01 Mar

“If intelligence and reason must prevail, is it not more reasonable and intelligent to remain open and listening for the voice of God or for any other voice than to shut up the eyes and ears and not even allow that there might be voices to hear?”
Like i had said two years ago; history seems to be repeating itself. We are in the very same situation we were 9yrs ago. Everybody’s attention is now focused on the outcome of the petition. we are all eagerly waiting to reap the benefit that these new constitution comes with. and so far, it has been an entertaining drama on TV watching the learned friends play psychological mind game with our political sense; and it is working. I guess this is what leadership is all about. Just explain to us convincingly that we have every reason to believe that our government in good hands and leave everything else to us.
What i was saying about being in the same situation we were 9yrs ago has to do with the public transport. Our industry (matatu) has had to come through a very rough trend to finally reach where we are and thanks to millions of our faithful customers who have stuck with us. Our hearts goes out to those of our clients who lost their lives and hundrends who lost their jobs as a result of the transition that took place during the last transition of power from the second president to the forth and the introduction of the michuki rules. That was 9yrs ago.

For those who don’t know what era is called michuki, then this is how it all started. Soon after the NARC government came to power in 2003 after 24yrs of single party rule. Those who took power were determined to transform this country one of the areas they were to give more attention according to what they promised was to bring change in the transport sector and end corruption road carnage and other misgivings. But what came out of the much touted change was a whole new wave of high level corruption and gross human rights violation.
A traffic cop could flag down a 51 seater bus, check the tyres: they are okay. Check insurance sticker it’s valid. Check the driver’s license and its okay, he is in uniform; but unfortunately, he forgot to hang his portrait on the windscreen. Now that is very bad:, all the passengers had seek other means of transport to wherever they were going because the driver has been arrested and the bus has to be towed to the nearest police station. He would then be locked up at the police station until the following day when he will have his day in court.

Now these is where the trick was {and still is}; according to the laws that we operated under, once the judge has been told what you did,i.e- you are brought before the court and your charges read. The magistrate would give you only two options, it does not matter whether what you are charged with is true or not, you have to pay a bond or go to remand prison. e.i, once the charges has been read before a magistrate you are either remanded in custody, or given a bond that sometimes goes up to 20,000 depending on what the cop writes no the charge slip.
If you can’t raise the amount you will have to spend fourteen days at Nairobi industry-area remand prison. When you return to court after those two weeks the cop who arrested you fails to show up and you get another 14 days. Eventually, the cop will not show up, the judge will release you after some months.
The next time the same cop flags your matatu down you better give him what he wants or the same fate befalls you again.

Now with the signing to law of the new constitution and hopefuly a new government that is said to be a listening government, we the workers in the matatu industry stands to gain a lot, and perhaps turn these most hated career into a respected public service profession. There was not much if any in the political party’s manifesto. we don’t know what the new regime has in store for us. Nobody actuary knows; they talked about trains and modern roads but not anything touching on the matatu transport which either way, they will have to work with before the tracks are marked and railway lines laid.
Our hope is raised high by the new constitution; chapter 4. if fully implemented will completely cripple the cops from harassing us. Article 25: states that ,freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment will not be limited to any person despite any other provision in the constitution. Article 27 (b) further promises to give full effect to the realization of the rights guaranteed under these article. The state shall take measures including affirmative action designed to redress any disadvantage suffered by individual or groups because of past discrimination .

Our appeal to the new government is to protect us from those who abuse states power to harash and extort money from us. consider the bills brouht before you and see if they will be beneficial to us but not to be like government is to focus on building more and better roads and leave it to us (psv operators) to worry about getting Kenyans where they want to go, {though at times we take them where no one wants to go.}

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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Matatu matters



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