EVERY KENYAN MOTHER COUNTS

Every Mother Counts is a US based organization, an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal and child health..The organization was started by a former supermodel who after her own experience of giving birth with complications decided to bring greater awareness to the issue by directing and co-producing No Woman, No Cry, a documentary about maternal health. The film tells the compelling stories of at-risk pregnant women in four parts of the world (Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala and the United States).

Kenya does not boast of such a body and it is left to the press to highlight such incidences.Our country also has no safe motherhood program , this needs to change seeing the rising levels of maternal deaths

This coming June will be four years since i lot a friend Nelly during childbirth.We had been in boarding school together,went to the same all girls high school and even ended up at the same university doing the same undergraduate course.Often we ended up doing the same odd jobs to earn some extra cash,like when we worked at an international surveyors meeting in 2002 that was held at the Kenya school of Monetary studies.After university we both ended up getting the same jobs a nutritionists for NGO’s and would occasionally bump into each other and do some catching up.We shared some common friends and more often than not we would both attend the same weddings because of this.

In the first week of 2008,i lost a dear aunt in some puzzling scenarios at a private hospital in Embu and just a week after we laid her to rest i was informed of Nelly’s tragic passing just an year after her wedding.Oftentimes it seems hard to imagine she went in such a manner,bringing life to the world.This baby she had carried and nurtured in her womb he would not be able to suckle at her breast,never know the joy of the word “mama”,never get to cuddle her,never see her first milestones,it was unbelievable!What was even more astounding was the fact that she was in one of the private hospitals in Nairobi where you would imagine no expense would be spared to save her life,tragically this never happened and she became just a statistic in the many cases of maternal deaths happening in the country today.

Kenyan doctors recently launched a campaign to have the government avail a drug misoprostol that is aid to be 95% effective in reducing bleeding.The online publication of medicalkenya reports that the drug is frequently used for unintended purposes such as abortions if taken by a pregnant woman it induce abortions.It goes on to say that bleeding after birth contributes to about 20-30% of all maternal deaths and if licensed the drug which trades as cyotec could help curb maternal deaths.

Kenya has had national campaigns to fight malaria,pneumonia,TB and HIV/AIDS but with the rising numbers of maternal deaths being reported in many hospitals whether government or private there needs to action and fast to save a growing number of Kenyan women,most of them in their prime losing their lives as they bring forth new life.Reading some of the stories carried on news media ,you wonder if we are lacking in medical practitioners,whether it is a case of negligence or maybe we do not have enough capabilities to cope with this growing trend.

A council member of the Kenya Obstetrical and Gynecological Society Dr Joseph Karanja was quoted in a news item by the medicalkenya publication as saying that Kenya losses 7000 women annually to pregnancy related complication.Those are too many women to be losing over what has been said to be 90% preventable causes.

Maybe it is time the Ministries of Public Health and Medical Services put their heads together and came up with an audited report of how many trained and qualified gynecologist and obstetricians are available for every 100 women in Kenya.AM sure the statistics will be shocking because all too often i have heard of mothers in rural area giving birth at home with no specialized medical care whatsoever.

If we are not able to guarantee the safety of every mother who walks into a hospital to give birth,we will soon have a growing number of children without mothers.The medical practitioners board also needs to give an independent and unbiased report on why deaths have been reported even in hospitals with trained staff , well equipped theaters and drugs to prevent occurrences such as these.Is it a case of lack of medical personnel or lack of ethics where doctors are choosing bank balances over the lives of human beings?This kind of reports should not be heard of in a country that is seeking to achieve Vision 2030.

Once a detailed report has been given then it will be easier to pinpoint the reasons why so many newborns are losing their mothers at birth.With these outlined then both the government and medical practitioners can put in place measures and strategies to see that another story like Nelly’s that will not happen to another child,husband,mother or father ever again.

SNIPPETS OF THE WEEK

Coffee Prices

World coffee prices are at an all time high not seen since 1977.According to the International coffee Organization an increasing demand for the beans against a drop in supply.The online publication indieprobub.com it quoted the ICO’S chief economist Denis Deudieu who said that the rise is in response to market basics: low supply and increased demand. This is partly because both Indonesia and Africa, have faced unfavorable weather conditions, added the economist.

With such great news in the industry it is interesting that the government is allowing farmers to clear their farms of the precious cash crop at the behest of the rising demand for housing.This is coming at a time when Kenya is experiencing an economic crunch and people will soon not be able to fund the real estate bubble that has been growing over the years.

Coffee culture is gaining popularity the world over and especially in China where an emerging class of trendy professionals are deviating form the tea culture that has been the preferred drink of these and other countries in the east.With the trend most likely to pick up in the coming years,Kenya needs to invest in these lucrative market and reduce the trade deficit that has been growing ever since China became the development partner of choice.

It was therefore interesting when the government announced it was setting up a condom factory,yet a coffee processing project would have made economic sense in the long term.This is because for most of our life as a coffee producing country we have mostly exported unprocessed coffee.

The Curious case of Zimbabwe
We all remember the Safaricom IPO euphoria that saw every Kenyan want to own a piece of this Kenyan corporate success story.The government has followed the policy of selling off its shareholding either to private individuals or the general public.

In Zimbabwe however it is a different story and President Mugabe has been following through on his Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act that seeks to force foreign owned companies worth $500,000 to achieve at least 51 percent black ownership within five years.

He has received a lot of flak from his coalition partner Moses Tsvangirai who has termed this as empty rhetoric.The Prime Minister was reported on Reuters.com as having said that thirty year after independence Zimbabweans are still seeing the plunder and looting of national resources by a select group of parasitic elite.These comprises individuals who are already multi millionaires and owners of huge tracts of land and who benefited from President Mugabe’s seizure of white owned commercial farms .

China has becoming a major trading partner with Zimbabwe and this country which now boasts the second largest economy is providing financial aid to Zimbabwe no questions asked.

Zimbabwe held a lot of promise at independence but three decades later it is a pale shadow if itself and over the years he have seen sanctions leveled against its government,inflation reach unfathomable heights and curios measures such as the nationalization of companies to tilt ownership toward that of indigenous Zimbabweans.

Terror Alerts in Kenya

Over the past 5 days Kenyans especially those living in Nairobi have been receiving warning on purported suicide bombers.These curious band of men and women want to hasten their arrival at the pearly gates in the company of innocent Kenyans all in the name of a religious cause.

Maybe it is time the government involved the Muslim clerics in their fight against terrorism.It is also time the government sought way of resolving the current unemployment rate that stands at 40%.With these young Kenyan minds focusing their energies and creativity at work we may see a reduction in enrollment figures in these militant groups like the Al Shabab.

It is time to create an interfaith group that is going to look into the current youth crisis in the country today.Only a concerted effort by all stakeholders from parents,to government to religious bodies will stem the recruitment of young Kenyans into these murderous gangs.

The fight for Somalia

The fight against terror will not be won if there are no stable governments in volatile countries like Afghanistan and Somalia which provide the perfect cover for militant groups hell bent on perpetuating terrorism.

Somalia has also gained fame because of the gentlemen of fortune plying the Indian Ocean waters lying in wait for large and not so large vessels whom they hijack and claim ransom money for.

With no acceptable government and police force to speak of in this country it will be futile to think that we can win the war against terror and piracy.The fight for Somalia needs a concerted effort form world leaders and not a paltry force of African Union member countries.

The Kenyan Story :Let us Start from the begining

“Stories have to be told or they die,and when they die ,we cant remember who we are or why we are here”-From the Secret Life of Bees By S.M Kidd

In 2003 the ban on the Mau Mau movement was lifted by the then Minister for internal Security Mr Chris Murungaru.This paved the way for registration of the veterans who fought the colonialists to register their group which has allowed them to lodge a case against the British government.The former war veterans are seeking compensation for atrocities committed during the seven year emergency period between 1952 and 1959.The standard newspaper has been providing special reports of Britain’s dirty past and in one article by Patrick Mathangai he says the lifting of the ban on the movement helped end the stigma which was associated with it and which was never recognized by either the President Daniel Arap Moi or his predecessor.

Among notable figures who staged rebellions are Koitalel arap Samoei, the supreme chief of the Nandi who led an 11 year rebellion at the start of the century against British colonial rule.On the 5th of October in 1905 together with his companions he was led to believe that the British government had conceded to a truce and it was under this guise that he met his death at the hands of Col Richard Meinertzhagen .Rupi Mangat wrote an article about this famed Nandi Chieftain in the East African on the 103rd anniversary of Koitalel’s murder.He was among the first Kenyans to actively resist British rule in fight for the rich agricultural land that forms part of the Nandi hills.

Another notable historical figure who rebelled against British rule was Mekatilili wa Medza ,this woman led a one year rebellion between 1914 and 1915 before she was captured and exiled in Mumias from where she returned after 5 years.While there isn’t a lot of history on all the leaders from different tribes who paved the road to independent Kenya with their blood,we can safely assume that it a collective effort from Kenyans of all shades and colors.

The Mau Mau story is just a tip of the iceberg of what is Kenya’s previously unknown history.At the moment the spotlight is on this period in Kenya’s history as a result of the case filed against the British government by four Kenyans and their lawyer Mr Paul Muite.This group is asking for the UK government to be held responsible for the crimes committed against them and their comrade in arms during the emergency period that preceded independence.The four ,Wambugu wa Nyingi,Jane Muthoni Mara,Paul Nzili and Ndiku Mutua all well into their late seventies are seeking justice from the former colonial power at the very least in the form of admissibility.

It was sad to see these men and women bravely holding up their placards without the retinue of supporters that is reserved for political leaders.There wasn’t much coverage of the story on local channels,not even a brief historical look on what led to the uprising.Details that a lot of Kenyans today do not know or even bother about.The accolades have been reserved for the politicians who have used the ordinary Kenyans as pawns in a chess game whose winner is already known.

Looking at a picture of these frail men and woman with their placards outside the Royal Court of Justice,i was reminded of my paternal grandfather who fought in this war.This quiet unassuming man who passed away when i was just 10 years fought alongside his colleagues,was imprisoned,tortured and God knows what else,leaving my grandmother to take care of her four children on her own.I find myself thinking about my grandfather a lot nowadays,he died a poor man with nothing to show except for the stories he regaled my father with on his exploits.It is a pity i was not old enough to fully understand or even comprehend the enormity of what he faced but the faces of these four veterans should compel us to know exactly what happened to these and other heroes who played a big role in shaping our country’s history.

A generation of Kenyans like my father grew up without their fathers,grew up watching and hearing the stories of the killings,tortures that the British meted out on their subjects.By telling the stories of these and other brave Kenyans we may begin t fully grasp where we have come from as a nation.

At the beginning of the 20th century Kenya never existed as a country ,different tribes roamed this vast land and occasionally there were clashes but generally they lived amicably.There is really no Kenyan identity we can speak of and all efforts towards forging an identity have failed dismally.The only thing that seems to unite us is the National anthem yet few us can sing all of the three stanzas of this song that beautiful anthem that borrows from the Pokomo culture.

Kenya became part of the British protectorate of East Africa in 1895,then a colony in 1920.It was these dates in history that spawned the fight for land that have plagued our history to date.This fight for land necessitated relocation of entire tribes so that the white highlands could be reserved for the exclusive use of the white man with the locals serving as sources of cheap labor.

Land was the precious commodity which brought things to a head and culminated with the long drawn out war by the Mau Mau that lasted all of nine years and saw thousands dead and heinous crimes committed on both sides of the warring groups.

In her book “Its Our Turn To Eat”Michela Wrong quotes Cambridge Professor John Lonsdale who says’When it comes to Mau Mau, a terrible pall of silence hangs over Kenyan intellectual life.Kenyan may write their autobiographies,or record the pre colonial histories of their ethnic communities.But they don’t write about the Mau Mau.”This fact is further cemented by the strange coincidence that all histories on these and other movements in Kenya’ s history has all been the work of Western scholars.

The UK guardian in a review of two books (History of the Hanged by David Anderson and British Gulag by Caroline Elkins) that have sought to record this part of history said in part”The British reacted with maximum violence. Unaccustomed to listening to Africans, even “moderate” ones, they could not or would not see political, social or economic causes behind the rebellion. They turned their forces, including heavy bombers, on the forest fighters” The article written on the 5th of February 2005 by Richard Dowden of the Royal African society starts with an announcement by then Labour MP Gordon Brown who after visiting the country that year declared that Britain need not apologize for colonialism.He said in part that we should be very proud of the fact that Britain imparted on us the values of liberty ,virtue and tolerance.

When our country gained full independence on 12th December 1963,we not only inherited great infrastructure,government system and educational institutions that were great boon to a cradle nation.But the government was also saddled with a lot of history that came with injustices committed,tribal animosity ,unfair land distribution and a skewed educational system that is present to date .

When the new constitution was promulgated on the 27th of August last year it replaced the day we previously celebrated as Kenyatta day with Mashujaa day.This was done as a means of celebrating the valiant efforts of the freedom fighters who through out the years sought and fought for our recognition as a sovereign people.While this is commendable what has been forgotten are the stories behind this fights,the need to have equitable distribution of resources among all Kenyans.In simpler terms it was the fight to recognize that every Kenyan is free to won land,operate businesses,gain access to education,good roads,access to health care and basic human rights which unfortunately even today we are still fighting for.While some tribes may have been more active in the walk to freedom than others i am sure some of our founding fathers are turning in their graves at the shame that has become of our country today.

In a strange twist of collective amnesia,the government when launching the Truth,Justice and Reconciliation commission sought to only investigate injustices carried out between 12 th December 1963 to 28th of April 2008.What it fails to do i take into consideration the fact that this free fall of injustices started way before then and the effects are still being felt to date.

By acknowledging our murky past,it may be the way to start the healing that allows us to accept ourselves as a country,made up of different ethnic groups of all shades and colors who find them selves living together a a result of circumstances beyond our control.By having to listen to the stories of the journeys we have made to date,of the injustices wrought out through the years,maybe we may heave a collective sigh of relief knowing that the fight for a better future has to start with every one who calls Kenya home.This has to be done soon because there isn’t any one tribe that has more claim than the other 41 in this country.Each one of the 40 million citizens of this country have an equal stake in the present and the future of this country,no one should feel feel that their stakes are higher than their neighbors.

It is for this reason that i posit that by allowing ourselves to delve into our past,we may be able to lay to rest the ghosts of tribalism,nepotism,corruption and a plethora of other evils that have bedeviled Kenyan society to date.All these evils which are as a result of past injustices need to become past tense as we strive to heal our country .

We need to tell of the brave men and women who fought for our self governance as a country,by sharing our different pasts we may see the way towards building a common future.A future that will ensure that every Kenyan regardless of tribe,race or political affiliation is able to move freely within the 582,650 sq kilometers that make up this country.

For far too long we have played the politically correct card by choosing to forget where we have come from but in our quest to bury the past,its ghosts have come to haunt us.This is clearly seen in the way communities have treated the recent relocation of IDP’S,the Mau Forest evictions and in the land clashes of the 90’s.

A generation of Kenyans who hold a wealth of information on this country are getting advanced in years,And with their passing they will carry untold stories of this country that would do much in healing the divides and prejudices we still old about each other.I have yet to hear of any Kenyan film maker who has ought to put these epic stories on film,our writers have failed at this too,none have sought to document our country tumultuous history.We have become obsessed with the intrigues of the day and we have forgotten that every story has a beginning …..

DIGITIZING THE KENYA ID PROCESS

Every Kenyan above the age of eighteen will carry many forms of identification in their lifetime in the form of their National Identity card,driving license maybe even a passport.Then once they are in gainful employment they will carry a NHIF(National Hospital Insurance Fund) card,NSSF(National Social Security Fund) card and maybe an additional medical insurance card.Not to forget that there is a pin certificate and your employers ID and if you are furthering your education there is the student ID and maybe a library card too.

With all this types of ID required for each Kenyan there are definitely loopholes for fraudsters to cash in on these and issue fake ID’s.We have seen this especially in certain areas of the country popular with immigrants from our war torn neighbors It is time government changed this by going digital with the id process and reducing the number of forms of identification any Kenyan will need for any service or just to identify themselves.

When i started on my first job i went to KRA and with my national ID i filled out some forms and was able to get my KRA pin and entered the world of the heavily taxed Kenyan society in formal employment.While the application process is now online maybe the government needs to look into merging the process of acquiring an ID once one attains the age of 18,getting a divers license and a personal identification number.Two of these processes ,getting a PIN and a drivers license are issued from the same government body the KRA and by adding the role of issuing ID it would seal loopholes by which government looses revenue through the evasion of tax.

Kenyan banks which are famous for using the KYC(know your customer)mantra to ask for everything from utility bills to marriage certificates before you open an account would have an easier time of knowing exactly where the millions stashed in their accounts are really from legitimate sources.This would be done by having the tax body share such information on prospective account holders with financial institutions reducing all the paper work that goes through with the process.

It is only a few weeks since the water Minister was cleared of corruption charges by a tribunal looking into the awarding of tenders in her ministry.Among the reasons for clearing her was the fact that none of the directors of the companies associated with the scandal could be directly linked to her.Having registered a company last year ,the registrar of companies really never bothers with knowing the individuals seeking to own a company.That is why corruption is so rife and why cases brought before the KACA (Kenya Anti Corruption Agency) never yield much because the perpetrators of these crimes have seen a loophole in the system.The current registration leaves no trail whatsoever and corrupt individuals are cashing in on this.

By merging some state functions like registration of companies,id issuance and issuing of both drivers license and PIN for tax purposes we may see more revenue finding its way to the exchequer and ensuring that offenders are easily tracked.

There are countries that have already gone digital with their ID process and these include Germany,Sweden and more recently Russia.Of these the most recent entrant is Russia whose electronic id will see the country issue unique multi application cards.According to Frost.com a global growth partnership provider “the Russian project will allow citizens to not only have access to institutional services but also to prove identity and signature and have medical insurance and pension information”.The card will also allow citizens to access public transport,act as a credit card to pay utilities,a health card for registration and prescriptions and also an education card that can be used to obtain university admission

The electronic ID cards in use in Sweden is plastic and rectangular in shape, about 86 × 54 millimeters in size come with a contact chip and some printed data on top.The printed data includes photograph and name of the holder,physical address,date of birth,date of issue and any other information that may be deemed relevant by individual countries.

Definitely there are risks as with all systems and checks like encryption of personal information and protection against phishing which is a major issue with EID’s will need to be taken into consideration.But these are definitely outweighed by the increased efficiency and reduced bureaucracy that characterizes the ID process.

SOCIAL MEDIA :Engaging the Kenyan users.

Recently there was an article in the business daily that asked whether the use of social media has been overrated.An example was given of the Pepsi Cola campaign which through attracting a lot of followers never really translated to a healthier bottom line for the company and now Pepsi Cola has decided to revert to the more traditional mode of advertising to market its brand.

I think the success of social media is in the way it seeks to promote a communal feel for people who share the same views or enjoy certain interests or share a passion for the same cause.While Kenya has a very different demographic we can tap into our peculiar concerns to use this form of media to change our situations and circumstances.

Safaricom has led the way by having a very strong online presence both on twitter and face book.Their social platform has aimed at increasing brand awareness without necessarily focusing on sales and also seeking to engage their customers.Checking their face book updates one sometimes reads a lot of complaints on issues but they have also been able to educate a lot of their followers on twitter on their products and services through their trivia questions.And am sure none of their winners are complaining.

In a recent interview on CNN the mayor of New york gave an inspiring story on how he used twitter to get help to his constituents during a snow storm in December of last year.In Kenya media houses have some of the largest following and they are closely followed by certain politicians and and figures in the entertainment industry.
With such a platform these organizations and personalities can positively influence the choices of their audience.These same avenues of transmitting information can be used to channel civic education and citizen responsibility on the issues we are facing today.

With a campaign period before us that is already generating heat and with a sizable number of Kenyans both within the country and in the diaspora it is interesting none of the political heavyweights garnering for the top job has come up with a way to use twitter to engage in debate on issues close to the hearts of Kenyans.Martha Karua who has arguable the largest twitter following and who is most active on twitter now needs to stop fighting the endless problem of corruption and needs to start telling us how if and when she is elected intends to fight issues of unemployment,insecurity,corruption and a whole lot of other issues.

With one of the highest internet users on the continent, if used well social media can be a great boost towards raising awareness of issues that affect us as a country. A lot of excitement followed the enactment of the constitution and as we speak more than 20 bills await to be brought to parliament to fast track its implementation.

A democracy will only be built if each and every Kenyan is involved in the process,from my grandmother in the village to the C.E.O of the blue chip company.It is only by employing a bottom up approach in solving our issues and being involved in the way our country is run that we will see change .And the change will take time,those of us reading this may probably be laying the groundwork for the Kenya that our children and grandchildren will enjoy in the coming years.

Let us see the Kenyan social media scene alive with ideas and constructive conversations on how we can keep the country on track to being the land of milk and honey our freedom fighters and founding fathers fought for.

GOD SAVE(SOME) AMERICANS FROM THEIR PREJUDICES

“Prejudices are what fools use for reason”-Voltaire

God help America if the Republicans win the next elections.The coming elections have seen an interesting mix of characters declaring their interest in being the COO of America and among them are Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.Voltaire may as well have been referring to some of them when he penned his now famous quote.

Sarah Palin who has revealed herself to be as obsessed with her image as she is ignorant about her world geography.She is often parodied and this does not seem to faze her as she solidly marches on in her quest to seek Americas top job.This former Alaskan governor who was John McCain’s running mate is also a notable figure of the tea party.This political movement is an American populist political movement that claims to promote an authentic interpretation of the American constitution.

Another front runner is Donald Trump the self made real estate millionaire whose personal fortune is estimated to be worth 2.7 billion dollars according to Forbes as of March 2011.Mr Trump is very familiar to Kenyans as the mean boss on the American edition of the apprentice.

These two individuals are keen supporters of the birther movement that claims President Obama is not a US citizen therefore holds the office of the President illegally.It is interesting that their supporters mostly white Republicans have swallowed this myth hook,line and sinker.

While debating the citizenship of the US president is not the aim of these article,the claims by these two and their supporters have spawned of anti Obama feelings across the country.And this largely stems from the fact that Obama boasts of an African father,a majority of the white population believes he has no businesses holding the position.

What they seem to forget is that he inherited most of these issues he is grappling with from his predecessor who was made infamous for his ignorance on a number of issues.In my view Obama is an idealist trying to create a perfect world when there is no chance of there being one.His detractor should give him a little lee way in trying to right a mess which was not his own doing.

Being a keen follower of international news,i read the Times and Huffington post often and it is sickening to read the comments of some Americans on anything Obama.It is sad that citizens of a country that is touted as being among the most advanced technologically,boasts some of the best learning institutions and generally a standard of life that is the envy of developing countries is also home to some of the most ignorant,hateful and disrespectful people on this earth.

I think it is about time they got off their moral high horse and cleaned up their house.For a fact Africans are more respectful of their elders no matter how much you disagree with their policies or feel about the way they run their country.But reading the comments on a recent Huffington post article on a certain reporter kept interrupting him during an interview you get to learn how crass Americans are.Apparently Obama could not get to complete his answers because the reporter kept interrupting him and the President had to ask the man to let him finish his answers.

It is indeed sad that more than half a century since the inception of the civil rights movement which aimed at outlawing discrimination against African Americans a section of this country that acts as a moral standard bearer for democracy still finds it okay for people to air their bigoted views against a sitting president.Obama seems to be receiving even more flack from some section of Republican and white supremacist than Clinton did when he lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Racialism is a disease just like tribalism and it seems even for a country that boasts of its Ivy League colleges the prejudices some Americans hold exposes them for the fools they are and no amount of education can remedy that.

ROAD SAFETY IN KENYA-Emphasizing the need for tougher actions

If you visit most major towns in Kenya you will definitely find that there are a lot of bicycles commonly referred to as boda bodas and motorbikes which have provided an alternative means of transport especially for those in the low income bracket of society.

They provide a fast and cheap means of traveling fast over short distances.It is not uncommon to see two or more people clinging onto the rider as they whiz past you to their preferred destination.But as much as they have become common they have also contributed to the huge number of fatalities on Kenyan roads.

In much of Europe and the US you cannot have a baby under the age of two years in a bicycle carrier.The situation in Kenya is very different because all too often i have witnessed mothers carrying infants on these killer machines.With their hands firmly wrapped around their babies God forbid if the rider accidentally braked to a halt,they would be thrown off and would be nursing serious injuries or even worse.

Kenya ranks very high among countries that have the worst road safety records and while the government has focused on public service vehicles,we also need to turn our attention to the emerging transport trends in the country.Public education on road safety needs to be done urgently and any offenders should face swift action.Maybe it is time passengers also faced arrest or fines for putting themselves in danger by either not adhering to safety regulations.Why would a mother pile her two kids on these killer machines?

Having lived in Western Kenya for a little while now i have seen school children being transported to school in the early morning.Some are so young they are either falling sleep on the rider’s back or sucking on their fingers.Can you imagine what would happen if these future Kenyans fell asleep and forgot to hold on to the bars?

Possible Solutions
While accepting the fact that motorbike accidents are not the only culprit when it comes to road carnage,it is time a concerted effort from all parties was initiated .
Road safety should be a concern for all road users be it drivers of public or personal vehicles,heavy commercial vehicles,pedestrians and even the traffic department.

May be it is time the government involved the public in curbing the rising deaths on our roads.There are very many online forums where i have read stories of Kenyans sharing their stories of how they have lost loved ones on our roads.At the same time these forums provide great ideas that both the transport ministry and traffic department should look into in solving the crisis.

Sometimes,the cause of these accidents lies squarely with the road users on foot who prefer scampering across highways instead of using foot bridges,but i do think any good driver needs to slow down in areas where there is heavy pedestrian traffic.

It is also time Kenyans shifted blame for road fatalities,most of the time Kenyans after an accident will be heard lamenting on how the driver was going too fast.But how many of us raise voices in protest when we are in such a vehicle?The police recently reminded Kenyans that they can make a citizens arrest in such a case and it is time we took the power into our hands and saved more lives.

The judicial system also needs to act very fast in handing out justice to the drivers who out of carelessness have been the cause of death or serious injuries.By making sure that justice is meted out swiftly it will underline the seriousness with which road safety will be viewed in the country.

The Traffic department also needs to set its own targets by which road carnage should be curbed.There is no greater gratification for a human being than seeing their goals met.In this way we may see the traffic police enforce the existing laws and even some without resorting to bribe taking.

Signs,signs signs are everywhere on our highways but it is like our drivers either do not read them,do not know what they mean or simply choose to ignore them.By following the signs set out on our roads we may see a few more lives saved.

Finally road safety should be a concern for all Kenyans,let us reduce our speeds,never drive when drunk ,use designated crossing points for pedestrians,remember that even bicycles,motorbikes are valid road users and above all respect human life.