Monthly Archives: October 2012

Step-Up, or forever remain behind.

Our country is calling for integrity leadership, I looked up integrity in the dictionary,- it means-honesty, truth, honor, upright and reliability. As a patriotic Kenyan, I have decided to go against the usual and refuse to live a lie or to help fuel corruption in the Matatu industry. To begin with, many will be surprised; imagining who they have always known Matatu drivers to be. They will not believe that we can be so daring as to question the integrity of Police officers and our leaders. I have finally found a platform where I will be in a position to point out the shortcomings and put those responsible on the spot to give reasons why they had or are abusing their state given powers.

A lot of good things have come my way since Aljazeera aired the Reluctant Outlaw documentary. I had been struggling to get people to visit my blog and in almost six months, I had only managed to be get five hundreds visits. I had very little knowledge about the way blogs work but I was determined to tell somebody and everybody about the pros and cons of one industry that had probably been left behind as everybody else turned to the information super Highway technology.

I remember how I looked forward to receiving a single comment on my website and that would mean the world to me.

The day Aljazeera showed the film reluctant outlaw changed all that. I went to check my E-mails as usual but I was surprised: I had over four hundred un-read messages. My blog had one thousand two hundreds visits by mid-morning and the stats where still rising; over three hundreds comments awaiting approval. Among those E-mails came connections and links that opened a whole new chapter.

A few months later, I was invited to the UNEP offices at the United Nations Complex in Gigiri by a foundation called Share the Road  which is working with African countries and other developing Nations on upgrading the road infrastructures to meet the world standard;} It was a great moment and a learning experience for me as I went through security clearance; and again tapping my shoes on the pedestrian’s path inside the state-of-the-art Headquarter of the biggest institution on the Earth. I was there to share my ideas on how we {matatu workers} can help make our roads safer and more environmental friendly. When I left the meeting I was sure I could deliver my part of the objectives we had discussed.

I needed a means to convey the message. And Like Paul in the good book who was knocked out of his horse on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians and ended up defending those who he had been hunting- a matatu driver was appointed to preach safety on the road. Since the aim was to convey the positive message, there was only one religion. Who else but the Media?

In came a Dutch journalist and we did a story about the matatu industry for ONE WORLD Magazine She featured my writing and my straggle to bring meaningful reforms in the Matatu industry. I was also featured in a travel documentary by BBC World service Fast track TV Documentary and again on BBC focus on Africa News channel. Interview with Voice of America Radio and I’ve a pending Los Angeles Times interview to talk about the steps matatu workers are taking to encourage sustainable mobility that is less disruptive to the environment. I have a bigger responsibility and also a strong backing in case of the unexpected.

The publicity was big and international but I felt like I was talking to the wrong crowd. What I needed was a local approach that could reach those I have targeted in my campaign. And like it has been repeatedly said; behind every success; there is always a woman- and behold,;- in my life came a new person. She introduced me to the editor of a monthly magazine called Matatu today.

This publication which is in its 6th issue, is devised to support the development and delivery of increased information to Matatu owners, Saccos, Drivers, conductors, commuters, manufacturing and service industries, financial institutions, ministry of transport, traffic police and industries associated with the transport sector among others. I’m among those who will be contributing in the re-born magazine. The October’s issue is out in the streets and if the reception it received from matatu workers and Sacco leaders who got the available copies is supposed to send any message to the publisher, Then I believe, we have a larger appetite to satisfy.

The new look MATATU TODAY MAGAZINE is probably the first of its kind in this country and it will go a long way in informing as well as educating Kenyans and foreigners a like on the working mechanism of this sector that remains one of the pillars of our economy and a dependable source of transport for 80% of Kenya’s population. The magazine aims at addressing problems associated with operating public transport vehicles; Road safety; Investment opportunities among others.

MATATU TODAY will be published every first week of the month. I will dedicate my page to addressing issues on good governance, fighting corruption and also responding to hundreds of question that readers have posted on my web-blog. While at the same time, encourage safety on our roads. Matatu industry is a complicated sector but we will unveil it for you.


Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Matatu matters



Riding the matatu – Nairobi’s subway

Here’s how BBC world service  Fast Track programme told the kenyan story on matatu industry. and our relationship with the general public in Kenya,

In Nairobi the matatu is what the tube is to London and the subway to New York. There are 10,000 of these privately-owned mini buses – in various states of repair providing public transport across a large area.

Tourists often avoid the matatu because of its poor safety record. Fiona Foster steps aboard one to find out why.


Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Matatu matters



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