I have severally used the Nairobi Express Way and I must say one saves time and money. The first time I used it, I took 12 minutes from Southern By-Pass to Mlolongo Exit. I remember some family members and friends telling me that I must have been driving very slowly.
Yesterday I took 10 minutes and I never drove beyond 100km/hr. Of course, some small cars were passing my big machine without mercy and I was wondering why the high speed.
Back to Matatus, An Embassava Sacco matatu caused an accident at the mlolongo exit the other day. Today a super metro matatu is said to have caused an accident in Westlands. There is a debate with some Kenyans advocating to have Matatus banned from using the Expressway.
The reasons they are giving for their suggestions are varied. I am with the Kenyans who are of the contrary opinion. Matatus carry taxpayers and they have the right to use the expressway like any other car. I am of the opinion that the problem is not the type of vehicle but the driver of the vehicle.
Kenyan drivers must simply be responsible and accountable. One John Michuki( may he rest in peace) brought order to the matatu industry. It looks like the Michuki rules were buried with him and are never followed.
What is shocking is even the passengers are never responsible.
I once many years ago got into a matatu and upon reaching Cabanas the conductor wanted to carry excess passengers. I simply refused to budge and in their usual attitude the conductor and the passenger started being abusive. I simply told them the vehicle is full and am not gonna move.
The conductor had the audacity to tell me to alight and get into another matatu. I told him to take me back to town and refund the money in town. The other passengers were divided but the majority supported me.I couldn’t avoid laughing when one passenger said in Kiswahili “si mtu anunue gari yake ikiwa hataki kusongea watu”.One old man told the passenger that many of us could be having cars but chose to travel using the matatu for one reason or another.
What am I saying, banning matatus or erecting bumps is not the solution. The solution is in you and me. We must follow the laws and must be responsible drivers and passengers. If you are a passenger and the matatu is speeding or overloaded raise your voice, it is your right. If you are the driver understand you are responsible for the many people in the matatu. Be accountable and do the right thing.
Nairobi expressway is not an expressway to heaven or hell(depending on your relationship with the maker).
Kenyans must work on the moral fabric for that is the root cause of the problem.
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Leave a comment on your thoughts on whether to ban matatus or not?
Dr. Mary Mugo
Strategy, Governance, and Management Consultant.