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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Change the Man To change the Game

The fourteen seater; matatu maybe on its way out and we will soon see more small and big buses on the roads; That is evident today with the way investors are buying 33 seaters. We welcome this new change that is surely more attractive and comfortable than the Nissan matatus.
But it is not yet time for Kenyans to relax and expect too much change. I would like to tell them to hope for the best but leave a room for the worst; just in-case….
They should by now have learned from what happened after the change of guard that took place in our political arena ten years ago; to be precise.

I remember how people had so much confidence in the new Government and were up in arms to fight corruption among other evils the Moi regime was accused of.Kenyans refused to pay bribe and even went as far as apprehending traffic cops who were demanding bribe from matatu drivers.

It was therefore a rude shock to witness what happened five years later,private companies were contracted and given monopoly to import gadgets; the new by-laws required for all matatus.Workers were then required to deposit advance tax with the Kenya revenue authority to be issued with badges. Anybody found without the card was immediately arrested and taken to court.It was Uhuru Kenyatta who came to our rescue when he took over as the minister for finance and abolished advance tax for would be matatu workers.

Today, Everyone is excited about the Nissan matatus paving the way and taking all their bad habits with them. I know majority are wishing that we evaporate into the thin air sooner so that we can leave them in peace; but i have news for you. We are only changing the costume,but we are retaining the priesthood. The smaller matatus are not to blame for overlapping, overtaking-{ even when they see an approaching vehicle}- or for driving on the side walks; It is the drivers who do this things. Kenyan motorists should now expect to meet a seventy one seater bus overtaking on a blind corner.
What I’m trying to say is that; we need more than just bigger buses. The transport industry must reform its members if the change is to bear fruits.The tricky part will be in choosing who will drive the fewer buses and what will happen to the rest of us.Many people who earn their daily bread in the matatu industry will have to seek for alternative means of getting the bread while those who will get the fewer jobs will continue abstracting other motorists, overtaking, overlapping.

I’m not of the opinion that we call for national prayers for our driver to drive safely;I would prefer we re-train them. Changing the size of the vehicle is just like-washing the pig as written on the bible- we all know what will happen when the cleaned pig is set free.

The only measure that will bring sanity on our roads is when we decide to reach out and educate our drivers on traffic rules and regulations. Until then…….!

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Its life, Matatu matters

 

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This man Wambururu.

I would really love to get rich; it is a misconception to even think that I work for any other reason. There is a Swahili saying that say; utamu wa kazi ni pesa [the joy of working is the money} I agree; to a larger extent for that matter. Most people would be happy to have some unspent money laying somewhere in a bank and not have any pending bills to pay.

 I’m not that advantaged;  may be the reason is because I work in a job I hate. I’ve read several inspiration books and family magazines and they all tell me that;-if you don’t find happiness in your job, you might never find it anywhere-. Well; I cannot ignore those worthy words of advice but all the same, happiness is not something you walk into; you don’t wake up one morning and find happiness waiting at the door post.

My current job takes about sixteen hours of my time to accomplish or as they say; to call it a day. I wake-up at five in the morning and return home around 10pm. During the 16 or so hours I’m working, I get four breaks of about twenty minutes each. The first break comes around 10am when I get my tea break; from there I make another two trips before lunch break around 1:30pm. Two more trips and another tea-break at 4pm; from then I might decide to continue till closing time or take another break depending on how busy my day has been. Put together, I get about an hour and half resting time in a day, minus that to my sixteen hours schedule and I’m left with an average of 14hrs behind the wheels.

I don’t lack happiness in my line of work because there is nothing exciting about my job; Nor because there is no money in matatu industry. No; I’ve had my share of good times and a wonderful learning experience. What I’m not happy about is the hours I’m putting in on this job. I don’t know why I ended up in this job and to be honest, it is not important right now.  I guess the best I can do is get the most out of it while I can. The only problem I might be having in the mean time is; it looks like the matatu industry is getting the most out of me.

WHY NOT QUIT? I’ve considered it many times and almost did that sometimes back, but just when I was about to live up to my New Year resolutions, I come across a book titled- How to stop worrying and start living–  the writer  advised me to keep my supply line open until I have achieved my goals in my new venture. I don’t have any other means of settling my bills although deep down I know sixteen hours is enough time to work a regular job and get enough time to take-up evening classes. Every time I contemplate quitting, I imagine the embarrassing scene of my landlord knocking on the door with a chain of padlocks hanging on his belt or my son coming home in the evening handing me the head teacher’s note asking when I intend to clear my arrears.

There is Something about this two people that scares the hell out of me. At times, I imagine coming home one day with lots of money, pay house rent for five years in advance and then go out with the boys and come home at midnight; pretend I’ve had one too many and have confused the landlord’s door with the urinal. But that is just a fantasy that might never come to pass. I have a friend somewhere in Netherlands who promised me that one day, I will decide whether to fulfill my fantasy or not. That is still to be seen but I want to believe all will work for the better. In the mean time I want to hang onto my fantasy and keep smiling.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Its life

 

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Matatu drivers road safety campaign.

PROJECT: HIGHWAY CODE.

THE MATATU INDUSTRY: Drivers safety campaign

DISTRIBUTION OF THE HIGHWAY CODE BOOKLET TO ALL MATATU DRIVERS IN NAIROBI

Dear sir/madam,

I am a matatu driver in Nairobi Kenya and also a writer on matatu affairs; I have a blog: wambururu,wordpress.com

After ten years on the road, I feel there is an urgent need to assist matatu drivers in increasing knowledge of the Highway Code and traffic rules and regulations in general. This will be very helpful especially to those who got their licenses through the back door, as is the case with majority.

I am seeking assistance to start a program that will reach out to majority of PSV drivers in Kenya and offer them training on road safety.

OVERVIEW

The “matatu” industry is the core mode of transport for majority of commuters in Nairobi and its environs and perhaps the country at large. Majority of Kenyans depend on matatu’s to get them to their destinations owing to the poor conditions of roads and other factors like the cost of buying and maintaining a car. The number of the PSV vehicles on our roads keeps on raising every year to meet this demand..

Most of the road accidents on our roads are caused by -or involve matatus and/or other PSV vehicles as they are mostly on the roads. Some of this accident can be attributed to matatu drivers for their reckless driving, lack of knowledge of road signs and the Highway Code, over speeding etc,

Safety being the main concern, it is therefore important to tackle one issue at a time, and thus the need for a long term solution when it comes to public service vehicles’ drivers.

Retraining these drivers can indeed be a big step in ensuring that everybody is safe. This program can be achieved and thus the idea of distributing the Highway Code booklet to the drivers.

There are over 30,000 matatus that serve Nairobi and its environs. To ensure that every driver gets a copy; 30,000 copies of the Highway Code booklets will be required This is due to a possible fact that every vehicle represent more than one driver.

PROJECT PLAN

The main purpose is to re-train all drivers about the Highway Code, road signs and road safety at large.

The plan is to distribute the existing Highway Code booklet on issue by the government or alternatively a new High Code booklet design can be printed with up to date Highway codes, road signs and maps of the major roads commonly used by matatus and other PSV vehicles.

DISTRIBUTION

Distribution of the booklets will be done on the 10 main bus parks within Nairobi. These are suitable areas because all drivers plying different routes can easily be accessed and handed the booklet individually. Distribution of all the copies can be done within two weeks, thus one bus parks per day.

Current bus parks in Nairobi;

Railways bus park ;Machakos bus park ;Koja bus park; Tea Room bus park; Bus Station bus park; River Road bus park; Ngara/Globe Cinema bus park; OTC bus park; Kenyatta Hospital stage;Westland’s main stage.

The promoters of this project assume there will be willingness by all stakeholders to support this exercise

For more information contact:  James M Kariuki

Telephone 0724384676.

E-mail. wambururu@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Matatu matters

 

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