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Obama's fading dreams from his fatherland

By | January 26th 2012 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Njoroge Kinuthia

In 2008, some MPs called for the upgrading of Kisumu Airport to prepare for the landing of Air Force One and Obama’s ‘homecoming’ if he became the US president. True to their prediction, he clinched the presidency.

Kenya hastily set aside funds from her measly budget and upgraded the airport, paved the road to Kogelo and even put up a police post near his grandmother’s home. But Obama didn’t show up. He even visited our neighbours and ignored us.

Why has he snubbed us this much? Some argue it is because of the endemic corruption in Kenya. Others say it’s the post-election violence and that we must put our house in order before he can visit. Who can refuse to visit his grandmother because of problems at home?

Our dignity

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Despite his indifference, as our picture today shows, Kenyans are still ready to stand by him, morally and materially, as he seeks his second term just as they did during his first. However, for the sake of our (regional) dignity, PointBlank believes Obama owes Kenya a visit, not as former president, but as the president of America.

Permanent casuals at

Ol’lessos

The opening of Ol’lessos Technical Training Institute in Nandi County has proved a boon to the residents of lessos. But things are not rosy for workers at the institution, according to one of them, who says the institute has become "more of a bane than a boon to them".

This mostly affects the "casuals", who he claims have known only fear since the institute was opened.

"They are often harassed by their seniors and many have been dismissed arbitrarily for questioning the terms and conditions of their ‘employment’". The labourers, he alleges, earn only Sh4000 a month. Hardly a month ago, a worker who had ‘worked casually’ for more than five years, contrary to the labour laws, was shown the door for demanding to know if she would ever be employed on permanent basis.

"I stand to be corrected. I thought the labour laws are clear on casual workers. That they can only work for three months on those terms. Why is this institution taking advantage of the workers’ ignorance?" he asks. What does Ol’lessos Technical Training Institute and the Labour ministry have to say about these allegations?

Benches spoil fan’s fun

Mr Paul O Allan is troubled by the pictures he has been seeing about the renovation at the Moi International Stadium, Kasarani.

Allan doesn’t like the look of the wooden benches being put up in the stadium and can’t imagine sitting on one.

"I remember during negotiations between President Kibaki and his Chinese counterpart, the agreement was that the stadium would be fitted with plastic seats. This was to cost over Sh1 billion," he says.

Allan argues that the explanation by the contractor that there is no adequate legroom to put up seats in the upper terraces doesn’t wash. The stadium, he says, won’t have over 40,000 new seats as envisaged.

He adds that it’s a shame for Kenya to brag about being the regional giant and achieving Vision 2030 while our neighbours have better, modern stadia.

Parliament

"Why should Parliament have seats worth Sh200,000 each while we are fitting baraza benches in our best stadium?" he poses. Can Sports Minister Paul Otuoma explain why he will soon have to sit on benches and not his favourite plastic seats?

Missing message in Harpic advert

City advocate Gachiengo Gitau has for sometime now been following Harpic toilet cleaner’s TV advertisements keenly. In the current ‘series’, he says it is a bit sad to see Suzanna Owiyo teach women toilet hygiene and immediately after flushing the toilet, she heartily embraces them, says goodbye and leaves.

"I understand that airtime is expensive and there’s need to edit non-core scenes but isn’t hygiene the point? What are they telling the children? That it’s okay to leave the toilet and proceed with our other duties without washing our hands?" he asks.

DON’T YOU FORGET

Was increase of public toilets charges justified?

On October 21, Mr G Wanyoike, wrote to PointBlank commending Nairobi Business District Association (NCBDA) and the City Council of Nairobi (CCN) for rehabilitating public toilets in the city.

He noted that the refurbished toilets had given Nairobi a new, dignified look. The days of filthy toilets that were used as hide-outs by criminal gangs of street-urchins are long gone, he said.

Wanyoike, however, complained about a decision to increase toilet charges ‘suddenly’ from Sh5 to Sh10, at a time when most Kenyans were hard hit by inflation.

Those who manage the toilets, he said, "should not be allowed to add more ‘misery to an already miserable lot’." Was the increment justified, city Town Clerk Philip Kisia?


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