WHO WILL COME TO OUR RESCUE ? .
I’m writing this article on behalf of my fellow workmates in the matatu industry. And On behalf of all Kenyans who live and work under very cruel situations.
The matatu sector is mostly associated or assumed to be a transport job, but its much more. From outside one can easily see it, as a driving career since its only the driver that most people see. One may also compare and expect matatu workers to behave, and actually live like their counterparts in the tours and travel companies, factory drivers Or even the track drivers. But once you look deeper in to the industry you will see a very big difference; i.e the nature of the job, security, benefits,medical cover,tax payment, pension contribution, Legal representation and much more.
Until recently, the word employment was nothing we had known. It has been a backstreet affair for many years. Most of us had to go through an initiation which started by paying a certain fee to an illegal group known back then as kamjesh, and you were then recruited into the game.
This is what create the brotherhood that some matatu drivers still enjoy today.
But it has also come as true blessing to some of us who are fortunate to work for companies like Easy couch in Nairobi and serious players like modern in the Coast. The rest of us are left with no option but to do whatever it will take to stay near the pool Until an Angel steers the water and we are lucky get in the first in the pool.
I believe the reason we have this matatus driven by peculiar youth with daring skills is to fill a gap that may have been created by the pace that Kenyans are civilising and the responsibilities of those in leadership. This is the first-line era, speed is not only a necessity its the way of life.
I don’t believe Kenyans are so stupid or ignorant that they pay high bus fare every morning and evening to get in to one of those flashy soup-ed up matatus (when they could pay half the price to get in to a bus that is comfortable, well driven and obeys the traffic code) to risk their lives.
They know us by experience and have seen us prove our wits on the route for years. Just mention ngari ya wire- and see the reaction on the faces of the modern passenger. Everybody is in a rash and since we still don’t have the electric trains we have our own style. But Instead of the leaders absorbing us in various arms of the government that require our kind of driving skills, The same leaders have made it so hard for us to even get employment in other institutions including the privately owned big companies.
How?- because; Majority of us have been to prison at one time or another,this is not a good stamp in nobodies CV. Is it because we are criminals? I will say No; part of our jobs involve breaking some outdated or illegal by-laws that were either imposed with corrupt intentions or designed for the colonised Kenya back in the fifties.