The year 2013 is here; It is very unfortunate that We started the year on a very sad note, especially for us in the matatu industry. So many lives lost in only the first 3days of a new year. We have no words to express our condolences to all those who were affected in the Salga and Molo accidents. The two matatus claimed more than 40 lives. The land is thirsty for blood and this might be a bad sign for what lies ahead.We must pray honestly and ask the Lord to help us survive the next big thing in our calender. The general elections are just around the corner. Kenyans are going to the polls for the first time after enacting the new constitution.
It’s been five good years; we have a new super highway; teachers and doctors have their hyped salaries and also our Members of parliament have awarded themselves the highest salaries in Africa. I don’t have a problem with the salaries because I know if i groom my children well, they might one day be the one’s receiving that kind of money. What worries me is knowing that this is yet again another round of easy money and dark secrets for our industry.
The campaigns will kick off early this time, now that there are more slots for leaders to fill. We in the matatu industry like every other peace-loving Kenyan are praying that the process come and go without loss of lives and destruction of properties. The politicians will start making plans to bring their supporters together and even choose the most appropriate location for their meetings. But when it comes to actually going to those secret places, that is when they give us a call. Matatus are the only vehicles that can carry a group of people without raising eyebrows.
Matatus have been used to transport drugs, illegal fire arms and in the recent case, explosives.For years now; Matatu’s plying nairobi Namanga route have been known to transport marijuana from Tanzania; those plying the Lokichogio and Busia route are awash with illegal migrant and fire arms and many others illegal materials. But the bone of contention is our involvement with politicians and their secret deals.
During the last general Elections that turned chaotic, we matatu workers were very instrumental both in rescuing the victims and ferrying the attackers. We fell victims to rooting, and destruction of property; a number of our vehicles were burned, stolen or sold illegally in some parts of Rift-Valley and Nyanza provinces.
The countdown is on and in less than two weeks, we are going to know the fate of those suspected of being behind the violence. I feel the decision by our local courts on the integrity of those facing the charges at the International Criminal Court will have a big impact on the outcome of the elections and the aftermath. We appeal to all Kenyans to maintain peace and work together to make up for the losses we suffered in 2007.
What the perpetrators of this violence fail to understand is that,Our industry is not associated to any particular tribe and we should therefore not be victimized while in the line of duty. I would also like to plead with my fellow work mates; Please for your own good and for our country, refuse to be used by politicians to do their dirty work of transporting their supporters to disrupt campaign meetings by their opponents. let all of us participate in ending terror and maintaining peace that we have enjoyed for many years.