It seems like Kenya has become the home of band-aid solutions. We might just have to start advertising it as such to tourists, white saviors, and folks out there interested in reinventing and redeeming themselves by migrating to the country. Watch out flora and fauna.
Recently the government, or elements in it, banned night travel in public service vehicles (PSVs). Because why? There has been an increase in the number of road accidents. So banning night travel is the obvious solution. Clearly accidents only happen at night…haven’t you heard!? PSVs require a special license in order to transport passengers after dusk. The license can only be obtained after they have met certain regulations.
How is this going to prevent accidents? A license doesn’t guarantee that drivers won’t work back to back shifts. It won’t guarantee that they will get a pay increase so that they don’t have to drive as many shifts as they can in a day without proper rest. It doesn’t guarantee that the police won’t ask for a bribe in order to unsee traffic offenses. It doesn’t guarantee that the vehicle inspectors’ palms won’t be greased into giving the all clear to a vehicle that has no business cruising the streets. It won’t guarantee that the roads are constantly maintained. A special license is not going to prevent road accidents.
The root causes of these road accidents need to be addressed. Shouldn’t the government invest in ensuring that current laws and regulations are effectively enforced as opposed to coming up with new ineffective ones?Shouldn’t they ensure that PSV drivers get a fair wage so that they are not forced to be on the road when they need to be resting? Shouldn’t they work to curb corruption so that people are not taking bribes to look the other way? Issuing special licences doesn’t solve any of the underlying issues.
These band-aid solutions are unfortunately thrown in every sector. When teachers go on strike demanding better pay, the government threatens to fire them and hire new teachers. As if the new teachers won’t also in future go on strike due to dismal pay. The same happens when health care workers go on strike. The government doesn’t address the problems. It merely suppresses them until they come up to the surface again…and then it suppresses them…they come up to the surface…and the cycle continues. It’s as if our leaders are severely allergic to creating sustainable solutions.
How then do they expect to fulfill their campaign promises with such tactics!? Oh wait, never mind, they have might not have the intention to do so after all. Because, you know, politics is solely an avenue to personal wealth acquisition…sigh.