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Graffiti - A Great Feature of Matatus Is Being
Replaced Gradually With Simple Caricatures 

Coastweek -- We have now had a week of the work being undertaken to normalise the matatu and boda boda service industry so, let us take stock of what has been achieved in that time, writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.

Let us also remember that the increased presence of enforcement agencies on the road meant that other areas that needed enforcement were not to be forgotten.

Normal motorists were also under scrutiny and many were caught napping in the belief that the focus would be on public service vehicles rather than on private vehicles and general road use as well.

The week has seen a large number of arrests and arraignment in court.

The numbers are in excess of eleven thousand and most have been the users of public service vehicles and normal motorists rather than the operators of the public service vehicles.

Typical offences were not using seat belts, crossing the road at the wrong place or under dangerous circumstances or conditions.

Other offences included speeding, defective vehicles and non-functioning items as well as lack of documentation such as licenses, insurances and so forth.

With this expected avalanche of cases appearing in court, the Judiciary were not left behind in their planning.

They added additional payment methods and also set up additional payment points so that once one was fined then the courts time was released for the next case as the court orderlies ensured that the fine was paid.

If not then one was brought quickly back and given the standard custodial sentence and taken away.

By adding these measures, the courts were able to handle double the number of cases that it would normally handle.

As we had said in an earlier article and on many occasions over the last decade or more, enforcing of vehicle standards and getting compliance to the paperwork is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of improving the safety of our roads.

So far we are seeing the fourteen seater matatus with the solid yellow line draped around the middle as opposed to the dotted yellow line of before.

The graffiti that has been a great feature of matatus is being replaced gradually with simple caricatures and scenes on the bodywork of matatus.

The obvious wish in doing this was that one would be able to tell from a fair distance as to whether the vehicle approaching was a matatu and prepare themselves.

This rule was to benefit the cops and make it easier for them to do the work.

Unfortunately this would make the matatus easier to spot.

The rule is being followed and almost all fourteen seater matatus have the solid yellow line around them.

However the larger thirty two seater buses which are also supposed to comply with the same rules have not yet done so and looking at them around the country, it seems that they are developing their own way of complying without having to put a solid yellow line around the belly of the bus.

They are creating a kind of “Nike swoosh” on the two sides of the bus in a colour that is certainly not yellow but some whiter shade of pale, and then writing the name of the SACCO or franchise they belong to in the middle of the swoosh.

They seem to be filling a vacuum that has been created by the responsible agencies who have not fully defined what compliance would look like.

They need to get very granular with what compliance would look like and do it quickly so that the operators can at least have time to comply with the expectations.

If this example is anything to go by then the agencies have designed to fail as the workarounds will settle in and then the operators will have an upper hand in that they will begin to call the shots where they find gaps in the legislation or rules and the agencies will follow.

As we move to get the hardware right – and this is a very visible manifestation of the battle that the agencies have started to fight – it is important that the Cabinet Secretaries who are involve in the Inter-ministerial task force to already be working out how they will enforce the softer issues on road safety and begin to design the messaging that will go with this expectation.

This is the longer part of the change journey and it has to be properly and cleverly designed so it can last the long journey and also be adaptable as the changes designed could result in unexpected outcomes.

Some of those outcomes are already visible for the shorter journey.

Let us be in it for the long haul and be adaptable to changing methods as our population reacts – sometimes in ways we would least expect.

If necessary develop easy mechanisms that encourage participation

As Kachumbari says, it’s the people that matter not the matter!




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  This year’s rally will be
flagged off at Sarova
Whitesands on November
23rd and finish at the same
venue on December 1st.


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