When I received the news of the death of the former transport minister, I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel. Personally; I think he was a successful politician: Professionally; I’m not sure and now that he is dead I don’t think I will ever understand what he believed he wanted to achieve with his no non-sense approach. I will take a minute of silence in his honor and extended my condolences to the bereaved family for the loss of one of their family member. I don’t think it is fair to fight or accuse someone who cannot defend his innocence or explain his side of the story; for that reason; I will shelve whatever differences I might have had with his policies because it will not make any difference now. I hope he makes it to the gates of what he believed in.
The late minister will be remembered by many for different of reasons; I will personally remember him for giving me a new career and opening my eyes to the reality that this is the Earth and I should not live with heavenly expectations. The matatu industry will probably remember him as the man who hiked bribe from 100 Ksh to a whopping 1000 Ksh. Before he came to the transport ministry, the police would only check the tires, Insurance and road licenses and that was all; any traffic violation would either cost 100 bob there and then or a court fine of not more than 2000. When the Michuki took over, he brought in safety belts, uniforms, speed governors, ribbons, pictures, badges and other irrelevant requirements that turned our world upside down. The magistrates hiked the fine to 10000 and gave the police a golden opportunity to hike their take.
When all that was said, was done; and the new matatus came back to the roads, the investors were left with no option but to push the extra cost to the consumers and bus-fare shot up to the ceiling. For instance, We used to charge 35 ksh from Rongai to Nairobi; after reducing the seats and putting on our uniforms,we increased the fare to 70 ksh and finally settled for 80. Kenyans in general accused us of overcharging them and we humbly took the blame but held to our guns. When he left, the passengers started looking for the vehicles that had made their speed governors disappear, safety belts were left to sweep the floors as passengers squeezed to fit four persons in a space of three at a discount. The badges could not be maintained as the job has no permanent employment formula and many workers are hired on short-term basis; a simple agreement that ends at the close of bussiness.
His influence came to hunt us again when he took over as the boss in the security docket. There he enforced another charge called touting that swept all the young and middle age from the bus stop and most of the major towns across Nairobi and Central provinces. Any tout or matatu driver found wearing a short instead of an underwear was arrested and charged with being a member of Mungiki. I personally fell victim to Rhino and KweKwe squads more than five times, two times I paid a fine, Another two times I bribed the police but I wasn’t so lucky the third time as I had to do some time in prison.
However he did his job, he is no more and Kenya will still go on. The rules he imposed on us will soon be forgotten and Mungiki still wrecks havoc but the consequences of his actions will always bring that ……… feeling in our hearts.