Are there different rules for matatus?

 

Every single day I hear of people complaining about how traffic policemen mete out injustice on the roads, how people are being fined for wrong things and how many others get away with so much yet the cops turn a blind eye to them. I can’t say I have been on the receiving end of this lashing but I must say there are times where even I have seen people acting ridiculously stupid on the roads and the cops seem to turn a blind eyes to them.

I was overtaken from the left by a matatu the other right under the nose of a cop and he did nothing. In case you don’t know, the rules on our roads are ‘Keep Left Unless Overtaking’. You don’t start overtaking from the left, using the footpath. I hooted in protest and that arrogant cop gave me daggers and pointed at me as if to warn me while this low-life scum overtook me, nearly breaking off my left wing mirror and getting on with his life. Of course I cursed. I used language that cannot be repeated here – aimed both at the matatu driver and that arrogant cop who probably thought that just because he wears a uniform of authority, he can be nasty.

Matatu drivers can be the bane of existence sometimes. Granted that they are one of the most important means of transport, it doesn’t mean that’s their license to act like utter imbeciles. Day before yesterday, as I did the school run early in the morning, I encountered fourteen matatus that were behaving out of line. One guy in a large matatu had no reason to feel any remorse as he drove his passengers while he chatted on his mobile phone. What completely annoyed me was the fact that he passed a cop while doing this and the cop didn’t bother stopping him, and the second thing that annoyed me was that the passengers didn’t protest to this kind of stupidity.

I suppose they wanted to get to work on time or face the wrath of their bosses and risk being fired so they just kept quiet. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

How do people who own matatus allow their cars to be driven like this? How do they let drivers treat their vehicles like they don’t car, keep damaging them, driving over footpaths, being reckless, acting like total bullies on the road, clearly disrespecting and ignoring any kind of road signs and traffic rules. Why can’t you guys discipline your fleet for goodness sake? Making money is important but at what cost? Accidents on a daily basis? Broken down vehicles because of not looking after them properly? Death because of reckless driving?

I never ever remember what our Ministers do and what ministries they are representing because I simply don’t care – they never do anything for us tax payers anyway – but if there is one person who had my respect and will fondly be remembered for him straightening up his Ministry, that would be the late Hon. John Michuki. He had sorted out roads out, there was discipline, we were all driving like good humans beings, matatus would not carry more than fourteen passengers, uniform guidelines were adhered to and speed governers were installed. Roads were marked, cops were doing their job; in fact because everyone was getting on with their life so well, even the cops weren’t needed as much as they are today. All this without the cost of those expensive cameras which have been installed everywhere.

They go off when they feel like and I’m yet to know of a matatu owner who has been banned from using their fleet on the roads because of dangerous and reckless driving. These are all just urban legends to me.

Someone somewhere do something. We need sanity on our roads. We are always stuck in traffic and we are fed up of being bullied by matatu drivers who think yelling Weh muhindi!’ at me is the height of an insult. Shut up and concentrate on the road and try not to kill your passengers or yourself.

Have a safe weekend!

Twitter: @kamz26

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