Monthly Archives: December 2012

What is Christmas all About ?

He who has never left home, believes; his mother is the best cook.”-so says a kikuyu- proverb. I wonder Where our ancestors, got all this wisdom from?; and yet they taught this words long before the first explorers came to Africa with books.?
I don’t know for sure but they were right. To me, a proverb is a saying that has a different translation than what the words exactly says. Or, we can say, not really meaning what is written but a whole lot more. Let us take a wider translation of the kikuyu- proverb above and see it from an African setting.
A boy born and brought up in a traditional kikuyu- family is more familiar with the traditions of his tribe and may even have fulfilled most of the rites of his fathers. In most circumstances, Young kikuyu- adults are only allowed to leave their mothers house after circumcision, at the age of 15yrs; where by then, they will have been taught skills to enable them find their paths in life as adults.
This is the most important rites in the Kikuyu culture as it signifies entry to adulthood. But as much as our fathers prepare us to carry-on with our customs, they still caution us{ like in the proverb} not to relay only in our own understanding {our mother’s cooking’s } but to also taste other’s cooking’s as well.
One of the delicacies i tasted when I became an adult and made my own choices was Christianity. I become aware of God in heaven who created the dry land from a mass of water and then made man to dwell on the land.
I had not heard this from my former mentors, so I decided to looked deeper. I read about how sometimes later, God who created the world, was not pleased with the man He had created and decided to forget the whole project, but He looked down and there was this one gentleman called Noah- who did not deserve to die. So, he made an escape plan for him and his family of eight people, everybody else perished.
After many Generations, God was again not pleased with the man He had created. He looked down and there was not a single person who did not deserve to die. He was not ready to give up on His project seeing He had rescued it before. He designed a work-plan that would put in place an everlasting salvation for man to redeem his own soul.
There was this one man from the House of David, named Joachim, who had no child despite been married for many years. A season came when forks that lived in the city had to go back to their ancestral villages { just like the modern day Christmas festival} to register new members to the clan and be counted. As this childless Joachim was preparing to go, somebody told him that he should as well stay back since he was not going to add any entry to the register seeing he had no child.” The man got so irritated that he went to see the priest about it. But to his disappointment, the story was true. All those who had their names written on the records had brought forth children.
He went home a very sad man and canceled the trip. When everybody else had left, he went to the mountains and fasted forty days and nights, at the end of the fast, he went home confident that God would do something. He made a vow that; if God kept His promise, Joachim would give back the child to the temple to serve God. Nine months later, he was the father to a very beautiful girl. He named her Mary, and when she was 6yrs old, he took her to the priest at the temple of God; this was to keep the promise he had vowed to God. The girl grew up at the temple until she turned 14yrs. When she started showing signs of adulthood:
She was taken from the temple and given to another gentleman from the house of David who had lost his wife. He was working as a carpenter abroad leaving his house unoccupied for many months. Mary moved in and Joseph left to mind his business. When he returned from abroad a few months later, he found the young girl heavy with a child. He went straight to the priest who had given him the girl and reported the matter. They were put to trial; as is written in numbers chapter 5. Both were found innocent and allowed to go back home. Later that same year, that season for the descendants of the house of David to travel back home to register their children came. Joseph prepared to make the trip and packed his bags and those of his sons James and Simon. He also prepared a donkey to carry Mary for the three days journey; she was heavily pressed as she was in the last days of the ninth month.
They did not make it as the child came before they had settled. This little boy who was born miraculously; later came to be the most famous human being to have walked the Earth. I don’t know what is your relationship with him, but who ever he is to you, Christmas is about His birthday. If you choose to celebrate i wish you merry- and if you don’t know him, its time you do something about it. He is worth knowing.
Wishing you all a happy new year.

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Its life



Commonly asked questions about investing in the matatu industry.

I wish to venture into the transport industry but I don’t know how to access asset finance loan. I request u share with me the knowledge u got in that sector I and those who will read through this.

NIC Bank offers asset finance facilities to both NIC Bank account holders and non account holders as well. The level of finance basically depends on the client’s ability to repay. The specific terms for financing of p.s.v units are;

Finance of up to 70% of the cost of the unit / We only finance brand new p.s.v units

The maximum period of finance is 36 months/Finance can be to a SACCO, Limited entity or an individual.

However an individual will need to belong to a SACCO/a registered entity since TLB licenses are no longer being issued to individuals

For borrowing below kes.15m, the client will only need to provide original bank statements as the main basis for credit appraisal. However borrowing above Kes.15m would need to be supported by audited accounts in addition to the bank statements

If I purchase a Matatu which is the best Route to place it in and Why according to your Opinion?

There is not all that much difference in routes; not unless the road is in bad condition or traffic jammed. The daily income is almost the same. But there are some routes that have very bad reputation for harassing investors and gross extortion. take for instance Kayore and Dadora routes which are said to be controlled by cartels. In those routes, investors get a low deal since they are forced to abide by the rules set by the groups. You can not hire your own staff as the routes has their own drivers and a fixed income regardless of the flow of passengers. I can only speak well of Route 125/125 where i have been operating for the last 10yrs as i know this route to have less external interference as compared to other routes.

Which Sacco is the most beneficial according to your study of the Industry and why?

Most of the saccos especially in routes that didn’t have them before it was made a requirement have not yet come up with proper management skills that i can honestry tell you are the best. There are those that have been in operation for several years and i haven’;t seen them helping members buy new vehicles or help them in maintaining their fleet in-case of major repairs like engine knock and so on. Different Sacco’s have different ways of doing business. Most of them have been in business for year or so; We haven’t seen any buses they have bought as a sacco, so, I guess it’s the individual owners who decide what to do with the income.

 How much would the Matatu be earning on average per day if its a Good Route and a Good Sacco, Give me a rough estimate In accordance to what other 33 seater’s Earn currently?

Currently a 39 seater matatu operating on route 125 makes an average of 8.000 kshs after all expenses. this is also the case with 33 seater as the fare from Rongai to Nairobi is not fixed. This has much to do with the crew and their experience in the job. I said Average- because most of the times a 33 seater makes 10.000 but there are a few bills to pay that don’t end up in the chart. If you were to invest in a mini-bus, its better to do your calculations based on that average. it leaves a happy cop, a happy driver, a full tank and a smiling conductor.

Which Sacco is the Best between  MOA ,City Hoppa, City Shuttle and KBS or which one would you suggest that is the best?

The one’s you have mentioned are management companies. They are among the biggest names in the transport sector but this are not sacco but companies; either limited by shares or privately owned. This does not make them the best option if you are looking for a savings and credit kind of thing. i hear most of them demand a bigger percentage from the investor and Most of the drivers who work for those big names have a reputation of misusing the vehicles as they try to make extra cash to make up for the pay package.
I would strongly advice you to join the newly registered saccos. WHY? the reason for this is because they will involve you in the day-to day running of your investment since they only provide you with the legal requirement but leaves you to manage your fleet, hire workers of your choice and get your money at the end of the day.

How can you be sure that your matatu is well driven and well maintained and making profit?

That’s where {WE} come in. Rongai matatu workers welfare {registered} has brought together 200 plus members; all of them actively involved in matatu business. This is a new entry in the competitive running of the matatu business and it will be our vehicle to securing thousands of jobs. The idea of starting a staff management company run by matatu workers came to show the way forward to finding a permanent solution to employment in the matatu/transport sector and at the same time restore road sanity on our roads. Our task is to train/re-train competent and qualified workers. Ours will be vetting and recommending well trained and disciplined driver to any investor or institutions requiring those services.

Feel free to inquire for more information.

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Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Matatu matters


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The wisdom or lack of it; behind the matatu strike

The on-going /just concluded strike by matatu workers that started three days before the new traffic acts comes in force had one very important lesson to Kenyan citizens; we are far from vision 2030 and it might take much longer to achieve those goals.  Kenya is still at the mercy of organized groups, and now they have economical implications as well. No one has claimed responsibility for the strike but the fact is, it did come to pass and rongai among other towns suffered economically.
The three days that I, and my fellow matatu workers in route 125 downed our tools, we did not expect much to come out of the strike, we knew it would be a miracle to  have an act that had already been signed by the president taken back to the parliament to be amended.  But we also knew that somebody needed to do something.  The traffic acts are not new, this are the same laws that we have been operating under, The problem with this new bill is not the entire law as many would want to imagine but only a small section that many workers will fail to note for now; but will end up swallowing majority of them and sending them to prison. Touting which has now become a crime/offense takes care of approximately 60% of matatu workers. The gap that this people fill is sooo wide, that it has created thousands of jobs in every major bus park and in all towns where matatus end their trips.

Photo The new traffic act has criminalized this vocation and sent most this people home. Anybody caught doing that will cool his butt in prison for several years or pay a hefty fine if caught again. What we are afraid of is based on the nature of the Kenya police; and how we have been dealing with them in the last 8yrs or since the michuki decree. And Since nothing has been done about corruption in the police force, this will not be the solution to road carnage but another vehicle for the police to enrich themselves. I believe that the minister of transport wants more than anything else is fame and popularity; that will help him secure his political stand in the coming general elections.

I fail to see how a servant of the people, can watch hundreds of your subjects, sleep in the cold and ride dangerously on trains and uninsured motor cycles and not spare a minute to listen to the reasons that matatu workers are presenting. But the problem is not even the minister but the entire government and all the law makers. The parliament went ahead and enacted the traffic amendment bill 2012- not because it had passed through all recommendations and found the surest way to end road carnage, but because the member of parliament who tabled the bill also happened to belong to the party with the majority in parliament. We did not go on strike because we don’t want to follow the law or because we want to kill innocent Kenyans.
A section of the the new traffic laws talks about driving a vehicle where you don’t have the employer’s badge. If we were to look at the nature of our business, this alone will render thousand of us jobless {which I believe we are already affected} most of us work on casual arrangements with the vehicle owners, we are not permanently employed. The traffic amendment bill which was enacted by the parliament of Kenya. states that;

1 a person who while not being the designated driver of a public service vehicle, drives the vehicle, while not being the autholised to do so, commitis an offense.

2 the driver of a public service vehicle who lets an unauthorized person drive the vehicle commits an offense.

3 a person who is convicted of this offense shall be imprisoned for a term not exceeding ten years or a fine not exceeding 500.000.

Why then go on strike if all the government is asking is for you to have special badges? Blame the same government. WHY? The government failed to pressure the Sacco/matatu owners to employ us permanently so that we could be limiting part of our earnings to the Revenue authorities and pension as well as NHIF and NSSF.  This has left us to the mercy of backdoor deals with vehicle owner where we hire their vehicles in the morning and pay a fixed amount at the end of the day. The vehicle owner has the right to hire anyone in the market if he/she is not satisfied with the first clue. There is no contract or job description. Most of this matatus and matatu Sacco’s are run by questionable people; some are serving government officers and mostly police.

I also find it selective in the sense that it has discriminated between motorist. SECTION 44 Cap. 403. subsection {1} A person who when driving or attempting to drive or when incharge of a motor vehicle on a road or other  public place, is under the influence of drink or drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle commits an offense;and shall be liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or a fine not exceeding 500.000.

In SECTION 45 of the same Cap 403. subsection{1} A person who when driving or in charge of or during any period of duty, in connection with the driving of a public service vehicle, drinks any intoxicating liquor, commits an offense and shall be liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years or fined not less than 500.000. Our cries are based on the nature of our vocation, but sadly, no one in our circles can raise high enough as to get the attention of the policy makers and perhaps buy as more time to put our house in order.

It could have been possible if the ministry was ;but who cares about matatu people? The ministry did it{gave more time} for other motorists: section 12 of Cap 403., had warned motorists in general that they would be liable to a fine not exceeding 30.000 shs if the fail to return the number plate to the registrar of motor vehicles; thirty days after the expiry of insurance cover. But the ministry later separated the section from the others and suspended/extended the period of implementation of this amendment to sometimes next year. but all the amended traffic act related to public service vehicles were to be implemented immediately.

The professionals or whoever drafted the bill forgot that the people laboring in the public transport sector are also Kenyan citizens. I did not see in any amended section where it says the insurance cover of all public service vehicles to also include the driver. As is the current situation where Matatu drivers are not covered by the insurance of the vehicles they drive, many of us who happen to be involved and injured in a motor vehicle accidents ends up either permanently disabled or heavily in-debt.

The strike might be over for only a few days but when we reach a point where we feel that the government doesn’t care, then you should hope for the best but be ready for the worst. If they don’t want listen to our side of the story, then they should service the guns and do the only thing that this reign is good at. use brutal force and shed blood.


Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Matatu matters



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