The king is naked.

11 Jul

I borrowed this title the king is naked- from one of the most watched TV program in Kenya. A political analyst was asked what he sees in the book –peeling Back the maskA Quest for justice in Kenya,- written by a former close ally turned enemy; of the prime minister-; which the Nation Newspaper will be serialising starting this week. The book is said to expose one of the two most popular presidential candidates for the next General  Election as a corrupt and untrustworthy leader and probably deny him ever ascending to the highest seat of this republic. I haven’t read the book yet, but i have two copies of the Daily Nation so far and i will continue for the duration the book will take.

Back to the analyst and the naked king- the guy said; “This is when people of Kenya will know Their King is Naked” He added that “the book will course great harm to the prime minister as people will get to see the other side of the man they intended to make their next president and change their minds.” I’m not sure about that because as they say; if you want to hide anything from an African hide it in a book; why? Because they say we don’t read. But;- what the heck? It’s warned in the good-book that; be admonished of making many books; there is no end. And much study is a weariness of the fresh. That is according to the preacher. 

Talking about a naked king; I want to borrow from Jennifer Graeff; a Project Coordinator; Center for Sustainable Urban Development – Earth Institute Columbia University, In her paper;- The Organization and Future of the Matatu Industry in Nairobi, Kenya. She explains very clearly what we and our leaders ought to do and how we can become very instrumental in realizing the goal we set much faster with less opposition or non whatsoever.

She starts her report by stating that; In African cities, the paratransit industry is generally described as dangerous, profit driven, environmentally unfriendly but also necessary to be mobile and maintain a daily routine of going to work, to school or to market. Simply stated the paratransit;{read matatu industry;} provides a necessary service to millions of people who will continue to use it as needed to be mobile. She goes on to say that;-Reforms of these systems are occurring all over Africa, most notably in the form of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Tanzania and South Africa, and there is discussion that Nairobi, Kenya is entertaining a transition to BRT as well.

I guess that explains the much talked about facing-off of the fourteen seater. But why buses to replace matatus and why can’t the Government invest in the buses if they are convenient. I may ask? She explains;- Bus Rapid Transit- is an attractive option for cities of the developing world for many reasons but a main reason, as demonstrated in Bogotá, Colombia, is its acknowledgment and inclusion of the informal transit industry into the larger transport system.——– Is that to say that we should include the current matatu owners in the  transition plans???  -according to her; For each city embarking upon a similar transition, the challenge is one of understanding the role and organizational capacity of informal transit industry, as it is this industry that traditionally resists reform.

 But why resist reforms if they are aimed at improving life? I’m persuaded to believe that the reforms have the best interest of all of those involved but just like the good word of the savior and the redeemer of mankind; the reforms lacks the voice to explain the content. Jennifer is on the opinion that;  For Nairobi, this means analyzing the informal paratransit mode, called matatus. She is convinced that; by understanding the specific networks within the matatu industry, avenues to reform and strategies for bringing key industry stakeholders into a policy network advocating for a reformed system can be identified.

Why haven’t we done that and yet everybody want change? I will tell you why- the reason is because we have ignored a very vital ingredient; recognizing potential pitfalls and engaging with key stakeholder: The project coordinator from Columbia University believes this; can help foster transport policies, networks and an overall framework that can leverage the matatu industry into being integrated into a larger public transit system.

I agree with Jennifer and hope those responsible for the transition in Nairobi Kenya will follow her advice and include all stakeholders in the reform process. I personally wish and hope to see a more organized transport industry that meets the customer’s needs as well as the welfare of the workers. We the workers who operate the actual business of transporting people have no objection to positive reforms; if only somebody has a plan on how to implement the reform process and be willing to ask our opinion.!!! Don’t the dull and the ignorant have their story? Ask Desiderata.

We all want what is best for Kenya. Now that our weakness is known to us, let’s do something about it. A naked king does best if he puts on some cloths and accept that he was naked. As for the prime minister, I’m sure we all love gossip and looking forward to see the king stripped naked. I only hope some of his political sons will take a blanket and walk backward to cover his nakedness-{like it happened in the times of Noah; the man who saved mankind by building the Ark only to get drunk and lay exposed}..


Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Its life



4 responses to “The king is naked.

  1. Guido

    July 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    My dear friend,

    I saw you on Al-Jazeera, this is one great documentary and after watching you I felt deep respect for what you do and in what situation you manage to keep your family on the right track. Is there a way that I can help to get you start writing more? Did you get a opportunity at one of the publishers?

    Keep ya head up!

    Best wishes from the Netherlands


    • wambururu

      July 17, 2012 at 10:19 am

      Thanks a lot Guido; I appreciate your willingness to help me reach my
      dream of becoming a published writer and I must say Yes; there is
      quite a lot you can help me with. I’ve been in this job for over 12yrs
      hoping one day i will have saved enough to publish my first book which
      has been ready since the beginning of the year but I guess with the
      raising cost of living its becoming harder than i thought. I’m not
      sure how you can help me while in Netherlands but To be honest the
      biggest obstacle time which means money. I’m working on a deal where
      my employer might give me a loan and sometimes off to finish and
      market some of my work but i don’t honestly believe he will honor the
      deal. He blames me for exposing the corruption in our industry. I
      don’t think he is willing to be part of what I’m doing.

      Thank you for taking time to write to me. I hope to hear from you soon.

  2. Mo

    July 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Good stuff Jamo!!
    I have just stumbled upon your story on Al-jazeera and what can i say other than big up! You have given many of us an insight about stuff that we Kenyans perceive negatively! All the best in your en devour, trust you will be a renowned publisher some day.

  3. Sean Marston

    July 18, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Hi there – I am from New Zealand and I also saw you on the Al-jazeera story and was impressed with your honest down to earth sense of life and your great way of articulating what you see and hear on the streets of Nairobi. I have been to Nairobi and other places across Africa many times and always enjoy the social life of public transport. I find it a great way to feel the heartbeat of everyday people. Keep up your writing and driving.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: