Simon M. Kamau
Zusha [Speak up] campaign makes a clarion call
on Kenyans to: ‘Speak up, Silence is killing us!
Do not let a reckless driver make you end up like this!’
Tis´ an effort in the right direction–
Urges passengers to speak against reckless
driving on location.
It targets effecting behaviour change;
making safety a personal responsibility.
But then are they not the same Kenyans who in some
parts of this country rebuke others who dare speak;
look you curiously for fidgeting with the safety belt?
Or ‘carefully observe’ that the complaining passenger -must be a new one to the route.
The average Kenyan passenger is a double standards -It depends person.
In some trips he is heard to say–once the matatu
(a taxi van) is full
(and by this he means–one passenger per seat), ‘let’s go!’
In other circumstances he is a passive one that will
ease up that same space so that many more can come
including helping create illegal makeshift link
‘sambaza-seats’ in all available aisle and leg spaces.
One day a desperate sojourner burst out reminding
fellow passengers; even as they overload, there
would be no gauze bandages or gloves in the hospital–
Should there be any injuries.
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From the confines, another passenger pronounced;
in no uncertain terms that–everyone involved would not be–
Be eligible to any insurance compensation should they get involved
in an accident.
They glared at the 12x3 inch Zusha stickers,
a few shook their heads. Someone muttered, ‘sasa hii ni nini?’
(Swahili for–what’s this now?).
No one could dare: ‘Speak up!’
A sicker sticker portrayed a dead body on a stretcher;
another sticky one had resisted attempts to scrape it,
showed an incongruous mangled wreck
of a look-alike matatu. Same Sacco–
The blast–No not the blast, the bang; whichever!
The silence that followed was deafening.
Zusha–doing nothing is not an option;
me I’ll Zusha,
Be the passenger in the driver’s seat,
even if it’s not more noble -Haply Be safe
This piece is a reflection on the Zusha Road SafetyCampaign in Kenya
(www.zusharoadsafety.org). Between 3000 and 13,000 Kenyans lose their
lives in traffic-related collisions every year.
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