By Simon Njoroge
”I have no time to waste. ” Say Paul Kagame in an interview by François Soudan of Jeune Afrique l’Intelligent. He continues the agenda on his Facebook page ”Rwanda cannot afford to waste any time. Our past should teach us this lesson and motivate us to work harder to achieve.”
I’m writing this from my Hotel room in Kigali Rwanda. I have been here for around 2 weeks and seen development at its best, not to mention the peaceful environment around the country. Kagame has really put in the work from all angles. I landed at around 10 PM at Kigali International Airport. Along with my bags, I had bought a laptop from Nairobi that was obviously covered with a nylon paper. I was not allowed to carry along with me any plastic bags(nylon) into the country even the tiny ‘Tuskys’ paper bag I had. The security officers asked me to buy eco-friendly bags from the airport canteen. Well, I got a cab and was driven to the Hotel Im staying.
See, the traffic lights that Nairobi recently got(The countdown thingys) have apparently been in Kigali for ages. The roads don’t have a single pot hole and the reflectors along the road and next to bumps are electronic; There’s no chance of you missing a bump like Ngong’ Road. ”Tighten you seat belt brother, welcome to Kigali” says the cab driver. He continues ”Driving without the belts on is a serious crime here. Unlike your country, bribing the police here is an equally big crime as robbery”. See, even a cab driver a thousand Kilometers away knows about the corruption level in Nairobi. Rwanda is a great country for Kenya to learn from in terms of the fight on corruption, infrastructure and most importantly good leadership(which translates to good security)
Like a month ago, a couple of traffic cops were arrested along the Nakuru- Nairobi highway on a corruption case aired on TV. The following week, I used a public Service Vehicle from Nakuru to Nairobi and took the seat next to the driver. As we approached any police check, the driver kept some 50 shillings between his driving license. He would then hand the license to the cop who’d pretend to go check the insurance details at the front of the vehicle and pull out the money. So as we proceed, I go ahead and ask the driver, ”So, does everyone pay this fee regardless of your car condition? what if you refused to pay? ” . He responds, ”A traffic police can always find a mistake on your car regardless. The fee is to avoid a lot of drama. My car is just a month old, there’s no possible fault with the car but I have to pay since its the system in place. Utashinda na serikali?”
We passed yet another police check and the driver was quite ‘friendly’ with this cops. He jokingly says to them in Kikuyu, ”I see today you decided to carry guns.” then they laugh together as one of the cops responds ”Lets now wait for someone to arrest us. The anti-corruption guys were here this morning, we asked them ”Iko Shida?” then they left scared.” They laugh and we continue with the road trip. The driver says, ”See, this system starts at the top. The traffic police boss asks this guys to collect money from the matatus, so arresting 5 traffic police doesn’t change anything. They are now strictly armed and arresting them would be easy henceforth. This guys have to take some percentage to their bosses everyday, inaitwa sadaka”. Fast forward to yesterday, DJ MO of NTV’s Crossover101 got arrested by the same guys along Naivasha-Nairobi Highway for not bribing the officers. His crime was driving a tinted car. Seriously? Aren’t this guns they are carrying supposed to be for the sole purpose of protecting Kenyans?
Dear Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, I’m a PR specialist and can tell you for sure that, your PR is good. Your team is full of strategists who are doing quite a great job in making you look good. But honestly right now, the country doesnt need a brand as a president, we need a leader. We need you to focus on the key issues affecting the country. We need you to reshuffle the security leadership and if possible fire most of them. We need corruption cases taken seriously especially on the transport industry that is taking investors on huge loses. This is not the time to tell us ”Everything is under control”. It really isn’t! Rest in Peace to our fellow Kenyans lost in Kapedo & Marsabit