Monthly Archives: November 2013

Yes Re-testing driver is good-but Re-training could have sounded better.

A few months ago, I posted on this blog an article dedicated to the Transport Boss where I had mentioned 10 recommendations that his ministry could apply to help create employment, weed out corruption and most important, bring sanity on our roads. I am very happy today to see that somebody has been listening and two of the recommendations have been considered if not followed to the letter.

For a long time, i have been running east– west , knocking on tens of executive offices doors, police stations, politicians offices and personal calls to anybody i know. I have written letters to Media houses and personal pleas on this blog and other social sites, all this time seeking for support to re-train Matatu drivers. And just like a miracle from heaven, I woke up this morning to a headline THOUSANDS OF DRIVERS TO LOSE LICENSES AS MANDATORY RE-TESTING STARTS NEXT YEAR.

It is now a law that all Public Service Vehicles drivers, will undergo a mandatory testing { training could have sounded better} and will be issued with a special license upon being certified to be fit for the tasks.  This is the way to go. “You have scored a first one; Hon. cabinet Secretary.”. I know this will be meet with a lot of resistance by some quarters, especially those targeted {fake and illegally acquired Licenses holders} and will therefore require the government to be very careful how- the very well intended road safety measure- does not turn out to be another corruption black-hole and infect the only remaining untainted disciplined institution, The National Youth Service.

The prescribed changes will be a blessing to matatu operators. What we matatu drivers want more than anything else is to be recognized as working Kenyans. we want our jobs to pay for our pension; medical insurance, for us and our families and most of all, we want to operate in a safe environment where we only meet other qualified drivers on the road and our jobs are secure. It is not possible for any man to wake-up in the morning and wish to be arrested or hospitalized before the end of the day, most of the times we lack the skills and sound training to help us discharge our duties professionally. We rarely see road safety campaigns targeting educating matatu drivers but we hear all the time of NGO’S funded and government supported campaigns for civic education. We are the victims most of the times. Anytime you hear in the news that a matatu has been involved in a fatal accident, remember there was a human being behind the tag, his life is also important.

Like I had recommended to the Ministry of transport ,The government must now take it as a crucial/serious responsibility; to protects it’s citizens from unnecessary deaths and injuries caused in roads accidents and lives;lost because of human error. One way of approaching this is, to be sure that only competent drivers are allowed on the road. Kenyans are said to have peculiar habits and bad driving seems to be one of those they all have in common. About 60% of the drivers have no idea that they drive badly. You will find a motorist breaking the law, right in the eyes of a traffic police, and when he is stopped, he/she claims that Kenya police are corrupt and all they want is cash bail.

The new regime should look at this particular area with great interest and recommend and go as far as implementing measures aimed at sealing all loopholes in all driver’s licensing departments. A unqualified driver is more dangerous than a terrorist; much worse than a suicide bomber. He can kill people en-mass and get away with a fine or a short sentence.
For as long as we still have untrained and illegally acquired drivers and licenses, we will not be any safer on the roads. One way of making sure that we have the best hands behind the wheels of our public transport is to weed out the bad ones. We can achieve this in just under three years as all those who currently have PSV drivers licenses will have to renew them in the next 12 months time.There is no need to put a dead line as to when we should all have re-tested January will only cause confusion and inconvenience transport. Let every driver go when his/ her current license expires. by November 2014, all drivers including those who got the license today will have complied.

we will all go to the revenue authority at one time or the other between now and December next year, at varied dates to get renewal. The government can take this as an opportunity to re-testing and retrain public service drivers on their competence before allowing them back on the road. The objective is to have an audit of how many drivers we allow to carry passengers and how good they really are; verify the licenses they are currently using and issue them with new certificates of competency. within a 3yrs period all matatu drivers will have the new licenses and all the fake ones kept out of the roads.

This is a stitch in time that will surely save nine.


Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Matatu matters


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