Tag Archives: roads

Good News – A Politician Who Gets It

Gals and guys, please lets give a virtual standing ovation + round of applause + drum circle hum to one Dr. Alfred Mutua, the governor for Kenya’s Machakos County. Now, here is a politician who gets it. One who knows what leadership with a purpose means. One who is not too busy pretending to be doing important things by driving around in a luxury vehicle. One who is actually doing important things. One who is taking active steps to ensure the progress of his community. One who is not too afraid to do the work. One who exemplifies the type of leader that Kenya needs.

At the beginning of the year, Dr. Mutua launched a comprehensive security program for his county complete with security officers, security dogs, a security call center and 120 new security vehicles. Security officers have been notorious for not responding in times of need either because they claim they have no vehicle or no fuel for available vehicles. In some cases people have actually been told to commit to buying the fuel before security personnel can respond…SMH. We all know the importance of security. This comprehensive program is thus very welcome. Oh…CCTV cameras have also been installed around the county. Now, if only other county leaders could borrow this leaf.

He also launched a bursary program at the beginning of the year. The Kshs 80M (a lot of money in any currency) fund “is going to benefit orphans, bright and talented students and vulnerable children in the County.” Yes! Investing in the children secures their future and that of generations to come. Also, education is power and a stepping stone to many a realized dreams. After launching the program, he visited a high school in the area and committed to donating money to help them complete a block of classrooms that were under construction. Yes! Ensuring that the students have conducive learning spaces is a step in the right direction. You hear that Mr. President et al.!? Rushing to give students laptops before making sure that they are no longer forced to sit on stones and learn under trees…hmmm.

Earlier this month, he launched the Machakos Peoples’ Park complete with a fountain, amphitheater, benches and washrooms. The park looks great…at least from the pictures that I have seen. It’s all part of a tourism program to attract both local and international tourists to the county.  Another initiative is “Machawood” which is an entertainment center for film, music and arts. This is an exciting one for me. There is so much talent in the area. I remember growing up in Machakos and going to watch plays on Friday nights with my family. Having a center dedicated to this is a win not just for Machakos but any county.

He hasn’t stopped there. The Machakos County government is in the process of constructing major roads within the county. Teams have also been put in place to make sure that any road maintenance issues are addressed with speed and accuracy. The governor and his government are also working with farmers in the area in order to boost agriculture and ensure food security in the region.

Some people on social media say that the governor is being over ambitious. Well, I would rather that than having zero ambitions like most of our politicians. Dr. Alfred Mutua is taking the necessary steps to promote socio-economic growth and development in his county. Kudos to him! I, for one, am looking forward to his other projects. He seems to have a solid plan in place and I hope he has included in that maintenance plans for everything. I urge you to visit his page “Dr. Alfred Mutua” on Facebook for regular updates on the goings on in Machakos County as relates to this.

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Kenya – Home of the Band-Aid Solutions

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.