Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nairobi Traffic - Let's Do Our Bit To Make It Worse

We are currently in the middle of the rainy season. This automatically means that traffic has become a nightmare in Nairobi. The truth is, this need not be the case. It is all avoidable. But for now, I say: Good! Let the mayhem continue, in fact, let it get much worse. Let it get such that nobody can move anywhere.

Why? Well, here is the tragic truth. The bigwigs, the 'wakubwas', those who should be looking at this situation and doing something to ensure sanity prevails on the roads simply do not give a hoot about the situation. Because they use their flags, sirens and outriders to insulate them from the true magnitude of the insanity that our traffic has become.

So what we need is the president to get stuck in traffic; or the PM to get stuck in traffic, or a cabinet meeting to be called off because all the ministers were stuck in traffic. If this happens two or three times, we will quickly see a "presidential directive" or a "prime ministers directive" that sanity must prevail on our roads and police must take charge.

This is the sad truth. As long as a few outriders and a flag mean 'Mheshimiwa' can simply overlap and bypass the mayhem (in the process leaving the situation worse than s/he found it), Mheshimiwa will not give a damn about ensuring that we all get to our destination on time.

So we must all do our part. Every one of us must suspend logic, adopt insanity, overlap for all we are worth, block those junctions like doing so is a competitive sport, take our jalopies out and make sure they break down at key road points. Don't give way, don't be courteous. We need it to be a Mad Max movie out there people: Don your studded leather jackets, tie your ties round your heads, go forth and be cretins!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thika Road Mess. Blame GoK not the Chinese.

I just read this story in today's Sunday Nation which highlights the fact that there is serious negligence in the traffic management and safety aspects of the Thika Highway construction project. The piece seems to point the finger of blame solely at the construction companies involved in the road building. I have a slightly different take:

I think the responsibility for this lies firmly with the Government of Kenya via the various government organs that are involved in design and implementation of this project (Ministry of Public Works, Kenya Highways Agency, Kenya Police etc).

It is the government's role to protect the interests of its citizens. As such I believe that as part of the Project Implementation contract:

- There should have been a very specific Project Implementation Plan that included a traffic management aspect complete with work dates, schedule of work, diversions needed to complete work, signage guidelines (number needed per occurrence, size, distance etc), police requirement (where traffic control is needed) etc
- There should be regular oversight to ensure that the contractor is complying with the guidelines spelled out in the plan.

Watching the progress of this project, it is evident that there is either no plan or there is no oversight (to ensure that the plan is being followed).

The planning and the oversight are both GoK responsibilities.