By Silas Nyanchwani via FB
On November 12, the revered Michuki rules are making a comeback and in Matiang’i we have someone capable of enforcing the rules. Because we are headed to a Christmas season where we normally have the highest number of accidents.
But are the Michuki rules a panacea to the transport problems. This country has no short of rules that we like breaking, with impunity.
Forcing people to wear seat-belts, and having the police harassing motorists is not the way out of our problems. Reactionary measures hardly help.
The first thing we need to talk about is the value of human life. As Africans, we have the least appreciation of human life. In Bomet County I saw a probox carrying at least 15 passengers. Why? Why do we allow that happen?
The reason is poverty. The poor person has no options. And the owner of the probox wants to maximize the profits.
And therein lies the problem. When a key sector like transport is privatized for business, that is the result. The matatu chaos signify the chaotic nature of our transport sector.
New York had the most fatal accident in 10 years recently when a Limousine caused an accident that claimed 20 people. On Kenyan roads that is a weekly average.
In developed countries first of all, roads are double-laned, that means head-on-collisions are rare. Secondly, most of them use trains that are much safer than motor vehicles.
Thirdly, there are punitive measures for anyone who breaks the law. In Kenya, those who break law, as long as they are rich they will buy their justice. We are in phase where they play PR with some temporary bans, some jailing just to show justice is being done.
We have a long way to go.
We mist think long-term. We must rethink how we design our roads. We must ensure that the vehicles we travel in meet basic design features for safety. We must learn to have even guardrails on roads that run along escarpments and steep places. Reckless drivers must be taken our roads. The government should in the long term reposes the transport sector and make it public.
It is only through such measures that we can do away with accidents.
Lastly this festive season, drivers are always in a rush to make quick money. Someone wants to leave Nairobi at 5 a.m. Be in Kisumu by 10. Back in Nairobi by 4 p.m and go back to Kisumu by 10 p.m. And wake up at 5.
This kind of greed, has no bounds.
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