Friday, December 28, 2007

Emailing: Another screaming and shouting carload arrived as I was praying, Matatus parked everywhere, The van load of Muslim women disgorged from it a

Another screaming and shouting carload arrived as I was praying
Do these people claim to be Muslims....?

Matatus parked everywhere
These arrive with a lot of fanfare and screaming and shouting from the occupants

The van load of Muslim women disgorged from it and started making a racket
Do these women have nothing better to do than to be transported here and there and making noise and disturbing others?

Yet, another car arrives...
They keep arriving in the noisiest manner possible with not just the shouting but hooting, too. As I write this, I can hear the sound of another rowdy lot about to arrive....

There is some kind of meeting going on on the left of the parked car in Joho's compound
While this meeting is going on the whole kid population of Joho's house and the Councilor's with other like minded neighbours are banging on plastic cans and shouting at the incitement of some of the adults.

With such characters, what kind of leaders are we electing to public office? Those who have no interest to serve, but, to be intimidating and nasty. In fact, while I was taking the latest photographs from my balcony, these kids on the encouragement of some of the adults (all done within my sight and hearing), were insolently telling the kids to start shouting and making noise while he deliberately hit my car and set off the alarm over and over again. The kids, of course, obliged him.

Isn't this electoral hooliganism and intimidation of the highest order? And does Mr. Odinga really know what kind of people he is associating with? And how safe are people who oppose them? Or take objection to their persistent misbehaviour? If I was to go out, would they do me harm, also, like they are trying to do to my car?

Emailing: A very rowdy car load of Joho and Kushe fans have just arrived, A matatu also equally noisy has just disgorged 'fans', The first van has aga

A very rowdy car load of Joho and Kushe fans have just arrived
A matatu also equally noisy has just disgorged 'fans'
The first van has again loaded with fans and about to leave...
reversing out of Joho's gate
This matatu bears the route of Mariakani - Voi. Strange.
That van full of mostly women is leaving goodness heading where
Another noisy van plastered with pictures of the two candidates, carrying even noisier men has just arrived

If the above pictures that I've just taken a few minutes ago are anything to go by with the descriptions for each photo, I fear that we are in for another sleepless and noisy night. And where are these people being taken and then brought back and taken, again?

Also, the route of one of the matatus is interesting. Has it brought voters all the way from Mariakani and Voi? These places are not within the Kisauni constituency.

And when they see me taking pictures, they quickly silence themselves. Why?

Also, will the cops at 999 or 112 still be available to restore order and peace in this neighbourhood? What exactly is going on?

Emailing: The rowdy crowd has been increasing throughout the morning and now are being transported in the numerous cars and PSVs to..... where only th

The rowdy crowd has been increasing throughout the morning and now are being transported in the numerous cars and PSVs to..... where only them and God knows!
Since early morning, a very noisy crowd had started gathering at the two politicians houses - Mr. Joho and Mr. Kushe. The whole neighbourhood had hardly slept in the night due to these 'fans' of these two. They have scant respect or regard for the residents and seem to be a very selfish lot, indeed. Considering the results have still, as far as I know, not been announced for the Kisauni constituency, yet, what exactly are they 'celebrating'? And should, by great misfortune, they be announced the winners, then, this neighbourhood will never know peace for the next 5 years!!!

Some of the crowd, mostly women and children are waiting outside the prospective Councillor's flat and around the stairwell
As mentioned before, these two have been feeding and watering a multitude nearly everyday for the last week, at least, and what can be seen in the pictures is a perfect example. These people sit around all day and most of the night eating miraa playing loud music and dancing and talking. What they are sitting around for and if they are waiting to be transported in those matatus, but, where?

Fancy cars and matatus, like yesterday early morning gathered to transport the waiting and noisy crowds of people, again.
These matatus and cars have been playing loud music as well as the family of the wannabe Councillor downstairs whose family has been giving the neighbourhood splitting headaches. And while, last night, I could get through to the 999 for help, today, nobody is answering the phone! Why?

Isn't it possible to maintain law and order before, during and after election time in this country? Total insanity seems to reign around prospective politicians residences and wherever they go. And what kind of leaders are my fellow Kenyans electing, anyway. They sell their self-respect, principles (if they have any, of course), etc., for a few days or hours of partying? They make me really SICK!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The 147th reminder.... to the PERSON/S CONCERNED

While you might have thought that I 'forgot' to write a 'reminder', last week, I didn't. That one was not entitled as a reminder, but, was a comment on an article with picture published by Coastweek.

Therefore, to continue from that email....

I wonder if that 'leaky' pipe has been fixed, yet? If it still hasn't the excuse will be that most people in this country cannot even think let alone act during the month of December. Especially, after Independence Day 'celebrations' where I cannot understand what we are really celebrating. Corruption? Or ruining our infrastructure, even that left by the British? Where no service delivery works faultlessly? Where the residents of a major urban centre still buy water from water kiosks like their counter-parts in rural areas? Drive on atrocious roads? Where garbage cans overflow and most sewage is released untreated into the sea? Yet, they collect money for all of these so-called 'services'!

After over 40 years of Independence we would (even the rural areas), expect to be having piped clean water, but, no. Of course not! This is what happens in a typical 'banana republic', which we have become. In fact, this year and today in particular, it's election day and therefore, most of our recycled politicians who have been spewing hot air all over the countryside begging for votes of the electorate, have reduced this country into a place where people think in tribes and/or a particular class and in the process we make little progress or none at all.

So, while we have another election where nearly all the wrong people will get elected for all the wrong reasons and clocked another year since Independence (though we are still dependent on the World Bank and IMF), our waterless state continues getting worse.

Emailing: Campaign noise makers!, Choke-a-block with PSVs, Even a bus is being used to transport voters!, A brand new van being used for the purpose,

Campaign noise makers!
Every single day, the neighbourhood is 'treated' to this awful and ear-splitting racket...., over and over again!

Choke-a-block with PSVs
Early this morning (election day), after fajr prayers and even before, these cars started arriving.

Even a bus is being used to transport voters!
These two wannabe politicos love doing things in a BIG way! They have even got a bus to transport voters.

A brand new van being used for the purpose, too.
Even brand new cars without number plates are being used.

The crowds have started arriving...
Of course, it must have been previously arranged that the voters should get to their houses to be transported to the various polling stations. This is supposed to be the Kisauni constituency doesn't matter that we're in Kizingo. Over a decade ago, it was politically 'convenient' to have this particular area of Kizingo under the Kisauni constituency which is in the opposite direction and on the North Coast mainland and nobody since then has rectified this anomaly. Strange.

More PSVs arriving...
All those previously pictured cars are not enough, so, others keep arriving. In fact, since the beginning of the week some of these crowds are literally camping at these two politicians place being fed and watered there everyday. The same thing transpired during Ramadhan and the two Eids. These people being Muslims, it was so very convenient to give hand-outs to one and all under the guise of 'charity'!

Another matatu just arrived and the crowd waiting in the background
Despite the numbers of matatus and bus, they are not enough to transport all these people and as I type this, no more matatus are available and there's another crowd waiting, already.....

A multiple choice of vehicles for the people arriving and the bus about to leave...
This is so interesting as last night on Al Jazeera's Inside Story, the opposition (these two wannabe politicians are ODM candidates), has been alleging that it suspects the government side of rigging. The pictures though, tell, a different story, don't they? It's a case of the pot calling the kettle black!

While the huge picture of Joho has been removed from the perimeter wall of one of the polling stations (Star of the Sea School), there are many (without number), stuck along all the walls, tree trunks, garbage cans, cars, etc., all within a few meters of the many polling stations. Aren't they supposed to have removed these, too?

They even held loud prayers at about 2.00 am at the neighbourhood contentious mosque. As far as I know and I am a Muslim, too, Tahajjud prayers are not supposed to be held this way. It's all between you and your Maker and one doesn't have to advertise to everybody what one is doing at that time by holding such loud prayers disturbing others.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Last minute campaign NOISE!

As far as I know, these people (the campaigners), who are, should people vote for them, are not supposed to disturb the peace at this time.

But, my nasty neighbours, one trying to vie for the Kisauni parliamentary seat and the other a Councillor's, have scant regard for law and order. They play their music so loud that it's deafening and one can hardly hear themselves think as the adage goes.

Add to their insolence our police force's attitude when they are called. They take their own sweet time getting to the place. Probably waiting for the things to calm down or are ringing their buddies (these people definitely know many cops as they were reservists, once upon a time), to warn them of neighbours complaining about their racket.

In fact, as I write this, there's a party situation downstairs in the backyard of the would be Councillor's place with his children dancing and adding to the noise. It is also nearly half an hour since I called the OCS, but, there's no sign of them, yet. I've already called him at least 3 times and his excuse the last time was that he cannot just get here pronto as soon as somebody rings him!

I truly dread any of these people getting elected. If so, then, God help us, because, their insolence and celebration will know no end. And then our reluctant cops will have even more averse about taking any action as they will then be 'honourable'!

Sunday, December 16, 2007 and our continued waterless state!

A friend informed me of this article in Coastweek which he read in the UK! Please, follow the link and you will see what I mean.

To repair this pipe is the work of our very redundant and questionable Coast Water (dis)Services Board. They love to talk big, but, hardly ever walk their talk. This has been made manifest umpteen numbers of times since it's inception, but, the Ministry seems hell bent on retaining them. If they need the proof of their incompetence, the write up in Coastweek with the accompanying photographs tell their own story.

This particular stretch of pipe is notorious for bursting on a very consistent basis, it seems. I have also seen this leaking when travelling to Mombasa by train and have also informed these water officials immediately, but, it seems they do nothing......, or is there some more sinister reason? That of somebody getting a payoff from those water vendors collecting water down below? So, it suits these people to ignore the leak!

And just the other day the Water Consortium members met up with all of these people and the questionable water board only sent one smooth talker to it who is not even an engineer.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Re: The Charcoal sellers saga, continues..... follow-up

After I wrote the following email, the cops arrived, but, as usual the whole neighbourhood gathered around them including this Charcoal dealer's mother (the one who had tried to push me down the stairs). I don't know what exactly they were telling the officers, but, they kept pointing to my flat. Immediately they left, my car alarm kept going off over and over again as somebody kept hitting the car!

So, I called the OCS ( I couldn't get through to Mr. Tebeny, the DCIO, whom I'd called earlier), who assured me that these people had a permit to do this. I wonder if the officers were shown it. He also told me that due to the time of year and there being so many holidays, etc., and celebrations, this charcoal guy was doing the neighbourhood a service!

Unfortunately, for him and the country's depleting forests, he has given the same reason previously many months ago to the forestry officers who wanted to see his permit which he didn't have. He told them a vague story about the supplier having it....., probably. As these forestry officials don't seem to find it necessary to let me (who informed them, in the first place), know if this business of his is legitimate or not, I have no idea if this guy has any such thing. If he does, than, why not just display this for all to see? And why should his mother and himself get so upset at me bringing in officialdom, everytime he gets a charcoal consignment? Add to this, it's such a lame and ridiculous excuse, when he says that he's doing a necessary 'service' to the neighbourhood!

His mother has also, previously claimed that he will carry on with this business of his as they just have to pay off the officers who come by to 'make trouble', thanks to me.

If you remember, this same guy is a suspect for smashing up my car on the night of 13th July 2007, because at that time he had also taken to keeping goats. When I'd asked him a number of times the reason for these, he'd given me a runaround telling me that they had been ordered by a neighbour who was soon going to have a wedding. This was neither here nor there and instead of the goats decreasing they increased into a herd with a glue-sniffing goat herd taking care of them. And when, officialdom eventually took action almost 3 months later on the 13th of July 2007, the result was malicious damage to my car in the night.

This is also happening right under the noses of the Council employees. What is the Council's environment dept. doing about it?

And how safe am I and my property, considering all the things that have happened to me, to date? The cops, as far as I'm concerned, can't seem to be bothered. It is so futile, in this country, to fight for justice, where there's very little of transparency, ethics and rule of law. And where money plays the most important part rather than integrity and doing one's duty.

I just have one wish should I die as a result of all these threats and intimidations - that the people concerned will not let it be in vain, please.


CC The DCIO, Mr. Tebeny, Urban HQ
The OCS, Central Police, Msa

The Charcoal sellers saga, continues.....

I would have taken a photograph of the Mitsubishi Canter that is at present off-loading the sacks of charcoal. But, will and cannot do so due to reasons that you will read shortly. They will take at least 2 hours to do this and I have just rung the DCIO Mr. Tebeny on his mobile giving him the Canter's no. KAY 034A. I hope and pray that this time something will be done about this in a proper manner and my 'activities' of informing officialdom do not go in vain, considering that just last Tuesday this Charcoal dealer's mother, tried pushing me down the stairs. Fortunately, this happened in front of 3 witnesses, two of whom were my visitors from Canada.

We went to report this latest incidence of direct threat and intimidation, to the police where we all wrote our own reports, signed them and I was given the following OB number - 67/11/12/07. When we returned home after a couple of hours (this the cops don't know), we found a black polythene bag inside kept on the other side of the gate at the top of my staircase. It contained a dead cat! It was 'freshly' dead as it hadn't started smelling, yet. So, I just disposed of it, though, the same 3 witnesses saw it, too, and after having experienced our cops attitude earlier, didn't bother reporting it.

This can mean several things to different people, but, who and why was this cat's corpse deposited within my gate?

Will the people concerned now take the necessary action....., even on a Saturday afternoon when they are trying to enjoy their weekend, off? I hope and pray that somebody dedicated enough will do so, this time round.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Emailing: Huge speakers attached to the top of the Nissan and playing loud music!, In the night, too, there's no peace!

Huge speakers attached to the top of the Nissan and playing loud music!
Is this called campaigning for a parliamentary seat? What is he 'selling'? In fact, this Mr. Joho is telling us, his prospective constituents that he will give us no peace, should we make the blunder of electing him! He and his 'followers' have little respect for the rule of law or the residents of the estate where he resides. This Nissan continued playing loud music even as I took this picture. Calling our police, no less than the OCS, just brought a guffaw and I was jokingly reminded that it was expected as it's campaign time. Does this mean that we have to put up with such disturbances 24 hours a day till such time that he looses the elections? Because, God help us, should he win. We will know no peace from that day forth and the cops will simply ignore our pleas for some peace and quiet. Doesn't matter that there's a hospital also in the neighbourhood.

In the night, too, there's no peace!
Even as I write this, I can hear them in the distance, playing the same song over and over again with little thought that it's nearly 10.00 pm and people need to sleep in peace. Does this parliamentary hopeful, think that he is endearing himself to his constituents and others? Definitely not! It will be such a relief when the elections are over and he loses (I'm praying that he does). Of course, then, he will contest and claim like before that it was rigged. I wonder why he doesn't spend his money for the good of the community. Do something and be seen to be doing something for the constituents that he insists that he'll serve if voted for. Why not show everybody the kind of service he can give? Instead of breaking the law by treating the whole town like a giant discotheque at all hours of the day and night.

Is there no end to this kind of foul behaviour? And are officialdom's hands so tied that they cannot even raise a finger to bring some law and order to this kind of insanity?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Price of Abuse

The Price of Abuse
Nimah Nawwab

Shame, violence, abuse, shame - the circle is complete for women of the East as they face a recurring nightmare of the denial of rights and justice.

In most cases of violence against women, the role of society and how it perceives these unfortunate women is a crucial factor in the kind of justice they ultimately receive.

As the media highlights the trials and tribulations of women of abuse, and their stories, names and in rare cases faces intertwine with our everyday lives and discussions, they sadly still remain on the fringes of daily life. The world goes on and the horrors abate. Stories come and go with the flow of life. We stop to ponder their fate once a year as a day is dedicated to the cause of Violence Against Women; then we go on as women who are still keeping silent years after abuses continue their muffled, mute calls.

Yet the price of broken silence is steep in most countries of the East. The tribulations of abused women in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, honor killings, rape, abuse emotional, mental and physical become fodder for books and films, documenting in some cases a loss or a triumph over adversity.

One of the continuous trends found in the Middle East and Asia revolves around the way the female victim turns in the end to be the one who deserves the blame, while the victimizer gets away with an almost clean slate after a period of punishment. And to add insult to injury, not even the harsh punishment often mandated by laws. Society's stamp of acceptance or rejection of the victim's status plays its omnipotent role throughout the months and years of dealing with such matters.

The case of Mukhtaran Mai, the brave Pakistani woman gang-raped in revenge for alleged indiscretions committed by her brother, is an amazing account of rise against the shame. As she chose to take up the fight to regain her standing in her village and accused her rapists in an unprecedented step. Then went one step further as she opened a girls' school to eradicate illiteracy.

Despite the harrowing memories and indignity of her situation, she dealt with her village's stance and stood alone in the face of society's expectations of silence. She effectively led a campaign that reverberated in her country and set the course for the voices of abused women to be heard for years to come. This brave woman became a true voice for hope and justice.

In Saudi Arabia, Rania Al-Baz, the famous announcer, the "face" of the abused women, battered and thrown out on the street and taken for dead by her husband, now pays for the price of broken silence.

Forgiving her husband, her reconstructed new face made up, her hair unveiled and tinted with new color, coming out and talking to Oprah Winfrey, she is now an outcast. She dared to unveil and dared to change. The good she did by bringing to light the long-held taboo of talk of abuse, the opening of women's shelters since, the campaigns against violence that began, all forgotten by a society that took issue with her unveiling. Her husband had the right to it, she invited violence. She must have had problems and did something that led to his jealous rage.

It is enough that she has cast off her veil, peeked out of magazine covers with her new looks, and later on as a hostess of another Gulf state satellite broadcast - her standing changed with the change of her looks as a woman without the accepted mode of dress.

The victim is blamed.

Nowadays with all the controversial complexities of the gang-rape of the Qatif girl, the focus is on her meeting an ex-boyfriend to retrieve an old photograph while being engaged to marry. Who is to blame? She invited rape by putting herself in the way of bodily harm, effectively showing herself to the hungry gazes of the "poor" attackers, being in the company of a no relation or guardian.

So every woman with a strange driver, in a place where women can't drive and rely on drivers is inviting rape. Every woman who goes out in public is inviting rape, every woman in company of a coworker is inviting rape? The young girl is sentenced to lashing and flogging. The license of her lawyer is revoked. The same lawyer who defends forced divorce cases - another inhumane revocation of basic rights of women - was threatened with the loss of his license. His rights and his client's rights are thrown out the window as the lawyer's license is revoked by one judge without the usual steps undertaken for such action which requires the convening of disciplinary court to revoke a license.

Her husband now derided for supporting her and dishonoring his manly honor, and yet despite all this both continue to seek a fair resolution. However, society's perception of shame and honor is tied tight to these concepts, as sympathy for the trauma is eroded bit by bit with each telling.

The fervor caused by this "case" internally for over a year and internationally lately only highlights one matter: The victim is to blame. Be she single, married, divorced, she is the one who drew attention, putting herself in danger, and she should have kept quiet after all instead of reviving bit by bit agonizing psychological shock and revealing the unutterable horror.

In addition to violence, the rights of women to determine their own fate - let alone their lives - are at issue. From the essential right of being in charge of their lives, to getting educated, to the right to travel and work to eke out a living in these times of rising prices, high divorce rates and single motherhood, women are still not given the freedom to take charge of their lives and be the driving force in determining their destination. Society still labels a grown up woman a dependent in this day and age. That is her place in society and let none forget this centuries-old mandate. After all, she is the one that needs to be protected with honor.

In societies where women are on the fringes, where they cannot represent themselves, where they "invite" rape and violence by action, appearance, talk, they are often cruelly put in their proper place by the very society they come from and have to live with this reality.

Societies' pegging of women as deserving violence will continue to grow. Developments and economic growth in Eastern countries, regardless of their expected magnitude, don't and will not affect the status of women till women can be considered individuals in their own right.

From Japan and China, to India and Pakistan, from Saudi Arabia to Morocco, be they Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, women have and will continue to bear the burden of losing face, their social standing threatened, and their honor smeared on lifting the heavy veil of silence in cases of violence against them and their sisters in calamity.

Will the time ever come when their own societies embrace their fragile trust in coming forth, a trust in a protective system instead of a prosecutorial system, a society that succors instead of attacks?

Will that time ever arrive when women exposed to violence can gain their rights in the eyes of their own societies and win fair justice?

Authored by: Sister Nimah Nawwab. She is a well known Saudi poet and writer. She can be reached at < >

IMPORTANT: This article is being circulated to inform our Muslim brothers and sisters as to the current affairs affecting the Muslims; circulation of this article should therefore not be misconstrued as anything but the sharing of such information

All views expressed herein belong to the individuals concerned and do not in any way reflect that of the sender.

The 146th reminder.... to the PERSON/S CONCERNED - Re: HEALTH HAZARD

A week has gone by without water, of course, and the many promises and 'big talk' that the Council's environment and health department representatives. This was at the follow-up meeting the Water & Sanitation Consortium had last week with these officialdom, including a team from the Water & Sewerage Co. and a lone one from the Coast Water Board! It seems that they consistently send this Mr. Kai, alone everytime, to answer the various questions that arise. He, it seems, can never give a straight and concise answer and usually leads us on a merry go round and never really getting to the point and answering what's put to him. He also loves passing the buck to others!

That meeting, was a very interesting one, where our Council's sanitation people, quite admirably tried answering the many cases of overflowing garbage cans all over town. They didn't say much that was new and despite being told of the various strange things happening everywhere (some of these are reflected in the pictures below with the accompanying email). They (the Council), rightly claimed that they even collected garbage at nights to keep up with the demand, but, were still overwhelmed!

In fact, the writer of the email, attached below, got married yesterday and a reception was held in the balcony at the top of the house where I was one of the invitees. We were persistently treated to whiffs of the overflowing and rotting garbage from below. This, unfortunately, is right outside their gate and despite the Council having been requested by them and other residents affected by this, around it, to move that bin to another more suitable place, NOTHING has changed! We kept getting the feeling that we were around the Kibarani dumping site, rather than in the middle of a Ganjoni residential neighbourhood and right across from the below mentioned hospital.

It's such an irony that the wedding guests were treated to this disgusting and offensive smell while having our meal.

So, coupled with half collected garbage and no water, the scene is all set for the residents of Mombasa to break out in some kind of awful disease/s! Watch out, everybody!


Sameena g1g wrote on 28-Nov-07 6:34 PM:
Dear Sirs / Madams
I enclose herewith some pictures of the compound just outside my house in Ganjoni before the junction of Society Building and opposite the SEA SIDE HOSPITAL. This dumping site has been there for some months now. We are all so fed up of the trash and the odour that we have to bear with for 24 hours a day and for as long as I can remember. As can be seen from the pictures, we have to face this filthy sight and foul smell every single day even if we wish to open our window for some fresh air!!!
Furthermore, because of this growing dump site, the crows are increasing in number and are only helping in making the surroundings more filthier as they pick the rubbish, take it around or near the house, feed on it and later drop it anywhere. Not only does this affect our health but also attracts rodents, flies and mosquitoes.
We have reported this matter to the Municipal Council of Mombasa several times but in vain.
I shall be most grateful if you will intervene in the matter and get the relevant authorities to clean up our area, which is also a health hazard to all our children in the neighbourhood.
Your favourable consideration and intervention in the matter will be greatly appreciated.
Sameena Jeevanjee

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The 145th reminder.... to the PERSON/S CONCERNED - the WAB workshop

Yesterday, some of us attended a very interesting workshop by the Water Appeal Board (WAB) where we learned of many developments in the water sector and it's 'service' delivery and what aggrieved parties can resort to, to settle any problems.

The person conducting the introductions and even gave a talk, a Mr. Nyaoro from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, was asked by me what the Ministry was doing about these 'reminders' which till yesterday had reached 144 in number. His reaction was very telling in the sense that it reflected the attitude of most of these service providers. They are totally unrepentant and are still under the mistaken impression that they are God's gift to the Wananchi! They might have changed several names in the past decades, but, the same old and recycled mentality continues to exist who sing the same old songs and don't want to entertain a different thought process/es. He responded by trying to belittle me in front of a room full of attendees, some of whom were very happy to have me put down. Yet, he never answered my question! Considering I don't have his email address, but, send my emails to the Permanent Secretary's, and they bounce everytime, I wonder, how he keeps himself so up to date regarding my 144 reminders...?! Does somebody in the many water bodies, fwd them to him? And what are they really doing about the many issues raised in those reminders.

Another point, why should it upset him so much that I send my emails to the whole wide world? I tried telling him the reason for doing this, yesterday, to defend myself, but, he wouldn't give me the opportunity. So, now, I will do so.....

For his information, my misadventures with the water delivery people did not start in the 21st Century, but, I've been given a runaround by whoever has been in charge of delivery since the mid-1970's! Hence, I know exactly what some of these people are made of. Over the years or more like decades, the water situation has got persistently worse and the people in charge of delivery have also been extremely insolent. I've been writing letters to the water 'officialdom' since then, when this Mr. Nyaoro was probably still in school, most likely Primary.

Therefore, when over the years, my letters were either ignored or got one line replies asking for my account number and nothing further done to rectify the situation, it was with great relief when the Internet arrived in this country. Even then, I continued writing and trying to see them to solve our worsening problem, but, nothing positive happened.

And that is why, I now write to the 'whole world' as he thinks, to publicize our plight, especially in Coast Province. Last year, I even wrote a petition (see below), where I've suggested a solution with the environment in mind, but, after having collected over 900 signatures over a period of a month and sending these certified copies to all the people concerned (see attached picture), there has been no response nor even an acknowledgment from this insolent sector. They work (if they really, do), in a fog!

Today, is one of the magical days when the water kiosks and some people are supposed to get water, but, it seems (the mkokoteni guy told me this), that there is no water even there...., yet. I had told the guy who regularly brings me water to do so this morning, but, he says that there isn't any. Why? This, to me, would translate to - the water situation is getting much worse rather than better. NB: The water guy has just arrived with the water which means that the water kiosk got it late.

Another point. During the launch of the CRCs in Mombasa and Nairobi, these same people from the Coast Water (dis)Services Board (they should change their name, pronto!), had been telling us that over a period of 3 years, they would be laying new pipes from Mzima Springs, etc., directly to the Island of Mombasa, but, yesterday, what Mr. Nyaoro and Mr. Kai from the CWSB, were saying was that they were trying to achieve a better service delivery by 2015! They seem to contradict each other. Later, when I pointed this fact out to Mr. Kai, he refused to admit that he had ever mentioned 3 years at the CRC launch!!! If they carry on like this, I don't hope to see water coming through our pipes in my lifetime, at least!

Here is what I said in the Petition last year. It's now a year and a half.



April 2006

Calling All Mombasa Residents!

RE: Non-availability of Water

For many YEARS now, the long suffering residents and other members of the public in and around Mombasa, have been continuously forced to put up with the most appalling ‘services’ to their Water Supply. First, from the NWCPC and now from the Mombasa Water and Sewerage Company.

Their plight, has been drawn to the attention of the authorities in Mombasa and Nairobi many, many times over the years, by one Razia Mohamedali (Miss), and a few others, but instead of improving their services, the authorities and suppliers charged with this duty, have steadily allowed the supply of water to deteriorate to an almost catastrophic state. In fact, they have been sent over 67 reminders since late 2004 via email and chosen to ignore the problem!

Of late, she has also suggested a permanent solution to this persistent water problem by requesting the relevant authorities to invest in and build a desalination plant which is not only environmentally friendly, but very possible, given that we live on the coast. Some of our beach hotels have installed their own private plants for desalinating the sea water. One example being Nyali Beach Hotel.

Consider this:

Digging bore-holes all over the place is not a sustainable long term viable option when you factor in their long term environmental impact. Consider the following…

1. These bore-holes and wells would be using precious ground water which is not being replenished fast enough due to lack of enough rain.

2. Our forest cover due to de-forestation, is nearly gone and therefore our water catchment areas with it.

3. There is a global climate change and the snows on the world’s mountains including our own Mt. Kenya, etc., are losing their precious storage of water due to snow melt. If anybody has noted, all the 3 mountains in the East Africa region have little or no snow these days.

4. Again, due to global warming, the polar ice caps are also melting very fast and sea-levels are rising in the process. If, we continue as we are doing by messing around with the environment, some of the coastal towns and cities world wide will find themselves under water. One example is Mambrui, North of Malindi which is slowly sinking under sand! There was a report on it some time ago in a local newspaper about how the residents have to keep moving further and further inland due to the rising sea-levels which is burying their houses in the sand every year after the rainy season.

5. Seawater desalination technologies that produce fresh water from seawater include thermal distillation methods, electric dialyzing methods and the reverse osmosis process. In the Middle East the main method in the past has been thermal distillation but one method that is gaining in popularity, not only in the Saudi Arabia, but in Japan, Indonesia, Bahrain and the USA, is the Reverse Osmosis method using semi permeable reverse osmosis hollow fibre membrane module technology, where seawater desalination can provide fresh drinking water capacity of up to 50,000 cubic metres /day (13.2 million gallons/day), that meets the highest drinking water quality standards.

An efficient and Sustainable Solution.

Now, if we consider all of the above, do we still want to keep digging deeper and deeper to access water for daily use? Instead, why don’t we convince our policy makers to invest the recent Ksh 71 million that the Ministry of Water allocated for the development of water in the Coast Province, by utilizing this money to start building a desalination plant?

Of course, this is peanuts, when it comes to investing in a desalination plant/s, but, is the more viable and better option for all concerned. It is anticipated that Coast residents, would not mind paying a little extra as long as it means getting a predictable and sustainable supply of water every day. As it is now, they pay phantom water bills and receive nothing in return!

What can we do?

The Coast water service providers have failed to meet their basic obligations and requirements to provide an efficient and sustainable water supply and appear to be extremely averse to any such suggestion for improvement or investment. If we are to protect the long term future of the Coast and have a water supply that is of a high quality for drinking, our policy makers must not allow the situation to deteriorate any further. Hence, this Petition, which will have a lawyer’s endorsement making it a legal document to compel the water service providers to do exactly that and in the most transparent manner possible.

The best results are achieved by all people working together as an inclusive team, looking for the best way forward and by being open to good ideas.

The Community Campaign Group is about where you live.

Please, sign the Petition for a better service from them.

Yours sincerely,

All Mombasa Residents

cc: Ministry of Water & his Permanent Secretary

     Norah A. Osoro, Water & Sanitation Program - AF, World Bank
     Elijah Agevi, City Hall Annex, 1st Floor, City Council of Nairobi

Mombasa Water and Sewerage Company

Coast Water Services Board

City Council of Mombasa

Kenya Alliance of Resident Association (KARA)

ConsumerFirst Network

All the Media Houses

Monday, December 3, 2007

Traffic in Mombasa....

Driving in Mombasa, at any time, is a real pain rather than a pleasure, due to the narrow, ill-maintained road network. But, of late, it's trying to compete with Nairobi where traffic jams are concerned.

One reason for this is the time of year. Every year during the school and public holidays, especially when these fall around a weekend, there are so many cars which arrive here from up-country, it's unbelievable. Add to this the total foreigners who drive hired cars and don't know a thing about our roads and the traffic that plies them. With such a mixture, total insanity reigns. The traffic police, are few and far between and the few who are around, get overwhelmed with this set up.

Now, to add to this meleè, I've noticed, since the past couple of weeks, that, there are huge trailers, lorries, containers, etc., that have taken to going through town, indiscriminately and causing terrible traffic jams, everywhere.

I don't understand the purpose of these horrors going through town and being pests to other legitimate road users, but, they not only cause these jams, but, mess up newly 'carpeted' roads.

Mombasa roads are too narrow for such kind of traffic to maneuver on them and hence the traffic jams. Last Friday, sometime in the afternoon, there was one such gridlock caused by not just one trailer, but, at least, two on Moi Avenue at the junction of Ganjoni post office. There were at least two lorries/trailer that were approaching Moi Ave from Ganjoni and another was stuck, yes, stuck, at the roundabout, blocking all traffic on Moi Ave. itself and all the feeder roads around it. This being a trailer, it couldn't turn at the roundabout considering it's size and knowing our many matatus and matatu minded drivers, traffic came to a standstill. I was stuck in this mess. I had to ring 112 from my mobile for help from the cops. They told me that another person had rung them up, too, and that some officers were on the way..., whom, I never saw, eventually, when the mess got undone.

Why are these monstrosities, plying the town centre? Can somebody explain, please? Are they doing this deliberately because they have been told to keep off? So, now they have all ganged up and are causing havoc! They also intimidate lesser traffic by their size, 'you let me pass, or you'll be made mince-meat which hardly a scratch at my end!' Most drivers decide not to 'argue' with this mentality and let them pass even if it's their right of way.

Will the people concerned please, take some affirmative action?