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Why is the spectre of coups d’Ètat stalking Africa again?

By | March 23rd 2012 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

There was a time when coup d’Ètat (‘stroke of the state’ in French) used to be in vogue in sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, between 1952 and 2000 there were some 85 putsches in Africa. But with the gospel of democracy having reached all corners of the continet, the number of coups have fallen drastically and optimists have even predicted that they would soon become history.

But old habits, it’s now clear, die hard. The fiendish coup d’etat is making a comeback with a fury. Thankfully, East Africa seems to have taken democracy lessons (or something close to that) seriously and has escaped the wrath of the ghoul.

Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wentangula is currently holed up in Bamako, Mali, thanks to a military coup that has reportedly ousted president Amadou Toure.

Devious jinn

Besides Mali, recent successful coups in Africa have happened in Mauritania (2008), Madagascar (2009) and Niger 2010. The Africa Union needs to probe why military coups are are creeping back and act quickly to put the devious jinn back into the bottle.

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Shoe-unfriendly Mavoko terminus

Is there any justification for the County Council of Mavoko to keep on collecting levy fees from buses and matatus at Mlolongo bus terminus? Mr John Muthusi thinks there is none.

Muthusi reports for a long time the terminus has been dirty and filthy and the council never seems to notice.

"You leave your house looking sparkling clean but when you get to the bus stop, your shoes get dusty and filthy. If you are unlucky, you also develop a running nose." When it rains, he adds, "the mess doubles due to mud".

The council, Muthusi advises, should tarmack or murram the terminus to save residents the unending agony.

From Limuru, David Mwangi reports that the busy Nairobi-Banana-Limuru road is in a very bad shape. The road is in a state of disrepair and "motorists swerve dangerously and drive on the wrong side of the narrow road to avoid hitting large potholes".

Uneven and bumpy

Accidents, he says, have become common. The last repair work on the road, he reveals, was unprofessional and left an uneven and bumpy road.

"The authorities should consider repairing this road before the rains set in," he urges.


Did city estate kids get back their playground?

On January 11, some residents of Harambee estate in Nairobi wrote to PointBlank demanding answers from City Hall over what they saw as deliberate failure to take action against an individual whom they accused of land grabbing.

Through the Harambee Estate Residents Association, the residents claimed to have asked the City Council to repossess the land, which was originally a children’s playground, but has been turned into a private school. Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi, they claim, ordered the council to repossess and revert the land to the estate, but this had not been done.

They also accused the developer of pulling down two bungalows in the estate to put up a highrise building They are still waiting for your word Town Clerk Philip Kisia.

Free at last! Judith comes back home

For the last six months, British tourist Judith Tebbutt has been living in veritable hell. Mrs Tebbutt was abducted by a gang of six gunmen, who also killed her husband, at Kiwayu Safari Village, a resort north of Lamu Island. After the long ordeal, the 56-year-old has finally been set free. But although she is happy to be free, she still mourning her husband, David Tebbutt. Here is a statement she that sent to us after she was freed:

"I am of hugely relieved to at last be free, and overjoyed to be reunited with my son Ollie. This however is a time when my joy at being safe again is overwhelmed by my immense grief, shared by Ollie and the wider family, following David’s passing in September last year. My family and I now need to grieve properly.I would like to thank everybody who has supported Ollie throughout this ordeal. I am now looking forward to returning home to family and friends whom I have missed so very much.

"I hope that while I adjust to my freedom and the devastating loss of my husband, that I and my family will be allowed space, time and most of all privacy, to come to terms with the events of the last six months."

Barclays client pleads for light

A Barclays Bank of Kenya Nakumatt Westgate Branch customer is demanding some "extra comfort" from the bank. He claims its banking hall has for sometime been without adequate lighting causing a lot of strain to customers. "The entire branch has lights that keep on hissing and produce so much heat that sometimes it is impossible to see a thing since 70 per cent of the lights are not working," he says. The tellers, he adds, are also suffering due to the poor lighting. As the client likes everything else at the bank apart from the lighting he would ask Barclays, to kindly, light up the banking hall.


Point of Order

Real hard cash is in churches, Mr Njiraini

You don’t need to wrack your mind to see where real money is nowadays, according to Mr Gachiengo Gitau to. All you need to do, he says, is to go a church near you and there you will see real hard cash.

Gitau notes that the church has expanded and liberalised its ‘democratic space’ fast and has even become bolder.

"Thinly veiled pleas for alms, tithes and offertories have been crudely replaced by brazen demands for cash," he claims and adds: "It appears some of the TV religious merchants cannot trust us to keep our offertories safe for them until Sundays....they want it like yesterday".

Fortunately there is a god-sent gift of technology to ensure they get the money "yesterday": M-Pesa, YU cash, among others.

"The men of God ask,nay demand, you transfer cash instantly and some even specify what amounts will get you what miracle," he says. But despite this window of opportunity, Gitau says the taxman still doesn’t know where real money is.

"Isn’t it time that KRA roped in these churchprenuers to meet secular demands that cannot wait the hereafter, Mr John Njiraini, Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General," he asks.

Water vendors make a kill as firm goes on sabbatical

Mr Mokaya, a resident of Migadini wonders whether the Coastal Water Services Board is aware of the acute water shortage in the area.

He says for a long time, residents have been suffering and have been buying water from vendors for up to Sh200 per jerrican.

Currently the precious liquid is going for Sh50.

"Can the board look at the problem and solve it once and for all instead of leaving residents in the hands of exploitative water vendors," he pleads. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Customer pleads with KP to go read his meters

Kenya Power customer Solomon Maina reports that since his premises in Thika were connected to the national grid in October last year, no one has ever bothered to go and read his meters (3459398-01, 3455973-01 and 3459397-01).

"I once sent someone with readings only for him to be told that they were wrong. I wonder whether Kenya Power wants to surprise me with a huge bill that I won’t afford to pay." He can be reached at [email protected]

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