There’s just time to draw breath and for The Forum to reflect on past postings and their relevance to recent events.
The Standard newspaper on August 31st reported on its front page under the headline ‘On red carpet, leaders sing same old song to victims of our roads’, the burial of 15 people killed in an appalling accident involving a matatu in which 23 people were killed and 34 seriously injured. The matatu driver had lost control of his vehicle and it plunged into a dry riverbed. He was found to have been speeding and was later it was discovered he had been drunk at the wheel.
The Forum published two postings on the carnage caused by matatus and buses on our roads: ‘Behind the wheel or behind bars’ (November 2010) and ‘Bloody Buses’ (April 2011). Once again we call for, plead for indeed, action.
‘LYNCHING’ AND MOB ‘JUSTICE’
The Nation started September with a report on the many incidents of mobs killing suspected criminals. Under the headline ‘More than 100 lynched in two months’ (September 1) the paper’s reporter Fred Mukinda raised concerns that mob violence was becoming commonplace in Kenya. Most of the victims were suspected of committing robbery, burglary or pickpocketing. Police, he reported, were being frustrated as no one was willing to make statements on the incidents so not one person has been convicted of these murders.
As recently as August of this year The Forum considered this issue in a disturbing posting entitled ‘Kenya’s “Strange Fruit” and the impunity of the mob’. Guilty or not, the victims of this ‘mob justice’ have been murdered, not ‘lynched’.
CORRUPTION AND KACC’S DEMISE
PLO Lumumba and his team at what was The Kenya Anti Corruption Commission have been sent packing. President Kibaki signed the ‘Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Act’ setting up the EACC that will, eventually, take over the role of confronting corruption in our country.
Lumumba was not best pleased at the manner of his departure but we did warn him in July in a posting entitled ‘KACC: Corruption and Inaction – Big Fish or Small Fish You Need to Act Now Mr Lumumba’.
NCC – NAIROBI’S CORRUPT COUNCIL? YOU NEED TO ACT NOW MR KISIA
And finally, talking of corruption, this little piece of news was not in the newspapers (but it will not come as news to many of our Nairobi readers).
A member of The Forum team was driving along Biashara St. in central Nairobi when he spotted his wife coming out of one of the shops. He pulled up, waved and shouted to her, so she crossed the road and jumped in the car (in which there was also a passenger). At that moment a man put his arm through the open window on the river’s side and grabbed the car keys.
To cut a long story short, the NCC street attendant demanded an on the spot ‘fine’ of Sh4,500 (a bribe of course) for double parking, or a trip to the NCC where there the fine would be at least Sh6,000. He got in the car, asked to be taken around the corner where he negotiated a bribe of Sh2,000 in front of the three witnesses. It was quite obvious from his manner that he negotiated this sort of deal every day.
The Forum reported on the rampant corruption in the NCC in two postings in November 2010, ‘Spooky but true… (the ghost workers of NCC)’ and ‘Nairobbing City Council’.
Mr Philip Kisia, NCC’s Town Clerk, is a man that likes the limelight. He is often to be seen on our television screens proclaiming his latest actions. The Forum thinks he has a tough job to do and doesn’t mind his grandstanding too much as long as he gets the job done. But surely Mr Kisia, isn’t it time for a trip to the Biashara St area, with TV cameras in tow, to record the sacking of a corrupt NCC official?
The Forum urges Mr Kisia to act now whilst remembering the fate of Mr Lumumba.