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New beginnings

Friday, March 28, 2014


Taking a look at the NEW PSV RULES, I am convinced as a nation, we have lost the baby before its birth.

I am thinking about those jalopies that ply some rut of a road in Mumias, and only they can, or a rattletrap that makes runs somewhere in Ntirimiti, Meru County, or Mwenda Wa Micheni's Chera express, and I am convinced the government wants to kill the poor mans mode of transport. How do you expect those vehicles to comply, for Gods sake? Yes, regulations are there to protect us by making travel safe, but how do you start implementing without taking into consideration some factors?

By July, all Mats should have cashless payments, yes, but that kills my ability to negotiate ten bob fare. How do conductors do that between Allssopps and Baba Ndogo? How is Mukwamugo my grandmother supposed to make cashless payment when she travels from Mitheru to Giampampo to visit her firstborn, a distance of two kilometers that makes her remember the golden old days when she used to 'leap' the valley between?

We have heard stories told of that hard working man, or woman, who, against all odds, saved to buy that first Matatu and the rest is history, creating a fleet through sharp management. There are those who have failed in the venture too.

You see, our lovely digital government has ensured the Matatu business is no venture for small people like you or I, or individuals who don't have wallets to the tune of close to 40Million.

You see, the regulations that are set to start operating in April dictate that one has to have a fleet of a minimum 30 vehicles to be licensed to operate. I don't know what informed that decision, but I see the divide between the rich and poor widening.

Below are the rules and regulations as sourced from Daily Nation Website. 

New Regulations for public service vehicles PSV operating on a public road in Kenya-September 14,2013
PSVs to be licenced
A person shall not operate a public service vehicle unless there is in place a valid licence issued by the Authority authorizing the use of that vehicle as a public service vehicle for the duration in question.
Only corporations to apply
A vehicle shall not be licenced as a public service vehicle unless the owner or operator of the vehicle is a corporate body whose principal objective is the operation of public service vehicles and which meets minimum conditions prescribed by the Authority.
Conditions to be met by corporate bodies
A corporate body desirous of operating public service vehicles shall meet the following minimum conditions:
(a) Be the registered owner of a minimum of 30 serviceable vehicles licensed as public service vehicles or in respect to which an application for a licence has been or is to be lodged with the Authority; or
(b) Where it is an operator of vehicles none of which it is the registered owner, have a minimum of 25 serviceable vehicles which it has assumed the responsibility to operate pursuant to contracts or franchise agreements with the registered owners.
(c) Have in its employment a staff complement which must include at a minimum a driver in respect to each public service vehicle, and inspectors for each route on which the public service vehicle is intended to operate; an office manager, an accounts clerk and a qualified mechanic or a contract under which the services of a mechanic are outsourced.
(d) Have in place a Code of Conduct approved by the Authority governing its employees, agents and sub-contractors;
(e) Have a management system including a customer complaints handling system;
(f) Comply with labour laws and regulations including in respect to statutory deductions, health and safety of the workplace, Work Injuries Benefits Act insurance, statutory leave days and written contracts of employment for staff;
Documents to be submitted with the application
A corporate body desirous of applying for a licence for a public service vehicle shall submit to the Authority in support of its application:
(a) Its certificate of registration as a company under the Companies Act, Chapter 486 or a cooperative society under the Cooperative Societies Act Chapter 490.
(b) List of directors and senior managers of the corporate body;
(c) A lease or certificate of ownership of the office from which it is operating or intends to operate;
(d) Where the vehicle was previously licensed to an operator other than the operator applying for its licensing, a letter of no objection issued by that other operator;
(e) An inventory of the facilities and equipment available to it for the operation of the public service vehicle;
(f) A list of the staff it has in its employment, their job descriptions and qualifications;
(g) Contracts for the driver or drivers of the public service vehicles in respect to which the application for the licence is being made;
(h) The driving licence, copy of identity card certified to be true, passport size photograph and certificate of good conduct of the driver or drivers who will be in charge of the public service vehicle in respect to which the application for the licence is being made;
(i) Audited accounts in respect of the immediately preceding financial year;
(j) A valid certificate of roadworthiness of the vehicle in respect to which an application is being made issued by the Authority;
(k) A certificate of ownership or other evidence of ownership in the name of the owner of the vehicle or a contract or franchise agreement between the owner and the operator or intended operator of the vehicle;
(l) Copies certified to be true of current third party insurance with an insurer which meets minimum conditions prescribed by the Authority
(m) The proposed route to be serviced by the public service vehicle and the timetable of the services to be provided with an indication of the proposed departure and arrival times and intended stops and pick up points.
(n) The proposed fare and tariff structure showing charges for off peak and peak times;
(o) A PIN certificate; and
(p) A tax compliance certificate issued by the Kenya Revenue Authority;
(q) A statement as to whether the public service vehicle is to be used to provide long distance passenger services.
Operation of PSV vehicles
The operator of licensed public service vehicles shall:
(a) Display on the vehicle a sticker as an identification mark approved by the Authority;
(b) adhere to the approved schedule or timetable and route;
(c) Ensure that passengers are treated with courtesy and respect;
(d) Ensure that passengers are issued with tickets and or receipts for fare paid;
(e) with effect from 1st July, 2014 all PSV Operators licensed under these regulations will be required to implement and operate a cashless payment system for all fares;
(f) Ensure that its drivers obey traffic laws and regulations;
(g) Report accidents immediately to the relevant authorities
(h) Every seven days inspect the vehicle for mechanical and other defects according to a check list drawn up by a qualified
mechanic which shall cover at a minimum tyres, lights, safety belts, brake system for warning horn, wipers, record the defects identified and action taken to rectify the defects.
Reporting and Records
The operator of a public service vehicle shall submit a report to the Authority on a quarterly basis with particulars of:
(a) number of accidents involving vehicles it is operating with particulars of the cause of the accidents;
(b) number of passenger complaints received and action taken in respect to each complaint;
(c) particulars of members who have ceased to be members, if any, the vehicles added or removed from the list of vehicles operated or owned by the operator and drivers who have ceased to be employees and the reasons; and
(d) any traffic offences and penalties imposed against it.
(e) the operators of a PSV shall maintain records pertaining to these regulations for at least 24 months.
Long distance Passenger PSVs
A person shall not operate a vehicle for long distance passenger public services unless the vehicle has in place a valid licence issued by the Authority in respect to the long distance passenger services.
Long distance passenger service licence
A long distance passenger service shall state whether the service may be offered during the day only or during either the day or during both daytime and night time.
Conditions for nighttime long distance passenger services
The operator of a nighttime long distance passenger service shall;
(a) Employ drivers certified by the Authority to drive on the particular route at night time;
(b) Ensure that no driver driving a long distance passenger public service vehicle drives for a period longer than four hours per night shift without taking minimum break of four hours.
(c) Ensure that there are at least two qualified drivers on the vehicle to drive in turns during the night journey.
(d) Ensure that there is a mandatory stop of at least 30 minutes for every 4 hours driven to enable passengers and the drivers to refresh;
(e) Ensure that it has in place a fleet management system capable of recording speed and location of the vehicle at any one time;
(f) Store data on vehicle speed and operation for a period of thirty days which data shall be accessible to the Authority during that period;
(g) Ensure that a passenger manifest is taken and maintained before the commencement of each journey.
(h) Operate a control centre;
(i) Ensure that the vehicle does not operate as a cargo carrier and does not have a cargo carrier mounted on the roof;
(j) Have in place or subscribe to an accident and emergency mutual aid system.
A person desirous of providing insurance to licensed public service vehicles shall comply with the following minimum conditions:
(a) Be licensed by the Insurance Regulatory Authority under the Insurance Act, to provide that category of insurance;
(b) Submit to the Authority particulars of its shareholders and directors, a declaration as to whether and the extent of their investment in the ownership or operation of public service vehicles, a report on claims made in respect to incidents involving public service vehicles and compensation paid in the immediately preceding year.
(c) Submit to the Authority its customer service charter and claims payment policy
A person aggrieved by the decision of the Authority taken under these Regulations may appeal to the Transport Licensing Appeal Board established under section 39 of the Act.
Offences and penalties
A person who fails to comply with any provision of these Regulations commits an offence and in addition to any other penalties available under law shall on conviction shall be liable to a fine of not less than One Hundred Thousand Shillings (Kshs 100,000) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.

Dated the …………………………………………………………………………….. 2013.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The marriage proposal...

I knew she loved serene places, and having been to Baobab, Marimanti, I made a call to the manager and put forth my request.

From Mitheru we set off, passing through Chuka town to purchase some essentials.

I looked at my watch, two PM. We still had time to catch a cold one at Eco lodge, Kajuki, before we proceeded down to link with Mate road.

I looked at the woman tapping her foot to the beat of Plain White T's 1 2 3 4, and my heart did a flip.

She was the woman I was going to propose to. It was only natural, but what if she said no?

Arriving at Baobab late in the evening tired and dusty, we proceeded to our rented cottage where we spruced up.

I led her toward one of the bars set up high in the boulders to catch a perfect sunset, the softest of blues playing in the background as birds chirped and monkeys made faces at us from the gigantic baobab trees.

I gauged her mood; she was happy, and in her eyes I could see the promise of a wonderful night.

I made my move to propose, and went down on one knee......and fell off the sofa I had fallen asleep on. nkt!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Guile of the calm sea...

The guile of the calm sea,
Will not lie that all will smoothly sail,
Such is stuff only made in Hollywood,

At us,
The sea will throw storms
But this ship we building
Will weather all Weather
If we remain firm on the steering wheel
Keeping it on course even when it veers.
And sail it to the end of time we will.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


You held my hand and it became I became part of you.
Where you walk, I will follow,
Where I trend, you will walk
Into the unknown, making mistakes together, 
Learning from mistakes, living for the good times,  
Together stronger when bad times check in,  

This feels so right it cant be wrong, 
Although wrongs will be part of the journey, 
We will walk together through the mist and sunshine,
For that is the only way we can walk together, 
And we will, with the will.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Chasing an elegant elusive Arabian Gazelle,- Beautiful as dawn
Ignoring Gnu's and Elands, partridges and fowls,
A pursuit intent to achieve an end, but startled by a rustle from a groove,
Espied an Axis deer in all its splendor, and there and then he knew,

As he rested his sights on that which showed promise full,
The Arabian gazelle had been, through brush and thorn, but a guide.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


The week starting today, @Occupyparliament realoaded takes place on 11th. I dusted the first protests teargas with doses of water doled out without stinginess by fellow protesters. With Serem's commission and the MPigs having cut a deal, I am a grown up who sheds tears for no reason; I will not be attending the coming one; I know a lost case when I see one.

Fifty years from now, a fellow gifted with the gift of gab will be regaling his grandchildren how he fought Kenya's third liberation war and will blame fading eye-sight on operation occupy parliament tear gas. Leave along he was in another town when that happened, or he chickened out and was looking at the confrontation from the safety of an office building perched twenty five stories high from  where the action is.

It is the same case with our Mau Mau veterans, especially now that money from the British government as compensation is to be awarded. You and I know most of the recipients will either be conspirators, home-guards or now withered old men who at the time of emergency hid behind their wives skirts whenever gunfire from the forest or footsteps from the home-guards were heard.

Most of the old men fronting their chests as Mau Mau veterans were nowhere near the forest, neither did they aid the cause. As Mwenda Wa Micheni once told me, in the GEMA communities, every man who was above the age of fifteen when the skirmishes started is today not only a veteran but an expert in talks about the war.

The real fighters retreated back to their broken families, carrying scars of a war so traumatizing, some either died in alcohol, or chose to build their familes afresh. I can bet you a million, Nkeu, an old man from my Mitheru hood, whom legend says lost one testicle while refusing to reveal where his comrade in arms were, is not on the list of beneficiaries. It is some then cowardly old men who are now vocal that will lay claim to the benefits of a guerilla war that slew close to 12,000 natives, some Indians and only 42 whites. That disparity of figures still leaves me with more questions on who was fighting whom.

Its at times like today, when parliament awards itself a Salary from a crippled economy, an economy that is spending more on wages and salaries than it can raise in revenue, a country that is living more on pledges than action, - and more waiting pledges, a nation whose engines are running more on promise than action that I wish my grandparents were collaborators.

You see, on my mothers side, Jospeter was too into the Church to get into the fray. On my Dads side, Kobia, fresh out of making a buck in Burma as a whitemans cook, was too busy drinking to get involved. That is how my ancestors lost their bid to grab something for their descendants.

Come eleventh, I will be working with the side that puts a note between the leathers of my wallet. You see, whatever we do, we are all building the country. Ino ndi ti ya ba nyukwe.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My dear daughter / son

I trust I will beget you one day, and if, watching you through the hiccups of growing you wont kill me with fright, then I will get the chance to walk with you through your highs and lows, have you drive me nuts with your insolence when you wont listen but patiently wait for you to come to your senses and we reason together.

It will be hard, loving you and giving you tough love; the willow that bends to the wind learns how to survive the forces, and so will you the forces of the world. There will be those milestones only a parent faces with closed fingers and a sigh, they will wrinkle my brow and tighten my heart to the edges of a heart attack, but regardless, we will sail them together.

I know there will come a time when you will deem us your parents the greatest of fools on earth, as you extort pocket money from us. It will be payback time, I gather, and I suspect your mother will be sneaking you extra notes behind my back. History repeating itself.

Now, and to the sensitive issue about your mother, you must treat her as a God. That is one field we wont compromise on, and oh, I look forward to the smiles you will bring us as you goof around. I look forward to those moment, and I pray that when that time comes, though you may lack what I cannot provide, you will never lack the presence of a father and embrace of a loving family all around you so long as the tenure God has for us on this earth is still on.

Till then, reside in my knees young fella

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Tom Cat is Male. Not a SHE

The world over, people have never fared great in domesticating the male cat. Where I come from, in a village wedged between Nkorongo and Nturu streams (and Kirimbu na Kathamba Ncici cutting along the village), the male cat is called Mpau.

It is how it operates that makes it a not soo good domestic worker; considering that for shelter, a cat is supposed to work to keep rats at a minimum.

Mpau will appear one morning and before your mum can fetch extra firehood, it finds itself led by the devil to drink the milk meant for breakfast, and when caught in the act, it spills the milk in the process of fleeing.

As if to teach the assailant a lesson, inaponyoka na kifaranga, runs into the bush and by midday it comes back, raids the dove coop and takes off again. Come evening, your neighbors are flocking your homestead, not for a meeting, but to protest that your tom cat either scratched their kid, blinded a chicken or took off with the larger part of meat the family takes on a monthly basis.

You set off to kill it, and it gives like five of the village champion dogs a proper licking, and before the hounds can realize whats up, the Mpau has taken of and they are fighting wenyewe kwa wenyewe..

The tomcat is not an animal you see often during the day, but you will hear it playing a brass band with the sufurias in the Kitchen, at night.

In due time, you will hear of its prowess as its impregnates cats, making those eerie sounds. It exhibits all the qualities of a man; night runner, Kibaragania, it. It appears only at meal time. It is a liability.

Generally, society tolerates men to exhibit such qualities, but when a woman exhibits such......she is doomed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Kibaki’s presidential brief to the country that he had only one family is arguably one of the most memorable. It was in response to rumor that he had a second family. A woman described as a business woman, moving around with bodyguards and living the life of the upper socialites while appearing at political functions portraying the picture of one representing the man in the highest office in the land had tongues wagging.
Not to help matters was the business woman’s daughter, media-tagged the president’s daughter, being negatively connected with infamous Artur Margarayan brother’s, the kings of impunity far as drugs, gun running, raiding Standard’s offices and sauntering above the law was concerned. Unlike leaders in the southern part of Africa to whom taking many wives is not an issue, our president chose to quiet things his-own-selfish-way.
He is not the first, nor the last ‘big man’, to have ‘the other woman’ mentioned alongside his name.
Until a some months ago, David Petraeus was a highly decorated military officer, having risen to the highest echelons in the US military and going on to head the renown CIA. At sixty, married and a father of two, it took the ‘other’ woman’s jealous to bring his untainted career tumbling. Paula Broadus, in a bid to protect her turf as official mistress, sent a series of anonymous emails to her perceived rival Jill Scott and in the ensuing investigation, other top military brass are in the red.
History is laden with tales of mistresses. In the decade past, the Monicah Lewinsky saga threatened to bring down the career of Bill Clinton, often billed as the first black president for his favorable terms on this race that has been looked down upon in the history of mankind. After months of denial, the president owned up to his transgressions. His wife, who Secretary of state Hillary Clinton stood by him and he survived impeachment.

It is perhaps to quote from the book of Luke 12:48 ‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked’ that can explain why there is so much scrutiny in the highest offices of in land. Moral integrity goes hand in hand with leading a nation, but that has never stopped these leading men from taking on a consort.

While some mistresses took their place in the shadows of the first family, others led to events that would change the course of history. The Church of England, which until today is headed by the English Monarchy, traces its beginnings to King Henry VII revolting against papal power in order to marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn. Years earlier, he had a relationship with Mary’s sister, Mary. He later had her beheaded so he could remarry.

While mornach’s had their share of consorting with sisters, one Marylin Monroe, the all time American beauty Icon of the sixties is said to have swung between the president John F. Kennedy and, the Attorney general and later the future AG and John’s brother Robert F. Kennedy. Her two timing is said to have led to her death from a supposedly induced overdose. The two brothers also went on to be felled by the assasin’s bullet seven years apart
As far as presidents go, America’s longest serving president, Frankline Delano Roosevelt had his share of pie, and he ate it. Roosevelts wife, Eleanor had hired Lucy Mercer as personal secretary to FDR. The ensuing relationship almost caused a divorce among the first couple, but state obligations prevailed on the two to stay tied by the wedding band.

Back to the monarchy loin intrigues. Great Britains and Northern ireland long reigning monarch queen Elizabeth II owes her royal seat to her uncle giving the seat to her father so he could marry his twice divorced sweet heart, the American socialite Wallis Simpson. They later divorced.

Decades later, the world was to be heartbroken when the world beloved princess Diana Spencer went public with the news that she was seeking divorce from the next in line to the throne. She lay her claim that there were three people in the marriage. Camila Parker Bowles, longtime lover of Prince Charles was the third leg in the tripod. Much later after the sensational death of Princess Diana, Prince Charles married the now divorced Carmilla. They are still together.
Perhaps, so as not to jeopardize marriages, these public figures should borrow a leaf from our very own Walter Mong’are a.k.a Nyambane who officiated his marriage to his second wife, TPF’s Linda Muthama. Or take after anti Jigger crusader the beauty queen Cecilia Mwangi who came out in public as being the second wife of a youthful coast politician.
Perchance the Europeans have sold the culture of monogamy to the world, but the worlds residents have not wholly taken to the practice. Perchance, it is to those whose much is given that much is expected in return; in the form of sharing.