April 2021


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?

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