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BY: JUMA HEMEDI

7/06/2021

During his Madaraka day state address this year on June 1st, President Uhuru Kenyatta invited Kenyans to a national dialogue. This dialogue included the reflection of where we are as a country and how we got here. …..”a progressive Nation is one that is in continuous conversation with itself” he proclaimed. He also invited us to ponder on the paradox and the consequences of our choices.

As we consider the invitation we are reminded of some of the moments in our history when our country found itself on a cross road and some of the choices that were made by past generations and how those choices affected the country and its people. 

The generation of the 1940s looked at a country chocking with the tyranny of the colonial administration and the atrocities that were committed to Kenyans and decided that it was upon them to gift their children and the future Generations, a country that was free from the colonial rule.

This Generation of our founding fathers used unconstitutional and extra legal means and began the fight for freedom. They were killed, arrested, tortured, raped but they were unrelenting in their pursuit for freedom and self rule. And so on June 1st 1963 the colonial government finally gave in and declared independence for Kenya. 

That generation was not perfect but they dreamed of a perfect country that would constantly move towards perfecting its imperfections.

The Generation of the 1980s looked at a country that was bleeding from one party rule. A rule that did not allow people to dream and imagine a better country. This generation took it upon itself to organize, demonstrate and agitate, mostly in what was termed then as unconstitutional and extralegal means.  

They succeeded to push the boundaries of freedom and in 1991/2 section 2A of the constitution were repealed and Kenya became a multiparty state. The democratic freedoms we enjoy today is courtesy of that generation.

That generation too was faced with challenges. In the course o the struggle, some died others were arrested some were tortured and others were exiled. But even with all the persecutions, they remained adamant that the dreams of the founding fathers of creating a more free country had to be achieved. 

But since 1992 we have continuously failed to diagnose, acknowledge and fix the constant problem that has remained as the biggest hindrance to the development, social and economic fabric of our country. We have failed to fix our politics.

The problem was only acknowledged in 2008 after 1,500 Kenyans died and over 500,000 others were displaced in their own country, suffering daily indignities and some were left with lifelong scars. 

The national Reconciliation team that was set up recommended a raft of measures, Key among them was the enactment of the “National Accord and Reconciliation act of 2008” that created an expanded executive and Reintroduced the position of Prime Minister and two deputies. 

This created a sense of peace and calmness and the rapid economic and development growth experienced in Kenya then was attributed to the enactment of that act and what came with it.

But perhaps the closest we came to a lasting solution to our political problem was what was contained in Agenda number 4 of the National accord that recommended the creation of several commissions among them;

1. National Cohesion and integration Commission (NCIC)

2. Interim Independent electoral commission (IIEC)

3. Interim Independent Boundaries reviews Commission (IIBRC)

4. Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court (IICDRC) and

5. Committee of Experts (COE) created under the Constitutional  Amendment Bill 2009

None of these entities were provided by our laws before, but the Doctrine of civil Necessity was applied. It was necessary for the common good of the Kenyan people and as a means of achieving cohesion and integration.

I invite you to read the book titled “KENYA, Bridging Ethnic Divides” by Alice Wairimu Nderitu a former commissioner with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission NCIC and one of the co-founders of the civil society platform called “Uwiano Platform for peace”.

Recently we have been invited into the BBI debates and whether the process was constitutional or not. Our 2010 constitution was compiled by a committee of experts.

Perhaps what the president is inviting us to ponder about is what this generation of 2021 will do to undo some of the bottlenecks of the 2010 constitution that have created more divisions in the elusive formula for shared prosperity and ethnic integration.

Perhaps there was wisdom with the Kofi Anan Team of 2008 that drafted the National Accord and expanded the Executive to acknowledge our tribal politics and try to Bridge the Ethnic Divides in our Politics. 

This is the dialogue we are all invited to engage in and to ask ourselves whether we will shoulder the burden of the consequence of our choices. 

Juma Hemedi

Thika Water & Sewerage Company (THIWASCO) Managing Director Eng. Moses Kinya addressing stakeholders  during the Karimenu Water Supply Project stakeholders’ engagement meeting on Wednesday morning.

Clustered into three programmes, these developments will see the company increase the current water treatment supply of 39,000 (39 million litres) per day to about 63,000 (63 million litres) per day by the year 2025.
Thika Water & Sewerage Company (THIWASCO) has kicked off a KES. 12 billion infrastructural journey to meet Thika’s consumer water demand for the next 20 years up to the year 2040.

The company’s Managing Director Eng. Moses Kinya revealed this during the Karimenu Water Supply Project stakeholders’ engagement meeting on Wednesday morning.

The project, which taps water from Karimenu River near Maryhill Girls High school, is funded by the World Bank at a tune of KES. 1.04 billion. It will add 15,000 (15 million litres) of water per day to the current 39,000 daily against the current water demand of 55,000 m³ (55 million litres) per day.

The project starts in September this year and is expected to be complete in September 2022.

It targets to supply water to Tora, Witeithie, Muthara, Athena, Kianjau, Kiandutu, Kiganjo, Munyu, Gatuanyaga, Githima and Komo. This will free off the Chania/Thika River water source to supply more water to the rest of the areas, thus easing the water scarcity currently experienced in Thika and its environs.

Using internally generated finances, THIWASCO has also started improving on technology in the current treatment plant near Blue Post Hotel, to enable it increase its water treatment capacity and supply by an extra 12,000 (12 million litres) per day. The first phase of this programme is already in its tendering stage.

However, the biggest project that THIWASCO targets to alleviate water shortages in the area for the next 20 years is the Thika-Githunguri Water and Sanitation Project that is funded by DANIDA at a tune of KES. 11 billion.

This project, when complete, will add an extra 36,000 m³ (36 million litres) of water per day. In this project, the company plans to tap water at the junction of the Kiama and Thika Rivers in Murang’a County.

The project also involves the construction of 3 sewerage plants at Pilot, Nanga and Kilimambogo to increase sewerage connection by 7,000 m³ (7 million litres) of sewer collection per day.

This DANIDA project is currently at preparation stage and is expected to be complete by the year 2025.

Currently, THIWASCO’s main water sources are Chania River, which supplies 20,000 m³ per day, and Thika River that supplies 16,000 m³ per day.

Others are the five boreholes at Kilimambogo, Salama, Gatuanyaga, Matathia and Maryhill.

Some of the boreholes that were sunk in other areas produced water that was not fit for human consumption.

The company currently serves clean drinking water to 366,638 people and treats about 17 million litres of sewer per day. There are 51,322 water connection and 13,690 sewerage connections.

It’s revenue base rose from KES. 468 million in 2015 to KES. 763 million in 2019. This amount dropped to KES. 660 million last year due to the effects of COVID-19.

Water connection rose from 26,662 in 2015 to 36,315 in 2020. This is as the water production rose from 11.5m³ to 13.6 m³ per day during the same period. The company’s investment in terms of infrastructure development also rose from KES. 95 million to KES. 214 million during the same period.

THIWASCO has also incorporated technology in metre reading and billing and is no longer using cash transactions.


Equity Group Foundation, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and the German government through KfW, has commenced the selection process for the 2021 Wings to Fly scholarship programme.


Additionally, a similar process has started for the 2021 Elimu scholarship programme, a flagship program sponsored by the World Bank and the Ministry of Education and implemented through EGF.

The two programs will offer a combined total of 10,500 scholarships to academically promising scholars from needy backgrounds who sat and excelled in the 2020 KCPE examinations.

Academically promising 2020 KCPE finalists from all 47 counties who scored a minimum of 350 marks and who come from needy backgrounds can apply for the 2021 Wings to Fly scholarships by logging on to https://egfdmis.equitybank.co.ke/register_w2f to create a new account on the Wings to Fly portal and fill in the 2021 application form for consideration.

While 2020 KCPE finalists from financially challenged backgrounds who sat their examinations at public primary schools and are from 110 targeted Sub-Counties and fifteen urban centres with informal settlements and scored a minimum of 280 marks can make applications for the 2020/2021 Elimu scholarships by logging on to https://egfdmis.equitybank.co.ke/register_elimu to create a new account on the Elimu portal and fill in the 2020/2021 application form for consideration. For affirmative action, candidates who are from vulnerable and marginalized communities and those with special needs and disabilities who attained below 280 marks may be considered.

For both scholarship programs, scholars, guardians and parents who are unable to access the forms on the portal can get physical scholarship application forms at their nearest Equity branch or Equity Agent and must submit these for consideration on or before 31st May 2021.

The deadline for all scholarship application is 31st May 2021 whether submitted through the application portals or through Equity bank branches or Equity Agents.

Commenting on the commencement of the selection process, Equity Group Foundation Executive Chairman, Dr. James Mwangi appealed to Kenyans of goodwill who know a needy bright child anywhere in Kenya who has met the application criteria to help them apply for the scholarship.

“There are many needy and bright children who have attained the eligible marks and may not hear of this opportunity. I appeal to all Kenyans of goodwill to support this initiative by helping such children
to access the application forms from their nearby Equity bank branch or Agent so that they can stand a chance of securing a scholarship for their secondary school education,” said Dr Mwangi said.

He reiterated the Group’s commitment to supporting Kenyans to enjoy access to education opportunities through its scholarship programs.

“As Equity, we truly value the role of the various partners that we work with at the community level to ensure that our selection process is fair and that a vast majority of Kenyans get to hear about the programs and are guided appropriately on how to apply for the scholarships. This year, we wish to encourage interested applicants to embrace the use of the digital portals as this will minimize paper handling and will thus contribute to our efforts of minimizing the risk of exposure to COVID-19,” he said.

 

The submission deadline of 31st May 2021 will allow the Wings to Fly Community Scholarship Selection Board (CSSB) in all 47 counties and the Elimu Community Scholarship Advisory Committee (CSAC) in each of the 110 sub counties and 15 urban centres ample time to review and scrutinize the applications as well as conduct face to face interviews and assessments before awarding the most deserving scholars the scholarship opportunities.


The CSSB comprises of relevant key personalities in the community and is chaired by the Sub-County Director of Education and coordinated by Equity Bank Branch Manager while the CSAC comprises of relevant key personalities in the community and will be chaired by the Deputy County Commissioner and coordinated by Equity Branch Manager.


By Jaymo Wa Thika

I have followed a certain debate online that has gotten me so interested. It was talking about so many innocent men languishing in jail on false accusations of sexual harassment, rape or defilement. The argument was that so many men are now turning a blind eye on women in need or in distress for fear of tables turning against them in case the woman in question was not genuine in her cry for help.

Cases of false accusations reaching epidemic levels especially in today’s hard-drinking hookup culture, where the lines of consent have been blurred. 

Majority of these claims come after a breakup of what was a consensual sexual relationship where for instance, you find women accusing their boyfriends of rape as revenge after being dumped. Others have consensual sex and then regret it the next day and decide to hit on the boishaod. 

Then, we have those just doing it for attention. 

There are also these teenage girls who tell their parents that they were raped to avoid getting in trouble by shifting blame to the boy/man. Some parents too use this trick to typically cover up the wayward behaviour of their teen daughters or even their own infidelity. 

We also experience similar accusations on husbands whose estranged wives want to settle scores or disinherit them… Another lot that at times find themselves in a fix are gynecologists especially after they decline to subscribe to certain demands from these women. 

This list is endless; the police during arrests, the teachers, office bosses….. You name it. So many men’s lives are so often ruined by these women’s malicious lies.

Note, this doesn’t aim to exonerate men who actually rape or defile… No. We know that there are rotten apples among the men folk who do that and should actually face the full wrath of the law. Our concern is mainly that innocent man who is made to pay for a sin that he never committed. It is wrong and the accusers need to face the law anytime there is proof otherwise.

Stories about male victimhood have became highly visible these days with men often claiming to be victims of false accusations of sexual harassment and assault by women. Men are increasingly afraid to be left alone in a room with a woman without a third party present.With the nature of our African perspective on masculinity and a justice system that favours women, men are justified to live in fear.

 If a man calls a woman a liar or is accused of calling her a liar, he is guilty of calling a woman a liar, so there’s no way out. If he doesn’t deny it, he is thought to be guilty. If  he denies it, he is taken to have committed an additional sin, so it’s a trap. It is that horrible...People either assume a man’s guilt or they assume he shouldn’t be asserting his innocence. It’s a catch 22.

In conclusion, it is a fact that false allegations are common and that so many innocent men are suffering as the result of being wrongfully accused. Women who lie about being sexually assaulted use it as a way to 'get back' at men or in custody battles.

If you are concerned about the possibility of someone you know making an allegation against you, maybe it’s time you began sensing the level of trouble you are in. Understand the consequences of you underestimating the legal ramifications for your life if you make the wrong decisions. Unfortunately, most people go into some level of denial thinking that this will minimise the trouble they are in. Consequently, they fail to do things they must and find themselves in much deeper legal troubles than they started out with.

Otherwise, Don’t Give Up – Stay Up. The God of men is still alive.


CONCERNS/REASONS

Why do we have water rationing?

THIWASCO serves over about 325,000 customers daily, a number that increases during the day due to visitors who frequent Thika town from the surrounding areas of Murang’a, Gatundu North and Machakos among others. This raises the demand for water to 56,000m3 (56 million litres) per day against the current ability to treat 41,000m3 (41 million litres) per day thus creating a deficit of about 15,000m3 (15 million litres).


Why is there rationing during the rainy season?

Water supply is not dictated by the amount of water in the river but it is rather determined by the amount of water that the current infrastructure can manage to treat at any given time.

 

Why does THIWASCO need water bowsers and exhausters?

Water bowsers are a temporary measure to try and bridge the gap in the water deficit and in a way to curb any chances of exploitation by private water providers. The water supplied by THIWASCO bowsers is done using the same water rates as in the normal supply and payable through the normal billing system (not instant payments).

For the exhausters, they are to help customers who are yet to be connected to the main sewerage network eg Landless, estate.

 What causes unplanned water outages?

In most cases, this is as a result of breakages of pipes by road constructions and other infrastructural developments going on across the sub-county. Others are as the result of power failure and the normal wear and tear of the company’s pumps and piping systems.

There is also a case of old metallic piping installed in homes especially those who have been existed for long. These pipes are rusty and at times clog and block the free flow of water.

 Why do we at times get “dirty” water?

This in most cases comes as a result of those houses that still use the old  metallic pipes that when water resumes, sweep along the dirt and the rust into the taps. This only takes a few minutes and then clears. We encourage people to replace such pipes for better input.

What are your future plans to solve all these problems?

1.The management has embarked on  efficiency improvement projects that will see an increase of water production within its existing plant by improving its design. This project is going to be implemented in three phases touching on increasing the capacity of the raw water intake from Chania and Thika Rivers, pump house and high water lifts to consumers.

The first phase will be complete by end of June 2021. This will increase production by about 12,000m3 (12 million litres).

2. The Kariminu/Maryhill water project that seeks to construct the second treatment plant at the Ngoingwa Reservoir Site is currently at detailed design review stage. The 950 million project is expected to begin early November 2021 with a construction period of 12 months. This will inject an additional 15,000m3 (15 million litres) into the supply system whose water will flow through gravity and ease the water strains of Ngoingwa, Karibaribi, Witeithie, Kiandutu, Kiang’ombe and Kiganjo.

 3. The DANIDA funded project that seeks to increase sewer coverage within Thika and construct a new treatment plant at the THIWASCO land near Blue Post, will increase the water production with an additional 35,000 m3 (35 million litres).

When this project ends, it will make THIWASCO meet and surpass the current water demand and secure supply up to the year 2042. It will also construct more sewerage  treatment plants at Pilot, Kilimambogo and Nanga with a view to cover more areas. The Pilot plant will be installed with biodigester infrastructure to produce biogas that will be used to generate electricity, thus reduce power bills.


In a meeting held at the Thika Town Hall today (April 13th) with a section of residents and the Thika District Business Association (TDBA), Kiambu Governor Dr. James Nyoro has promised to do the following with immediate effect, to ease some of the challenges that have been bothering Thika residents and the business community of late;-

1. The Governor has waived the Health Licence Fees from all businesses that don't sell food or drinks (edibles).

2. The construction and tarmacking of all the CBD roads and the estate access roads in Majengo and Joytown area will resume immediately the rains subside.

3. The  potholes on Kenyatta Highway between the stadium roundabout, U-Shop and the UTI junction with be sealed immediately as we wait for the rains to subside and the contractor to start the re-carpeting and expansion of this road.

4. The Governor has taken up the issue of water shortages in Thika and working with THIWASCO management, they will develop a programme to ease the shortage and wade off any possible water cartel business. He also promise to work out to see that the actualisation of the Karimenu Water Treatment Plant is hastened to enable THIWASCO to supply enough water to the residents.

5. The Makongeni Bus Terminus will immediately be leveled and graveled to make it accessible during these rains and will thereafter be upgraded using cabro.

6. The garbage in and around Madaraka Market will immediately be cleared and the market later renovated and fenced when the rains subside


BY: JUMA HEMEDI

13/04/2021

The late 90s and early 2000 were marked by industrial union unrest among these was the Nationwide teachers strikes called by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT). As a Kenya Red cross volunteer and first aider we would be on high alert during such days.

EXCHANGING IGNORANCE 1

On one such day of teachers strike, the teachers and their union officials had been denied access to the Moi garden and Thika stadium where they were to meet and be addressed before starting their procession to the DCs offices, among those to address them was the then Juja MP Hon. Stephen Ndichu. 

The striking teachers and their officials after engaging the riot police in running battles retreated and gathered at the then TAC (teacher’s advisory centre) grounds also known as Red Cross ground to hear what Hon. Stephen Ndichu had to say to them in support of their strike. The man never missed such occasions.

They had only gathered for a few minutes when a police land rover passed by and an enthusiastic officer saw a gathering. A teargas canister was lobbed at the centre leading to everyone scampering to safety. Hon. Ndichu took refuge in the Red Cross office where we were also holed up waiting for the situation to calm down. 

When all was clear, an enthusiastic member of the public came and said to Hon. Ndichu “Mhesh usijali sisi wote tuko hapa na wewe, hawatakugusa” (don’t worry we are all here for you, they (police) will not harm you). Hon. Ndichu asked the seemingly shaky guy “you and who? The guy looked around and realized he was all alone and seemed to speak for a nonexistent crowd of people. “He gave himself busy”

EXCHANGING IGNORANCE 2

A few years ago I was riding in a taxi on my way to Alanda Airport, Stockholm to catch my flight back to Kenya when the taxi driver decided to engage me in small talk. It was a long ride so I obliged. He told me that he was originally from Iraq and that he had fled the war situation to seek for asylum and later refugee status in Sweden. 

I asked whether Saddam Hussein was a bad person, to which he replied in the negative. I told him that all we know about Saddam was that he was a bad guy and that he was oppressing his people. He told me that all that was International politics and that he had done a lot for the common people. After establishing that we were both Muslims, his next question was even more interesting. “What kind of a Muslim are you?” “Sunni or Shia”?

I realized I had no idea, so I asked him what those categories were and if they matter to him. After struggling to explain the differences, I informed him that the first time I heard of the two divisions was when there was fighting in the Arab world Iran Vs Iraq and Israel Vs Palestine. And I only thought it was their way of identifying their different tribes, (of course I went back to read more about them later) and that I had no idea of how to differentiate between the two sects. He was very surprised that I didn’t know. But to me it didn’t matter.

EXCHANGING IGNORANCE 3

Severally we have found ourselves exchanging ignorance just because we want to be the first ones to break some news, give information or contribute to a debate. We do so in political debates, economic, social, legal, technological, medical, and religious and even matters of government and state. 

I was asked by a Mzungu once where I came from and when I replied Kenya, he asked me if Kenya was in Nairobi. I calmly told him that Nairobi was the capital city of Kenya, to which he asked if “Nairobi Country” was in Africa. I made myself busy before he could ask me whether I live with lions in the African jungle. As I went I whispered to myself “ignorant muzungu”.

While it is important to contribute to discussions or even set the agenda, many times we find ourselves exchanging ignorance instead of useful and factual information we suffer from “Intellectual laziness”. 

I meet a lot of individuals who ask me how come I speak and understand Kikuyu and yet I am a Muslim or I have Muslim names. Sometimes I reply that there is a difference between ability to speak a language and religion and while religion is a matter of faith, language is a matter of interest. 

Other times I also tell them that I understand and can speak a little Norwegian, Arabic and listen to bangra (Indian) music (just to brag). That there are many Kamaus, Njeris, wambuis who cannot even utter a word in Kikuyu and then there is my friend Onyango who knows no word of Dholuo but he speaks fluent Kikuyu.


We see messages daily of people saying that in 2022 “we” shall not vote so and so, or “we” have refused, “we” will show them and so on, only to discover that they are actually talking about themselves. It’s like when we say that “life is hard and that there is no money”, only to realize that you are the only broke guy around. 

A few years ago a friend bought a top range fuel guzzler and our mutual friend asked, “Doesn’t that car consume too much fuel and the way fuel has become expensive? The car owner asked, “How much is the fuel? Anyone buying a fuel guzzler is not worried about the cost of fuel.

While exchanging ignorance can land one in trouble it definitely seem to be a daily occurrence that helps keep social media alive and help Humans pass time especially now with lock downs.

What is your funny story, on people exchanging Ignorance? are you a perpetrator or victim?

JUMA HEMEDI

The last few days have exposed the traffic deficiency within and around Thika town. The town has simply grown faster than its roadways can support resulting to hours and hours in the traffic jam.
When the Thika Superhighway became a reality, it came as a great relief for both Thika and Nairobi residents. Its impact accrued in numerous ways resulting in massive economic and social benefits quickly being visible and quantifiable.
First came the drastic drop in bus fare where commuters could now do the same journey for as little as Sh.50. This directly influenced the people's travel patterns. Mobility level increased as a result with more and more people getting lured to making social visits and recreational journeys to the city.
Speedier movement of people and goods to and from Nairobi encouraged more trade between these two urban centres due to convenience and a cheaper cost of transportation. As a result 'Thika became Nairobi', anything in the city being readily available in Thika.
The inhabitants of Thika started acquiring vehicles and motorcycles in their numbers. Traffic increased drastically not only on Thika Road but also on our town's roads. Traffic jams and lack of parking space became the order of the day, something that Thika residents only related to Nairobi City.
The snarl-ups along Kenyatta Highway near Gatitu or Haile Selassie Road towards the Chania Bridge near Blue Posts Hotel and the persistent parking space nightmare within the town's Central Business District (CBD) are good examples of the rise in the number of vehicles partly triggered by the completion of the Thika Superhighway.
Basically, Thika has very few inlets and outlets when we talk about traffic flow, especially when it comes to traffic to or from Nairobi which is the busiest. Other than Kenyatta Highway that exits and allows entry at the Gatitu junction, the only other option is the Haile Selassie exit and entry point at the Chania Bridge near Blue Post.
This simply means that when traffic overwhelms either or both points, the entire Thika town gets to feel the pinch. Everything else stalls and no one can move.
The Gatitu junction bears the blunt of everything as it serves traffic from the Nairobi direction and traffic in and out of the counties of Machakos, Kitui and Garissa who use the busy Thika-Garissa Highway. Even though Kenyatta Highway is a dual carriage road, it is usually “chocked” at the Gatitu junction bottleneck, which directs vehicles into Thika-Garissa Highway that is a narrow two-way traffic highway, forcing vehicles to have to wait for long to gain access either way.
The free flow of vehicles from Nairobi is also chocked into a single lane as they get into the Thika flyover near Ngoingwa. This spills the gridlock back into the Thika Superhighway and into Haile Selassie Road as motorists escape Gatitu via the Blue Post route.
Another very serious cause for traffic within and without the town is the disorganisation of the town’s CBD. The Thika CBD is simply a one very confused and disorganised concrete slum where everything goes and every man for himself rule reigns….. Every road and packing space is a matatu, tuktuk, bodaboda or taxi stage. The remaining spaces are either taken up by the street vendors or serves as a loading/offloading zone for shop owners.
This crazy arrangement only creates confusion and derails traffic flow at any given time.
WAY FORWARD?
The leadership, both in national and county governments must burn the midnight oil to come up with a permanent solution to the traffic/packing menace.
This is the time to really think outside the box. This is the time for leaders to work as a team to lobby for funding to, for instance, have an interchange at the Gatitu, Engen and BAT junctions to avoid the inter-crossing of vehicles as the join the Thika-Garissa Highway.
This is the time for these leaders to lobby for funding to have the Thika-Garissa Highway upgraded into a dual carriage highway all the way to Kilimambogo at least. This is the time for these leaders to lobby for funding to have the Thika flyover near Njomoko and Haile Selassie Road expanded to two or more lanes to accommodate the high demand of traffic.
This is the time for the leaders to fight for more exit and entry points such as the one being advocated by the area MP Eng. Wainaina that seeks to have PSVs exit the Thika Main Bus Terminus through Upper Rd, Thika towards the Del Monte farm and out to the Thika-Kenol Highway at the Thika Sports Club junction.
This is the time to lobby for the actualisation of the Greater Eastern Bypass that was mean to offload Thika-Garissa Highway at Kilimambogo through Munyu-Juja Farm and eventually to link up with the Eastern Bypass in Ruiru. We also need leaders lobbying for a similar bypass from Makongeni to link up with the Greater Eastern Bypass and another exit at Broadway High School to link up with the Thika Superhighway through Athena and Witeithie in Juja Sub-County.
All these bypasses combined with the one joining BAT and Del Monte, will ease traffic towards the town centre.
As for the disorganisation within the CBD, it is a manifestation of some failed leadership. We cannot have a slum in the name of a town and then claim prudence in leadership. For this, we only call for leaders leading by example.

Ni hayo tu kwa sasa……. 


By Jaymo Wa Thika

Yesterday, I bumped into a hot, interesting but rather controversial conversation that I really need to share with you. It was about the street commercial sex workers (CSWs).

In the conversation, I gathered two very key messages:
1. The CSWs are there because there is a very ready market and
2. They offer a very “essential service” to men in need of a solution to a very pertinent problem….. Sounds crazy you think….. I thought so too.

The conversation was about the partial lockdown in the 5 “Gatubia” counties where among other things, the government closed all bars, entertainment joints and eateries were left to serve “take aways” only. The argument was that the government’s move had confined men back into their “home cells” that they had briefly ran away from when the president previously opened up the economy before the second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The debaters argued that those places offered men’s only known refuge from the wrath of their first ladies. They argued that the reason why men flocked and literally lived in bars and entertainment joints was in search for peace and happiness… something lacking at home.

And being African men, they suffered in silence since no one would listen to any man who claimed to be “sat on” by his wife. He would be dismissed as being a weakling and useless man.

So, the only place such men will find peace and at least exercise their laughing prowess, was in those joints where their money buys the peace, the happiness and acceptance (though mechanical). Those are the only places they be men and be recognised as men.

That is why you will find men sing praise and worship songs in bars with so much happiness and nostalgia. In fact, you can only find the best praise and worship choirs in bars, not in churches….. That one I can assure you.

They will stick inside the club until they are “swept out” by the attendants after the time is up to close the bar. Here, it will take the man a whole hour to cover a 200-metre distance from the bar to his home…… risking being a guest of the police or being a client of the other “manyang’aus out to collect whatever has been left by the barman.. He feels rather safer in their hands than with the bosslady.

That is why there is a lot of noise among men about curfew hours. They cannot imagine being at home at 8 to withstand the “torture” for the next 8 hours before the chaps are let out again for some “fresh air” the following morning. Yes….. 8 very long hours that seem endless.

Some even spend those cold hours in their car after being locked out of the house by the bosslady.

Apart from the nagging (and sometimes battering), the man is completely denied “pale pale” and lives like a bachelor… Yes, they are the married bachelors who sleep in either different beds or rooms with the bosslady.

Being human, you expect such a man to sneak out now and then for these “essential services”. This is where his money and status comes in handy when it comes to the choice of the “service providers”. Those with financial capabilities will “sponsor” someone to take over those duties or hire high-end clandes to offer the relief they are craving for.

For the “walala hois”, the street CSWs come in handy. That is where their ka100 will offer a “quickie” to offload their problems.

Yes, now you know why, no matter how much we try to chase these CSWs off the streets, they will never go away. There is a very big market for their products and services….. but THE BIG Q is…Who is to blame?

 


BY: JUMA HEMEDI

30/03/2021

When he was posted to Chania High School as a new principal, the late Mr. Wachira found a slightly chaotic school. But thanks to his reputation we were already afraid of him long before he even reported. 

The assembly bell rang and we were all lined up to listen to the routine speeches from the teachers, head boy, head girl and a word from the good book.

The deputy took over and after her brief speech; she introduced our new principal Mr. Wachira. He looked as tough as the stories we had heard. And with his heavy accent from the slopes of Mt. Kenya he gave a short speech and declared; “Shania will Shange” (Chania will Change). And just like that he dismissed the parade. 

We did not require a logbook table or a protractor to know that he means business and we robotically scampered in different directions. I was in form Three.

Two days later while doing his patrols I bumped into him, each of us coming from blind positions. He stopped and asked what my name was. “Juma Hemedi ". "Sir” I replied. “Come with me to the office” he instructed.

The conversation we had with Mr. Wachira centered around sports, and in particular football. He was concerned that since the school was built we have never been past the zonal competitions in football but we had a very good netball team. 

I was tasked with setting up a boy’s football team and later a girl’s team. The boy’s team which we nicknamed “dream team” became the first Chania team to ever represent the school and Central Province in National Championship in Kaimosi the following year. Our girl’s team won the Provincial finals but there was no National competition for Girls.

Two weeks ago I attended the football match between Thika Queens football club and Zetech University from Ruiru, Two weeks earlier I had watched Thika Queens play Ulinzi  and earlier than that they had played Mathare women team Thika Queens won all those matches with good goal differences and an amazing display of talent. I must say that I was really impressed with the finesse, discipline and the dedication that each player displayed in all the matches.

Thika Queens is perhaps the first female team playing in the National league to be set up in Thika. It breathes the long lost fresh hope into the football arena in Thika. Football clubs in Thika have had a jinx of good starts and then on and off disappointments.

We grew up when Thika had clubs such as KTM FC, Metal Box FC, Kenya Canners FC, TCM FC (Thika Cloth Mills), Booth extractions FC, UTI FC, and BAT. Most of these teams were sponsored by the different manufacturing companies that had set up shop in Thika.

When the textile and manufacturing in Thika collapsed in the early nineties and late eighties, football in Thika and most industrial Towns took a nose dive. Ruiru went down, Eldoret went down, meru went down and many others followed.

Thika community began the establishment of community teams the most Notable being Former Thika United Club. The history of Thika United dates many years ago, long before the name (Thika United) was formed. The story began at the edge of the perimeter wall that surrounds the Thika Mosque in Majengo where a tall flood light towers the end of a short back path that separated three  primary schools (Thika Muslim, Thika Primary and St. Patricks). That exact spot existed as a “base” (a place where youths would idle and pass time away) known as “Beirut”.

Beirut football team was formed mostly by youths from Majengo, Starehe, Biafra, and Ofafa, as a way of passing time and staying away from social evils. I still vividly remember some players including Basanga, Hakim, Maha (Isayah), Kamae, Oti among others. 

Year’s later Beirut team died, but the spirit lived on. When Reinhard Fabisch, the German tactician who almost took Harambee starts to the 1998 World Cup came to Thika Municipal Stadium for a friendly match between Harambee stars and a team that had been hurriedly constituted under the name Thika Combined, the dream of a Thika team was awakened.

Sponsorship was secured through MEDISCA Company and later on Brookside took the sponsorship of Thika United FC. While Thika United brought the fans back to the stadium, the verdict is still out there as to what may have gone wrong or right with the team. But the dream was differed once again.

But one thing is clear, managing a football club is a capital intensive venture and it may be impossible without support from key sectors such as the corporate world as part of their Corporate Social Investment (CSI/CSR).

Thika Queens has once again rekindled and awakened the lost dream; they have managed to attract more fans and brought football lovers back into the stadium. They form almost 60% of the National women team that represents the country. The queens have once again given hope to the Thika community and placed it on the sporting map. 

They have won almost all their home and away games and have continued to show improvement in every other game. Their players have been called for trials by international clubs. All they need is a solid support. 

Thika business community, Manufacturers, corporate and Thika Community must rise to the occasion and help secure a long term sponsorship deal that will give the Queens a fighting chance and save our girls from early marriages, early pregnancies, and violence. We must rise to help nurture the sporting talents of the queens. 

We owe it to our daughters.

Hail to the QUEENS!!!!

Juma Hemedi

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