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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


BY: JUMA HEMEDI

29/03/2021

We began hearing some rumors that it was either “Myselefu” or “Ali Milo” who had scooped number one in the Madrasa exams and that a rich Muslim guy had said that he will give the winner a shopping voucher to go shop NEW clothes at Martha’s Clothings, the shop located near city General Stores that was among the very few shops that would sell new clothes in Thika town alongside Fashion Centre (Kwa Muhindi).  

Wearing new clothes for us during Eidd Festivities or any other festival was as rare as meeting a Majengo resident going to shower with a Cussons Imperial Leather Soap.

So, if one had new clothes you would have both bragging rights and as lucky as Jonathan Igwebu. Who is Jonathan Igwebu you might ask me? Jonathan Igwebu was one of the lucky survivors after the Biafran war in Nigeria, according to Chinua Achebe; He not only survived alone but with his wife and three out of his four children. To crown it all his bicycle also survived. He used it as “taxi” opened a small business made some money until thieves came to his place one night and stole his money but spared his life. 

If you want to know more about Igwebu read Chinua Achebe’s story tittled “Civil Peace”.

Anyway the rumors also said that the winner will also get a wrist watch (saa ya alarm). Now I don’t know about you but I kept dreaming with that watch even though I had not seen it. The closest I had come to a watch was when I tried to repair an old Quartz wrist watch that belonged to my father using home tools such as kitchen knives, safety pins and spoons. 

Let’s just  say that my attempt of becoming a “watch Engineer” the first one from Majengo and North of Kenyatta Highway died with the beating that I received from the owner of the watch. Later on I came to learn from reliable sources (my mum) that the watch wasn’t really old and spoilt but “ilikuwa imeisha Majira”. How was I to know that? By that time, I decided that “myselefu” and any engineering career, couldn't travel in the same direction.

The day came and what was a rumor was finally confirmed, yours truly had scooped position one and had scored highly in the various subjects that included Reciting the Koran, language, Islamic history, and Arabic writing.

 The competition was very tough and the difference in marks between “myselefu” and “Ali Milo” (a nickname we gave him for the love of Milo) was only two points. The Muslim Rich guy who had pledged the shopping voucher was present and after noticing the narrow differences in points, he decided to give number one and two the same prizes.

The vouchers indicated Shirt, Trousers, socks and shoes. There was something else wrapped in a small gift pack (zile karatasi za kushine shine). All eyes were on us to unveil what was in those packs. When we were done with the gift wrappers that we had to remove carefully since we would need to use those papers again for some things we did not even know, I carefully removed “saa ya Gold” and tried it on to everyone’s  amazement and envy. 

For the next few days I would sleep and wake up every two hours to check whether the watch was still under my pillow and to set the alarm to wake me up again after two hours. That watch had a very irritating sound to everyone else but me. And their feelings didn’t matter. Any of my friends who wanted to touch the watch had to wash their hands first and I would remove the watch every two hours and put it into my pocket and hold it firmly. I would say that I was told that the watch shouldn’t be exposed to the sun for too long.

Saturday came and it was time to go “Kadim dim ka Sheki” for a swim. For those who don’t know “kadim dim ka sheiki” was a place where water would stagnate over a large surface and used to be near where the Kenya Mpya buses station in Section 9 Thika is located. So if you live around that area and you did not know why water keeps flooding in your houses during rainy season, now you know. You are living in our “kadim dim”.

The excitement I had with the wrist watch could not allow me to wear a long sleeved shirt; even if I did, I had to fold it for all haters and naysayers, fans and supporters and “others” who couldn’t be categorized, to notice, the “Son of Majengo” has a golden watch. 

We had walked walked past where St. Davids Academy is today located, when some slightly limping older guy asked to see my watch and wanted to know if it had an alarm. I braggingly removed to show him as I caution him to be careful because it was delicate. He took it and kept it in his pocket and started limping away. It took us a few minutes to know that we (read I) had just been robbed, our attempts to shout at him and try to follow him were met by stones that he started throwing at us as he chased our terrified bodies away.

One week later I saw him limping around Majengo Centre very calmly, I gave him the eye that suggested that “I Know What You Did Last Week”. He responded with a weird looking smile, that had some teeth missing that seemed to suggest “say one word and I would dispatch you to your maker”. I realized that I was robbed by an older homeboy from Majengo. Thieves have no honour.

I told my terrified self that “of importance is life”, and just like Jonathan Igwebu who told his sympathizers after he was robbed, “let it go where everything else has gone. Nothing Puzzles God”. 

And that is how a “good thief” took my wrist watch.

…….indeed Nothing Puzzles God.


Juma Hemedi


Former Thika MP Alice Ng'ang'a has urged Kenyans to take great caution to avoid contracting COVID-19 as the third wave hits the country.

Speaking in Nairobi as she received the COVID-19 vaccination, the former legislator encouraged people to go for the jab noting that this would boost their immunity and thereby boost their ability to battle the virus.

She insisted that the vaccine was safe and it would not only help people from getting seriously ill should they get infected but would also avert deaths occasioned by the high viral loads in the third wave.

Ng'ang'a maintained that the vaccination process was not only simple but also less demanding, urging Kenyans to ignore negative rumours spread by those who were against the jab.

 


By Jaymo Wa Thika

Now now…. We can confidently say that, as the residents of Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Kajiado and Machakos counties, we are back to FACTORY SETTINGS as concerns the COVID-19 pandemic. We are back where we were one year ago when this pandemic first hit us last year in March.

As much as we would want to blame the president for being very harsh on us, we were equally to blame. We brought this situation on ourselves for being careless and unmindful of the spread of this virus unlike our other 42 counterparts who will still enjoy some freedoms as we ponder how to survive for the next few weeks or months…. Who knows? We brought this unto ourselves out of our own ujuaji and feeling of importance. We simply let off our guard.

That aside, maji yakishamwagika hayazoleki…. Sasa tugange yajayo. This is the time to reflect and search ways to adapt to the “new normal” or perish. It is not the time to sit down, whine and cry over things we have little control of.

The other day I quoted Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina when he said;
“If we haven’t learnt anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, we shall never learn. If it hasn’t taught us to be innovative, then we are doomed. As a section of the economic sector collapses with COVID-19, another window of commerce opens. Each of us needs to position ourselves to avoid collapsing with those that have been rendered redundant. Simply reposition yourself and identify the priority areas and opportunities that have developed from the conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

I still stand with those words…. The president has locked us into our own cocoon, closed all bars and entertainment joints, banned any forms of gatherings, limited eateries to “take aways only” etc… and you all know what that means. It means limited business or to some, no business at all thus limited resources in circulation.

But does that mean the end of the world? ABSOULTELY NO!!! God has given us the power to think and do life well, to maximize our potential.
Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! – Deuteronomy 30:19

This is the time to think beyond the box. At least by now, we have some experience with COVID-19, having lived with it for over a year now, unlike in March 2020 when no one knew anything about it.

This is not the time to be rigid and getting stuck to your previous comfort zones. It is the time to adapt ourselves to the emerging situations and getting the most out of every situation that you get into. This is the time to really open our eyes to identify opportunities that come with the new challenges.

Every challenge is an opportunity. Business is solving other people’s problems for a fee. Get out there, identify the emerging challenges and make money out of them through creating solutions to people. The new normal now is the avoidance of physical contacts and interactions. Find solutions and opportunities to solve this puzzle. This is where online business comes in. Make use of your smartphone to do business. Even those with “Kamulika Mwizis” sell or create opportunities via phone calls or SMS.

There are businesses that have been created by this eg the sale of “Barakoas”, sanitisers etc…. Why not try and see where you fit in.. Ama are you too “big” for such? Watakusema you say? But, huko kukusema hakutakuletea chakula kwa meza. Watasema watachoka, kasha walale.

There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t find something to do. However, our greatest challenge is because we don’t like to think. We just want to stick to our old norms, what we have been doing ever since and want to believe that those are the only things that we can do or we were created to do. Huo ni ufala. Amka ufikirie. Tumbo haijui kungoja. Lazima uishughulikie. If you wait for someone else to think for you, you will die of depression my fren.

Think!! Think!! Think and think of new ways to earn a decent living. Otherwise, jua kuna watu hawalali saa hii trying to fish out opportunities that will present themselves during this lockdown. We lala tu na kushinda ukiblame serikali vile haijali watu wake as others strategise on how they will get that coin that is still remaining in your pocket. Ukikosa kujipanga, utapangwa.


BY Jaymo Wa Thika

An incident I bumped into sometimes back got me thinking about life and how each one of us reacts to life’s challenges.

Everyone is at one time or the other entangled in some kind of challenge, but how we react to it makes all the difference. Some will sink themselves into alcohol, others into some state of withdrawal, others will hide themselves in church, and others will shout out for help and so on and so forth.

How we react to a particular problem determines whether we get a solution to it or we compound it and worsen the situation.

Most people are living in depression or die out of it because of the negative decisions they made after plunging into certain challenges. For instance, if you lose your job and opt to drown yourself into alcohol or lock yourself inside the house and cry, you are simply courting depression or worse still a possibility of committing suicide as an escape route to your challenges.

Most men, unlike women, fall in this category as they suffer from that masculine pride not to show others that you have tripped. The other category that suffers most from similar denial syndrome is the working class, the middle class and the wealthy.

These groups of people are hardest hit when calamity strikes, as they fear the repercussions of their peers’ reactions when they learn of their loss. They dread the loss of status and what people will say about them and their crumbling ship.

They don’t want to move out of their big mansion into what they can afford. They still insist on driving even when they fuel their cars on borrowed money. They still want their children to continue schooling in a school they can barely raise the fees.

Eventually, these people end up so indebted and making so many enemies to a point that they can no longer walk to town in peace. At this point, some will seek solace in the bottle. Others will hide in church praying the whole day. Some will lock themselves in the house the whole day while some women will now fall for a “sponyoo” to help her service her bills.

This is the time when depression and suicidal thoughts start creeping in and if not arrested in time, the end is usually catastrophic.

One thing I admire with the low-income category of people is that they adapt to challenges very easily. They are never ashamed of their situation and will boldly seek external help without blinking an eye. They are never ashamed to tell you that they haven’t eaten for two days as long as opening up will offer some possible solutions, however temporary. They will live one day at a time, hoping that one day, God will open the window of His Glory.

This category of people will be happy to share “Githeri ya 20” and talk about it the following morning as they go out to seek for the next meal. They are rarely depressed or concerned what others will say about them. They just live their lives.

Another positive aspect about this lot is that they are very social and will pool together their meagre resources to come to the aid of one of their own who is in a particular challenge. Here, there is too much brotherhood, a true spirit of Ujamaa or what we call in Kenya Harambee.

This is the one thing that lacks in the middle and upper classes of people. They are so proud, egocentric and really don’t care about anyone else apart from themselves. Their friendship is limited to material wealth, people they can share with in entertainment, luxuries and in pride. Fake friendship to say the least.

That is why if any of them trips, it’s them and their God.

I believe all can learn something from the low-income class of people. These people at most exhibit the best of humanity when it comes to be there for each other. They are very good in adapting to change. They are very good at living their lives and not faking it to please their peers.

TAFAKARI HAYO KWA SASA……..


A section of Thika residents who had presented themselves at the Thika Town Hall to participate in the much-publicised Citizen Fora in regards to the World Bank funded Kenya Urban Support Programmes (KUSP) for Thika Municipality got a rude shock when they were informed that the meeting had been postponed indefinitely without any prior notice.

About two weeks ago, Kiambu County Government placed a notice in the media appealing to residents of the six municipalities to attend public participation sessions in their various local municipality halls on Monday 22nd March 2021 to deliberate on priority development programmes that would benefit from the KES. 1.8 billion World Bank kitty for the year 2021-2022.

To their utter dismay, a locked Town Hall door met them with some county staff deployed to register them as they came. When they demanded to know why they were being registered and asked to leave, the officials responded that the meeting had been cancelled and what they were doing was to register those who had come and those who had any written memorandum to present to the county government for consideration.

This agitated the residents who included the Thika District Business Association (TDBA) Chairman Alfred Wanyoike. They demanded for an audience with the Thika Municipal Manager Hoswel Ng’ang’a Kinuthia since he was the one mandated to convene the meeting.

They argued that their data was being recorded with an intention by the organisors to pass resolutions for an inexistent public participation forum.

Pleas to have them leave the compound bore no fruits, insisting that they would only leave after the Municipal Manager came and addressed them.

Eventually, after about 2 hours of a heated debate, the manager came out from his office.

In response, Kinuthia said that the meetings had been cancelled by Governor James Nyoro due to the COVID-19 restrictions. However, he was at pains to explain why they had to cancel it in the last minute when participants had already arrived ready to present their views.

“We are under instructions not to hold any meetings due to the COVID-19 restrictions. This forum has been postponed indefinitely until when we shall be instructed otherwise,” explained the Municipal Manager.

However, MCAs Chege Waithumbi (Kamenu Ward), Julius Taki (Witeithie) and Simon Kuria Wakarema accused the current administration of giving Kiambu East a raw deal in allocation of resources and implementation of development programmes.

They said that even as the county was preparing to budget for the 2021-2022 KUSP’s KES. 1.8 billion, Kiambu East was yet to realise the benefits of the over KES. 350 million that was allocated in the previous financial year. They demanded to know why majority of those projects were never tendered for with the ones that had been started by the previous administration dying a natural death.

This, they said, was despite the fact that similar projects were going on without a hitch in the other side of Kiambu West. They accused the current administration of diverting the money allocated for projects around Kiambu East to Kiambu West, because that is where all the county bosses hailed from.

They also demanded to know where the money received by Kiambu County Government in terms of revenue collections and allocations from treasury went because no tangible development could be witnessed around Kiambu East, other than World bank funded projects.

They pointed out that Kiambu East’s biggest hurdle was having their Municipal Boards dominated by officials drawn from Kiambu West who knew nothing about their predicaments. Theirs, they said, were boardroom development of policies that had no actual impact on the demands of the residents.

The meeting ended without any word as to when or if the public will be called for participation other than a vague promise of an indefinite meeting and a plea for residents to forward their memoranda to the Municipal Manager.


Kiambu County Assembly has approved the Physical Development Plans for 1,750 households at Umoja Informal Settlement in Thika under the Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Program - KISIP.

This has opened the floodgates for the residents to benefit from block title deeds for the 4.79 hectares of land.

The 60 block title deeds were received by CECM Lands Housing Physical Planning and Urban Development Samuel Mugo from George Arwa, Head of Tenure Regularization at KISIP.

Seven settlement schemes have been pre-qualified for planning and security of tenure and are pending final verification. They are; Gachagi, Madharau and Kiandutu in Thika, Shauri Yako in Dagoretti, Ruthimitu Kiamburi in Kikuyu and Kibagare in Kiambaa.

Present to receive the titles were Chief Officer Housing, Municipality and Urban Development John Mutie, Director Housing Julius Mwololo, Deputy Director Survey and Geo Informatics Isaac Gitau and housing officers.

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