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Monday, January 4, 2010

Matatu idiots should not be tolerated!

Happy New Year. I set this blog perhaps too early in the day, but then again, I was very optimistic about the new year. So as I worked a little harder over the normally "dry" newsroom season in December, I think the only thing I thought about was to go slow on the writing.
Now, I am happy the season is over, but sad, very sad, that some idiots have decided to mess my new year.
Day One at work, January 4, and I am not able to make it to work. It's because the public transport has been paralyzed after the operators of kenya's public minivans (matatus) decided to flex their muscles. They say the police are extorting money from them.
Yes, in Kiswahili we say, mtenda akitendewa, huona kaonewa. That loosely translates to when you do it it is right, but when it is done unto you, ouch ouch ouch you scream....yeah this brings to mind the cliche' that the pot calling the kettle black.
The matatus operate in a liberalised economy. The fares, although having a certain minimum are erratic given the forces of supply and demand...high fares at rushhour, low fares at (what's the opposite of rush hour?). And when it rains, they overcharge because they are likely to be held in traffic. Well, they do make hay, not only when the sun shines, but when they think they can.
So, what's my point? Fry the buggers Mr Police Commissioner. Let them strike, let them park their vehicles. We don't mind, at least I don't, I will walk all the kilometres from my place on Thika Road to Town or if I get tired, I will hop into the few operating matatus or hitch a lift from those with cars, pay whatever amounts they'll be charging.
But at least I will be sure about one thing: they won't play loud music in the car, they won't abuse me (for giving them pesa kubwa) if I give them say, Sh200 for them to take Sh50 as fare, in the morning. They also won't splash muddy water on my cheap and fading trousers and they won't pack us inside the vehicles whenever some other idiot in a hurry insists on boarding a vehicle that's already full.
Just pump some discipline on these fellas.
And just who does this Dickson Mbugua think he is? A chairman of workers he may be, but you don't SABOTAGE THE ECONOMY. Never! Where are these publicity-seeking lawyers to go to court over this. Omtata, my man, why don't you move to court...yea yea yea.. dont tell me it is the police taking the bribes, or extorting the crew, these fellas dont want to follow the simple rules. And they do take the bribes anyway.
The matatu owners, through Simon Kimutai insist that they are bogged down by insurance costs and bank loans for their vehicles. And the bugger just thinks, well, it is alright, as long as "we" (him and his crew of workers) paralyse transport because they dont want to follow the law.
During Michuki time in 2003-2004, we trekked. we don't mind doing it again until , "sanity returns to our roads" ...forgive the cliche.
PS1: Thanks Mr Vice President for being the first to speak out. For the first time, I saw seriousness, even pain, really empathy, in your eyes as you (did you appeal?) to the matatu fellas to put their vehicles back on the roads? How about you go to Cabinet the day after tomorrow and ask the President to consider reviving Nyayo Bus on all routes...private investment on public transport is a failure.
PS2: Kwendo Opanga, thanks a bunch for your empathy and solidarity with the souls of ordinary Kenyans, "nuff" respect" for your stand. See: http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/-/440808/834860/-/5pp72v/-/index.html



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