On Reckless Driving in Kenya!!

Shock! Shock!

Traffic Jam at Kibarani, Mombasa

I am still in shock, I feel shaken and traumatized. I am in denial! When my former boss called me on Wednesday morning, all I guessed was that she was going to check on me. But no, she had bad news! “Patience, have you heard about Mutunga?” she asked. “Mmmm, what about him, I haven’t talked to him.” As I answered back, I sensed the grief in her voice and the next words left me shaken. “He is no more, sad he got involved in a road accident this morning on his way to work and died on the spot.” She said.

“Oh no!!” I responded! “Let me call you back shortly, once I have confirmed the news.” She hung up on me! Not so long, calls streamed in, my former colleagues at Baraka FM, Mombasa where we worked together with the late John Mutunga, were all in shock. In denial is the probably the best word to describe the sense in which we all received the sad news. The news of passing away of Mutunga, a great friend to many, a staff at the Standard Media, a husband and a supposedly a father to -be.

The Thika Highway

Messages of condolences were immediately posted on his Facebook wall, his wife’s Facebook page and one page that connects all of us as former employees of Baraka FM. “I have been trying to comment here but I guess R.I.P would be the most accurate thing I can say for now. I couldn’t believe it until the morgue attendant rolled the cot away. Once again R.I.P.” Wrote King Nzomo a former colleague at Baraka FM and a close confidant of the late Mutunga.

Life Cut short

Since the fateful Wednesday that saw a young life cut short, we have all been bitter and sad. According to his wife, Marion Mutunga, together with her husband who served as the Traffic Manager at Radio Maisha, the two were on their way to work when the accident happened. “Patience, I am thankful to God He has strengthened me. The last thing I remember is John pushing me away! Then I fell down. So he let his life for me and our unborn baby. John was the best man, a friend and a husband God ever gave to me, I have never regretted any day of our young marriage. A reckless driver hit him and he died at the accident scene along Mombasa road!” Narrated Mutunga’s wife who is seven month pregnant with their first-born baby.

Traffic situation along Thika road!

I remember Mutunga as the friend who always supplied me with music during my stay in Norway. He was so fast and when he delayed, then an explanation always followed. “I am sorry Patience for the delay, I have just seen your message but I will do so once I get the songs you are looking for.”

This is the second incident of road accidents that have left me so tortured! Such is tragedy! On the 25thDecember 2011, I lost a younger cousin on road accident too! The whole of December and even this January, many lives have been lost through road accidents. News stories narrating how many people have been pronounced dead at the expense of some reckless drivers! I am so bitter and with too many questions unanswered. How does a matatu driver hit a person on the pedestrian lane? Honestly what takes you there??? Why can’t these drivers remember that all the time they are carrying lives that are fragile? Why can’t they understand that life is too precious to be taken for granted? Why can’t these drivers simply follow basic traffic rules? For how long shall we keep losing thousands of people on careless driving? How can we teach these drivers a little patience while on the roads? I guess Kenya is the only country where drivers speed on the Zebra crossing while pedestrians cross running just in case!

Traffik jam along Thika Road

Road Safety in Norway

Feeling sad about the whole story, I feel this is the time that I so miss the peace that I experienced while in Norway. I enjoyed my travelling, road accidents were rarely heard of. Drivers were conscious of their driving; they all seemed very responsible  at all times. Discussing this with some of my friends in Norway, they had a few suggestions. “Maybe you need to champion for the introduction of such an organization. In Norway we have something called, Trygg Trafikk or Safe Traffic in English which has contributed a lot to increase the traffic safety by having different actions to make awareness on the road challenges and problems, working with people’s attitudes by teaching even in kindergarten and schools and through media. The organization is also working with the politicians to make them give attention to the traffic challenges and make them responsible to improve the roads. Now the young men from 18-25 are getting attention because they are causing most of the accidents and are also most often getting killed.

Zebra crossing in Norway

So Trygg Trafikk has made a computer-game to teach people to work on their attitudes. So this is about improving traffic culture and also roads having strict traffic rules which are followed up by the police and all the road users.” Advised a friend. You can get more info on the same by clicking on this web page. http://www.tryggtrafikk.no/w/English/

“Use your media power to change the situation in Kenya. With your colleagues, come together and champion for changes in the transport industry. It can be done Patience. Do not just stop at the point of feeling frustrated,” wrote another one.

“You have an obligation to change that society! Capitalism and corruption does not care for human lives. The government of Kenya can reduce traffic accidents by 80% in Kenya if they want to!” Advised a Norwegian Journalist. They all seemed to agree that is it is something that needs be changed, and therefore it shouldn’t be the norm.

Clearly labeled pathways in Norway

It starts with you and me

As I come to terms with the loss of my dear ones, young lives cut short by some reckless drivers, my dear Kenyans, please, I beg of you, let’s be conscious while on the roads. I know accessing the internet to read my blog might be a privilege that some of the drivers might not access, so you who is reading this blog post, take it upon you to change this situation. The Kenyan traffic madness must stop. The change we so need, starts with you and me. Talk to that reckless driver and give him some sense, let him stay on course and remind him how precious life is! At a blink of an eye, one is no more!!!

What has this death done this time round? God should punish it severely. RIP John” Koome Inyingi, John’s former colleague at Baraka FM.

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23 thoughts on “On Reckless Driving in Kenya!!

  1. So sad to say Patience!!!. Its too painful. Sorry for the loss. But our goverment need to do something. We must make road safety our priority. Road safety awareness shows can real help.

  2. So sad….!!
    I dont know what to say niether do i know how to start…..it hurts.”So he let his life for me and our unborn baby. John was the best man, a friend and a husband God ever gave to me, I have never regretted any day of our young marriage”…..
    Patience,try to imagine how will Mourine tell the unborn child where is papa his; and not becuase he loped from responsibilites like some of us do, but he is not present bcoz of one stupid,cold-blooded chap who has nothing between his ears.
    It’s so painful…..my condolences.

    1. Noel,, it is indeed a sad experience for the family at large. However, we are now taking responsibility to try and ensure that the traffic madness in Kenya comes to a stop! It starts with you and me!! There will be a change in Kenya!

  3. Patience, the anger in you is evident, and rightly so. …there is the anger at the government’s inaction…..at the drivers…..the third and second parties in accidents, but what if you are a passenger? since you are not the driver, its also upon yourself to use the minimum of efforts and put on a seatbelt, which is the maximum you can do,even on the shortest journeys, and try to protect your life, even if someone wants to jeopardise it……RIP John

    1. Newtone, I agree with you that when I am not the driver, I also have a responsibility to take care of myself. This is something I am still trying to do all the time I get to a matatu! I have noticed that many people do not care about the seat belts until they see a traffic police. Now I wonder, whats the essence of putting on a seatbelt, for ones protection or for the police? Think about it Newtone!!

  4. Patience you are right it’s me and you but there are so many people out there who need to be sensitized about the importance of road safety.
    I remember in 2004 while in college we lost a colleague who was hit by a matatu while standing on the stage at Bamburi waiting to board a matatu to college with two others who by good luck survived. Only two weeks had remained for her to seat for her final exams. We lost her just like that and she is now forgotten but I am sure to her parents this tragedy is still fresh in their minds. It was very sad and painful……….

    1. Hey Rhoda Mwambi. Your situation feels more or less like this one of John. It is very sad when such incidents happen, the heart pains with bitterness! My hope is that one day, such incidents will be unheard of. Do your part, I will do mine and lets hope that someone else will do something. Thank you and do have a great week ahead!

  5. I popped in for a brief chat and here I found myself in the middle of my worse nightmare. Before I go any further I pray God to let your friend and colleague rest in peace( R.I.P John: Strength and Guidance for your wife with child in this darkest hour of their lives!) Patience, I don’t know if I told you this, but the feeling i got on the highways in Kenya are the same feeling I had driving the Suriname highways. Paris, Rome( Italy) and now here in The Hague(NL) the worse drivers( reckless and without respect for law and order are 65% of my fellow Africans, Surinamese and Italians) Most of them are born and raised in Europe and they know the rules, but choose to ignore them. When I was on the Mombasa road I felt lucky every time I made it to my destiny on this earth. Buses and Trucks compete with each other on a small strip on the road; high spirited using their horns pushing pedestrians off the road. So Patience, if there is anything you need me to add in my group( Stop violence in education!) or in school let me know. If we want to change the world let’s start with the little children. Thank you for sharing this painful emotion with us. Wish you strength and love to accept John’s sudden departure. take care!

    1. Marleen, this is where the problem starts. “Most of them are born and raised in Europe and they know the rules, but choose to ignore them.” The same way here in Kenya, most people know the rules but choose to ignore them at the expense of innocent human beings. Very sad!! Kenya has been documented for having reckless drivers, always in a hurry, I wonder why!

      Stop Violence in education, is a great venture. I wish to let you know that just last week, we had a school teacher accused of having canned a pupil to death! Can you imagine this? I will write and tell you more about the story.

      Thank you for popping bye and leaving your comments. These are highly appreciated!! Stay well and lets keep in touch!!

  6. Ki moon,we need generational change in our roads,all drivers have experienced terrible roads accidents but nothing seems to change.lets have strategies to have new crop of drivers in our roads.but remember these drivers reflects the kenyan society.it’s sad our friend was killed by mat ya kata funua kwa road.Mungu atustiri.

  7. Hi Patience, my question is related to your comment on the pupil that recently died. Please up date me with more information. What action will there be taken against the teacher? Mail me please. Marleen

  8. I am sad to read this. Yesterday i saw a women who had been hit on Msa road near Subaru Kenya. I was with my daughter and i didnt even know what to do apart from stop my car at the side of the road and help the lady. Sad part is she was still alive but some men there were just starring at her… and the man who had hit her had tried to speed off… I am still so sad. I am sorry for your friend. The goverment needs to do something about that road… but before they do, drivers need to think twice before they start driving like mad people on the road.

    1. Missbabes, I know what you mean, we have mad drivers in our society. People who do not care about humanity at all!! Thank you for stopping to help. For me, its not about the government doing anything about the road, we as KENYAN citizens have to be responsible first! Kenya is you and me and together we can make the change we so wish to see in this Kenya. Thank you for stopping to read my blog.

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