association, if they have any, stand up for this demand?  I have never heard. They are complicit to the mass murder of Kenyans in our Roads.
  5. Durability; We have what we call Strength of Materials and all those technical jargons you bury your head into before you qualify as a Roads Engineer. When you are in an Engineering Class, you are taught that what you develop must be durable, and in most cases, some specific periods are given to this. When you build a Road, it should last for some given period before you start the routine maintenance on it. This is what we call durability. I want to ask our Road Engineers, and their Professional Association if they have any, do you have a time line for the Poor Roads you build for us in Kenya? Why must we be perpetually on a building mode for our Roads? If it is not the rains that are spoiling our Roads, it is the Trailers. If it is not our Buses spoiling our Roads, it is our small cars. It is surprising that even light track users like Bicycles are also spoiling our Roads! Now with vast resources being channeled to our Incompetent Road Engineers every Year, can we achieve our Visionless 2030? We must be realistic. We cannot be on a permanent Road Construction Mode on the same Roads every 2 years, yet, we have a lot of catch up to do.
  6. Axel Load and Road Weight; Roads are built to take some given weight, and on this, as rudderless and incompetent as our Road Engineers are, they will shake their incompetence to the bureaucrat. They will build poor Roads and blame the enforcing agencies for allowing over weight vehicles on the Roads. This is defeatist and escapist.
  7. Consumer/User Considerations; For every Professional Undertaking, we have consumer or user considerations. This is why the Doctors have compassion on their patients, and this is why Lawyers, as bad as they are, offer Pro-Borno services to some clients. Now, as you build any Road, you must envision who will use the said Road and how. Are you designing a death trap for your consumers, in this case the Road users? Or, are you designing what will develop a crack and potholes as soon as it is Commissioned.
There are several issues that I may want to raise to justify why these creed of people should be banned in Kenya and taken to Siberia. Times have come when Road Engineers must start to behave like Form Ones, only to be seen and never heard.

In the new dispensation where we will be Staying with the issues, we want to keep the heat on any Professional negligence in Kenya. And our Road Engineers must shape up or ship out, for this is the State of our Nation.

Odhiambo T Oketch,
Executive Director,
The Clean Kenya Campaign- TCKC
Tel; 0724 365 557

--- On Fri, 5/18/12, ezekiel kunyaranyara <> wrote:

From: ezekiel kunyaranyara <>
Subject: Re: [wanabidii] Herr Ezekiel; Road Engineers are a shame to Kenya
To: "" <>
Date: Friday, May 18, 2012, 7:30 AM

Odhiambo Okecth

I think not being a Kenyan will not relieve me from blames that comes from mulpractices and unproffesional conduct for road engineers if any anyway.

Standards that are being used for our roads are satisfacory. Even roads that are being built are satisfactory even ones that has been designed and supervised or and built by Germans Companies and Consulting firms in our African Countries but are failing to perform after they are opened to traffic. I have examples some of them are even not passable three to six months after they have being handed over to client.

The major cause here is lack of routine maintenance and sometimes lack is spot improvement to some difficult sections. In some ten to twenty years back on our roads almost everywhere in East Africa; there were these camps called PWD. I am not sure if in Kenya they are still there. In Tanzania they are not existing anymore. These camps were meant to catter for everyday maintenance whenever and whatever happens to the road is dealt with immediattely, but not now. If a bottleneck is seen on the road it takes some months before it is settled. This is not the fault of road engineers but the decision makers.

The Challenging situation is when those who are supposed to decide also stood on platforms and start to through stones to roads engineers while they know for sure that no funds has been set-aside for that maintenance.

To me the way I see it it not the fault of engineers but we do not have maintenance culture. This is not for engineers only but every African. Let us wake and do our party then every thing will be settled. I have been in Kissii -Kenya training for Labour Based Technology in Road Construction and Maintenance. That course insists day to day maintenance but even in Insititute roads is not done how can you expect others to do it. How can road survive without maintenance, no way. Do not hang up road engineers it is not their fault.


From: odhiambo okecth <>
Cc: PK <>
Sent: Friday, 18 May 2012, 6:32
Subject: [wanabidii] Herr Ezekiel; Road Engineers are a shame to Kenya


I am happy that you are not a Kenyan.

In Germany, roads that were built by Herr Otto Van Bismirch in the 1930's are still as strong. They are only being cleaned. Does it not rain in Germany.

Again, in Road Construction, we must have some bare minimum Structural Standards- Quality of Material. Are our Road Engineers schooled in a different curriculum on Road Construction- the one that teaches them to build for us sub-standard roads while they charge us hell-on-earth?

Lastly, I will engage you in Quality and not in Quantity.


--- On Fri, 5/18/12, ezekiel kunyaranyara <> wrote:

From: ezekiel kunyaranyara <>
Subject: Re: [wanabidii] Re: [YP_Ke] Road Engineers are a shame to Kenya
To: "" <>
Date: Friday, May 18, 2012, 6:08 AM

Odhiambo Okecth

I am not a Kenyan, but on this motion the fact is "roads are not eternal". They needs maintainance almost everyday just to keep them always to their engineering design standard. The fact which is usually neglected by decision makers in seting asside funds for the same. At the end blames such as these are casted to engineers. Many thinks once built roads are to survive indefinately, to me this a wrong perception indeed.

Maintenance such as cleaning side drains always in a way that no sand will clog and hinder the free flow of water during rain, removal of debris such as tree and stone, littering that damage badly the tarmac road that produces patches is a big problem in our roads and other many activities are needed to be done everyday. If they are not done every day then no road will survive not even for one year.

Please do not blame engineers. Blaming engineers is like blaming doctors for patient illness.


From: odhiambo okecth <>
To: "" <>; Madaraka <>; Nation <>;
Cc: "" <>; Mwananchi <>; MWANYAGETINGE NETWORK <>; New Vision Kenya <>; "" <>; "" <>; NYSA <>; PK <>; ProgressiveMinds <>; Vugu Vugu <>; Wanabidii <>; "" <>
Sent: Friday, 18 May 2012, 4:49
Subject: Re: [wanabidii] Re: [YP_Ke] Road Engineers are a shame to Kenya

Mr. Tombo,

What facts do you want?

My team and I took photos of our roads on Sunday the 13th May 2012, and again on the same spot on Wednesday the 16th May 2012.

Again, we live in Kenya and we suffer the incompetence of Road Engineers daily.

When it rains, Nairobi and other major Towns come to a complete stop. Why? The incompetence of our Road Engineers.

Mr. Tombo, just point to me one Road in Kenya that meets the known Engineering Standards?

Odhiambo T Oketch,
Executive Director,
The Clean Kenya Campaign- TCKC.

--- On Fri, 5/18/12, Julius Tombo <> wrote:

From: Julius Tombo <>
Subject: [wanabidii] Re: [YP_Ke] Road Engineers are a shame to Kenya
To: "" <>, "Madaraka" <>, "Nation" <>
Cc: "" <>, "Mwananchi" <>, "MWANYAGETINGE NETWORK" <>, "New Vision Kenya" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "NYSA" <>, "PK" <>, "ProgressiveMinds" <>, "Vugu Vugu" <>, "Wanabidii" <>, "" <>
Date: Friday, May 18, 2012, 12:28 AM

Odhiambo be specific, stop generalizing issues. do you have facts to support your statement?
Kind Regards

At 9.00am today, we will be joining with the Nobel Women Initiative, the Green Belt Movement and all friends who believe in humanity to launch the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict at the Freedom Corner.

Today, I am following on the incompetence of our Road Engineers and I am asking, why must we be in the business of Road Construction constantly?

These incompetent Road Engineers must Shape up or Ship out.

You may follow this story at

Odhiambo T Oketch,
Executive Director,
The Clean Kenya Campaign- TCKC
The League of Young Professionals, Kenya takes this early opportunity to welcome you to our 2012 Annual Sports Day. The Details are

If you attended our last 2 business & networking sessions, find the photos of the events here

Our next June Monthly Talk & Networking Forum will be on 14th June. Our Guest Speaker will be Derek Bbanga, CEO Public Image East Africa and he will be talking about Developing Your Personal Brand and Professional Image. Cost for Members is Ksh. 500, and 1, 000 for non members. Venue KICC, Tin Tin Restaurant.

If you are based in Mombasa, our Chapter there will be having a Real Estate Investment Forum on the Next Thursday 24th May. Guest speaker will be Myspace Properties Ltd. CEO and President Mr. Mwenda Thuranira. Contact Reuben Shuma 0721 203452 or Judy Matu on 0721 497 875 for more details.

Karibu Jukwaa la
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Karibu Jukwaa la
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Karibu Jukwaa la
Pata nafasi mpya za Kazi

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Those were the days .....

Oh, such lovely memories! I'd nearly forgotten some of those scenes, i.e. how they looked before all the concrete jungle took it's place...


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Peacock in Flight

These are simply beautiful!


    Peacock in Flight

Have you ever seen a peacock in full flight?  This is our first opportunity for this.
We never imagine that it could be so magnificent -- like a phoenix in fairy tale!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Re: We are messing Kenya

Thank you for this, Oketch. It is highly disgusting, these perpetual never ending fuel hikes. 

And you're also very right about about the priorities of road building. 

Mombasa is in dire need of various roads uplift and some new ones, too.

I wonder WHEN that will happen...? They charge us an arm and leg in fuel and road levy where they literally collect millions every single day, but, roads in Coast Province are in a very pathetic condition. This results in adding salt to our wounds - the price of fuels keeps going up, they don't fix roads and our vehicles (includes bicycles, motorbikes, etc.), get damaged, cause accidents and injury. This equates to more costs to the average citizen.

We are getting very FED UP of this set up.


On Tue, May 15, 2012 at 9:27 AM, odhiambo okecth <> wrote:


The cost of fuel has once again gone up by Kshs 2.00 in Nairobi and about similar margins across the Country.

This is happening at a time Kenya seems to be on the cross roads- do we go Vision 2030, Konza City Way, the Thika Motor Highway or what?

Through the Vision 2030, Kenya is hoping to achieve some given set of Economic gains, yet, when we are not able to manage and regulate the flow of Fuel, just fuel, how can we even think of achieving the objects of Vision 2030.

Fuel is in the middle of economic growth for any Nation. In the US, they have large deposits of Oil, yet, they are keeping tabs on what is happening in the Middle East. They do not have weekly price variations like we are being subjected to in Kenya.

Fuel drives our industries and when we fail to manage the cost of fuel in such a consistent manner, we are definitely not doing any justice to our citizens. And we are not being helpful to working towards our Visionless 2030.

The moment fuel goes up, it triggers a chain of events. Costs of production goes up and this comes with lots of suffering to the common man. Even for the Industrialists, they are at a loss on how to cost their inputs- courtesy of our Visionless Mandarins at the Energy Regulatory Board.

We have known this all along, the moment fuel goes up, it never comes down. We have been subjected to these rudderless fluctuations which plays with the pump price every so often yet, once the cost of bread goes up, it never comes down when these charlatans pretend to bring the cost of fuel down.

Kenya is replete with lost courses. We promised Kenyans at Independence that we will fight poverty, ignorance and disease and 49 years down the line, poverty has reached an alarming level. Many of us are still as ignorant as they can come and disease, even simple cases of flu cannot be treated by our Doctors.

Many Kenyans are getting sub-standard quality of education because, the teacher is concerned with how to make ends meet. Our housing estates are a test case of how human beings ought to live.

Yet, people whom we have given responsibility to lead and set the right tempo are busy competing at theft of national resources. This is where the Mandarins at the Energy Regulatory Board resides. They have no interest with Kenya trying to live Visionless 2030. They care less about our mothers who are trying had to feed the family, and they do not know what the National Aspirations are.

Look at what we are busy advertizing as Konza City- a dream city. True, it is a dream city. How can we manage this dream when we are not able to manage the current reality.

Nairobi is in filth. We have tried pushing the Mandarins at the City Hole to act on waste management and it seems like they have resigned their fate to their helplessness. How can Kenyans come together to keep helping a team that is out of touch with reality.

This is the Kenya we are messing. We are messing our own future. As a people, what trends are we setting for our children and the generation to come?

If it is on leadership, we are setting wrong standards. If it is on policy management and implementation, we are setting the wrong standards. If it is mitigating the cost of living, we are aggravating the situation and driving Kenyans into more poverty and want. And if it is in creating scandals, we are at our best.

We are very good with setting wrong priorities, and this we do knowingly. We set out to achieve water for all by the year 2,000 and this was never achieved. But, our policy makers made good money for themselves for driving the wrong policy. They went home dry and neat.

We set out to build roads across Kenya. Then we picked on a road that does not serve the economic life line of our Country as our pet project. Thika Road was not to be the road to build. The main economic artery for Kenya is the Mombasa Malaba Busia Road. Not Thika Road.

But our Policy Mandarins decided to go for Thika Road, because that was going to give them some quick wins to their banks. Of what economic value is Thika Road to Kenya? But there you are, policy makers messing Kenyans just for their quick material wins.

Why then can we not make all these County Roads as this one? Thika Road is a County Road serving the economic and commercial interest of a County, not the Country. We should have taken to build the road that gives us direct foreign income. Mombasa Malaba Busia Road is the one that adds to our economic value as a Country, not as a County.

Let me come back to what I had set to do. We must not play games with the minds of Kenyans in imposing these fuel fluctuations every so often. It simply proves how incompetent we are and it does nothing to help us achieve our Visionless 2030.

Odhiambo T Oketch
Komarock Nairobi