Uncouth drivers, riders and pedestrians
09 February 2012, 11:36
Mombasa is bound to suffer from congestion in many ways be it human or vehicular traffic which includes the new kid on the block Mr. Tuk tuk and the brother the Motor bike.
Most of this machines are passenger carriers operating from the city centre to the Northern mainland, the Likoni ferry and suburbs served by Makupa causeway towards Nairobi.
According to the Police records, 98 percent of road accidents are as a result of careless driving, poor highway code education and more so illiteracy which sires ignorance.
Matatu culture permeates
Matatu drivers and the riders move around the city with full ignorance of the highway code and will be seen picking and dropping passengers right in the middle of the main roads oblivious of the inconvenience they are causing to the other road users. The few traffic lights are not obeyed and if you dare stop when red comes on then the hooting from behind and calls that you proceed rant the air. If you challenge the behaviour, what meets you is a tirade of dirrty words,even the Traffic Police here have been cowed and they operate with lots of caution lest they step on the wrong toes or maybe its the belief of wizadry that has put them off completely. One wonders why the matatu drivers do this while the Police watch but when you get to hear of the coastal underworld powers that be then you just pity the Policeman working in mombasa.
This behaviour is now fast catching up with the other road users in personal vehicles who after frustrations by the matatu and tuktuk have decided to follow suit and break all rules in place hence degenerating the whole system of road usage to the poorest status in the many cities I have worked in. From ignorance of Zebra crossing areas, traffic lights, passenger pickup areas and other undefined traffic crimes, we meet the Mombasa Pedestrian.
Most pedestrians especially those natives of the coastal city live to the slogan "Mwambao mambo aste aste" as they will take all the time in the world to cross the road even after you stop to give them way. Woe unto you if you try to ask why the laze in crossing and hands fly in the air, "Mombasa ni yetu, meya wetu, nenda zako.............". Its the culture even with school children having grown in the same setup and watching their role models, the parents do every thing with impunity.
Local authorities called to action
It is a high time the Police tightened the noose and reign in on the ruthless drivers and if possible designate proper routes and pickup areas for the same not forgetting to retrain the riders and reduce the numbers of tuktuks in the CBD.
The local council should also wake up from slumber and assist the poor mwananchi who is suffering from the impunity displayed by the motorised sector.
If we are to have Mombasa retain its favour as a Tourist haven, then all must wake up to clean up this mess and make the city navigable.
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