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The making of a matatu worker and the survival in the industry.

09 Jun

 I have been doing my observations and I have come to this conclusion that there are certain people who are meant for  certain jobs;  people who were made to follow or work in specific jobs. I will start by Taking a good Look at the men who work in the matatu industry. The black sheep’s of our dear republic; In majority of cases, these are the people who are known to have had a violated upbringing. Those we commonly refer to as the black sheep’s of the family. Many were forced by circumstances they found themselves in when they were growing up and managed to convince their minds that they are not loved either by relatives, guardians and even the society. In order to find acceptance, they expanded their circles of companionship by going out of their totems. The matatu industry becomes a very good starting point as there are no qualifications needed as long as you can shout the names of the towns along the route.

 Many start as tout and with the money, they manage to buy their own freedom from dependency on friends or relatives. But this is only the beginning of a long road that see many falling by the way and others surviving to tell the story.

The Criminals. I had one very good friend who used to be my conductor several years ago. This friend of mine after a number of years during the same thing every day; { waking up early in the morning to go measure the level of oil in the engine, then start the car and wait for the driver, then spend the whole day answering insults and even getting physical with the passengers and sometimes ending up in prison or locked up in a police station} got tired of the   routine.  My good friend decided to give the police a good reason to lock him up and he turned to crime. He started by harassing all the new faces that had come to the industry on michuki’s ticket and made quite some good money. He bought his first car and many of us were surprised; sometimes later he bought a second car and moved to a richer neighborhood.

He went deep in the underworld and in fact bought a gun or acquired it however he did but my good old friend owned one and he  became a threat, not only to other workers in the industry but also to the general public. Many in the industry could be heard talking in low tones about how good life was changing for the young tout and winning for him some degree of freedom. These talks were expressed in the public and even the cops who collect protection fee from peddlers could be heard talking about him; but nobody dared to question him. It was after he was shot several years later that people told tales of how the young man had made their life a living hell.
The RELIGIOUS Majority of those who end up in religious groups are in most cases known to have joined the industry by fate and not necessarily by choice. Most of them either came aboard the ship by the desire to make a living or to overcome depression which could have been caused by their up-bringing or poverty. There are those who made the choice of becoming touts to support a family business but because of the evils that comes with the nature of matatu business.  They soon realize that they could not put up with the corruption and calculated theft that is part and puzzle of matatu business. After living with guilt for many years; some workers decide to change the course of their life with the recognition of, another power higher than man. By their newly found faith they ascribes beneficence and higher purpose to the power which is superior to themselves and envisions a higher destiny and noble attributes that encourages and stimulates them in their struggle for existence. Many abandons the trade and look for alternative means of earning their up-keep
DRUGSThe other group that finds comfort in drugs are in most cases known or referred to be in denial. They in vain try to seek away out of their problems by freeing the conscious mind that is aware of their difficulties and sinking in the pressure of unconsciousness caused by and depending on the type of drug and their effect on human chemistry. Among those who take drugs that have little effect on their reasoning ability e.g. marijuana and miraa, some choose to lock themselves in their own imaginative world and are known to adopt a religious lifestyle later in life.
ALCOHOLICS Among those who take alcohol and hard liquor, majority are known to find faults in everything and everybody most of them ending up committing petty crimes like stealing from their customers and close relatives. Some do recover but majority becomes dependent on relatives or making their homes in places where alcohol or those drugs can be easily accessed. This is the lowest group in the matatu circles and most of them end up in prison as the cops prey on them because of their easy to prosecute cases in court as majority are guilty of working under the influence of alcohol.

The untouchable.These are the well-connected and the educated among the matatu workers- they are the worst nightmare for any traffic cop as they are moneyed and well-informed. There are those who have scaled the ladder from rags to riches but many are those who have connections or are related to powerful and wealthy individuals like senior police officers, politicians or top-notch lawyers. They don’t necessarily follow any code of ethics as they are their own bosses. They mostly take advantage of their financial backing to sweat it out in courts of law with the cops and ends up winning their cases or causing by the influence of their cash the transfer of the prosecuting officer to other areas or being relegated from the lucrative traffic department.

To sum it up; criminals and touts are calved from the same stone. The battle for supremacy and control will take longer to decide and the relationship will continue just being that: one and the other. This is the amazing wonders of Kenyans and their peculiar habits.

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Posted by on June 9, 2012 in Its life

 

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