Now I think I have a good reason to start building confidence in the Government; but I will not give any credit to the current transport minister because to start with; he was the one who caused this headache in the first place. I remember he had talked tough about facing out fourteen seaters and almost made we believe that he was actually going to send us home. Perhaps he was hoping to win national recognition like the former minister but sorry for him; Kenyans have gotten used to such political strategies; and don’t seem to attract them much anymore. Somebody is awake and thanks to whoever is calling the shots especially in matters concerning the matatu industry. To be honest, the idea had put the lives of our passengers in great danger as the older the vehicles were getting the more risky they were becoming.
The previous threat by the minister has done more harm to investors especially those of simple hearts who rushed to dispose their investments at throw away prices fearing that the fourteen seaters days are over. Now with the new measures in place, we know our jobs are safe and more new vehicles will arrive sooner. The anti-corruption officials must set their traps in the institutions mandated with the approval of licenses to prevent the well intended procedure from becoming another avenue for grand corruption. It would be a great embarrassment to the government.
Another reason I feel the government deserve praise is how they handled the city-Kajo problem. I did not know when, where or even who said that the city council askalis no longer have the power to arrest anyone not unless they first seek assistance from the police but his is truly something worth writing home about. in the first week, we thought it was just a political propaganda by the city fathers to prepare us for the Elections but in reality, it wasn’t.
I want to state here in this blog that we have seen real change. It is unbelievable that it took just the voice of one person to relieve all this pressure from our backs. The last one month has been quite a good one especially for us drivers who have been the victims of this corrupt unit of the local government for a long time. I asked my fellow drivers what they think about the new measures and to be honest; majorities are pleased with the new directive.
Whenever we complained about harassment by the council askalis, many people failed to see the connection between people who are supposed to keep our city clean and people who transport passengers. But I know some of you might have tasted the wrath of this snakes that bite even when they have not been rattled.
Our lives were turned upside down soon after the famous Michuki rules; although- kajo problem- was not part of the requirements back then; the general interpretation was that the matatu workers were responsible for causing chaos and lawlessness on our roads and thus they had to be stopped at any cost.
Our rights as equal citizens were withdrawn and thanks to the old judicial system; we did not stand a chance in a court of law. Somebody with very high corruption instincts at the city council must have smelled a golden opportunity to make fast cash. To begin with, the city fathers hiked the parking fee,- soon after, they sent men and women in civilian clothes to chase any vehicle that had not applied for the new parking stickers;- they then started collecting twenty shillings from every matatu that entered Railways bus terminals;- from there they started arresting tout and demanding bribe claiming that the city by-laws prohibit shouting or even whistling.- Later came breakdowns and started towing away vehicles which had not complied.
This must have made the breakthrough for the planners as there was very easy money. Towing a Nissan matatu; from Railways bus terminals to the city council parking yard a distance of not more than hundred meters would cost the investor 2500 Ksh; another 1.400 Ksh for yard fee and a fine of between 3.500 and 4 thousands at the City hall court.
Today; judging with the changes we are seeing; I am expecting to see more strikes as civil servant wake up to the reality that the corruption days are over and the bribes they had banked on are getting smaller and smaller. Many of them are employed at a salary that cannot even afford to pay for the houses the live in. they signed contracts to work for a small salary HOPING TO TOP UP WITH the unclean money. Proof me wrong-; step up the fight against corruption in the police force and for the first time in Kenya, the cops will go on strike demanding better pay.