On the eve of our Jamhuri day celebration 2016, the day we ade set to celebrate the day we finally got complete and total liberation from our opressors and colonisers. The day we celebrate with accurate strides, the development we have achieved, the far we have come. This is the one day we can say with certainty the number of years we have been free to do as we wish.
So come 2016 as we prepare to celebrate this very milestone and a day before a dark cloud looms and a deafening thunder strikes. Kenyans travel home over the festive season, to enjoy with their loved ones, and this time it wasn’t different. Karai, an area in Naivasha, where the road comes to a curve as it slopes downwards. Given it’s an interesting ride, an area where speed freaks, like myself, would live to drive through. The area is one of those points on a highway with all signs of speed, an area that no slow slugs, pedestrians are welcomed. Complete with acceleration/alow lanes on the side for trailers that would otherwise slow traffic.
The story goes that the residents along the route complained of the section and the ministry in their humble, noble and prompt fashion swooped in a put a bump right at the bottom of the exhilarating slope. So since January speed freaks, myself included, had to enjoy the sloppy curve and descent, all the while estimating to see where the new bumps were installed. Better iyou have a European car with great brake pads, otherwise you night end up squashed behind a track. Almost instinctively, drivers in their brotherly capacity, always put hazard lights when approaching the bumps to warn the oncoming and pursuing traffic of the danger zone. The lights go on from as far as halfway down the slope, often at night.
Suprisingly I am not the only one who had noticed the looming danger there in my speed escapades along the highway. From Facebook, there are posts from as soon as the bump was installed challenging the wisdom behind the installation. One would think that the ministry of transportation, the county government, the national government or even the Kenya National Highway Authority(KENHA) have among them competent engineers, or in the very least men tempered by common sense and logic. One would assume that those charged with overlooking repair and maintenance of roads are aware of the general workings of roads, road users and drivers. But in this case…….. All these institutions failed us mightily!
A Ugandan-bound track carrying inflammable materials sped down the slope in normal fashion, perhaps there were no cars infront to put hazard in warning, or none to slow down prompting his slowing too. The track hit the bump and momentarily lost control swerving onto the opposite side of the road, head on with oncoming traffic. What happens next was similar to a scene from the popular horror movie, The Omen. Sad sad indeed, so sad that 40 individuals died too soon, many more burnt beyond recognition and many more families and lives wrecked!
Our complacency showed! It reared its head and it was ugly. Too often, we have complained of the wrongs in our society and nothing happens, no one does anything, those charged with the responsibility never raise a finger! And now this caught up with us, on our roads; our engineering pride! Think of it this way, Naivasha-Nakuru highway opens up the Western region from Nairobi, anything happens to it and there will be a total gridlock! All those headed to Kisumu, Bungoma, Kericho, Kapenguria, Eldoret won’t make it if said road is blocked. Meaning the President and Deputy President uses the route on their duties to the said areas, by road of course. You would imagine that atleast one of the many senior government officials would have noticed the issue and sort to follow it up, but no, they must have all assumed another would do it. Just like that lives are lost, a celebration is darkened!
So Kenya what are we doing? Where is the pride in our works? The indelible mark we leave behind whenever we complete an object? The diligent foundation on which great workmanship is built? Are we so lost we can’t recognize when a road desperately needs a bump or one less? Do we need international observers to come observe that too? Do we need Chinese engineers to come repair even bumps?
I often think of my country as a great one, one that forges the way for the other nations to follow. Unfortunately my dreams are squashed repeatedly by new lows. Just when I was accepting that my country can’t manufacture a bicycle, I now have to accept that we can’t knkw where a bump should and shouldn’t be? Please country men.
In the famous words of President elect Donald Trump… ‘Let’ s make our Country Great Again!!! ‘
Yes I quoted him!