Who can Kenya’s law enforcers depend on to arrest matatu crews who decide an early drink before they start work helps them do a wonderful job?
Not Alcoblow, the gadget one blows into for police to test the level of alcohol in the system. Neither is it the random roadside checks or operations and crackdowns.
As drivers and conductors on the Wangige route found out on Wednesday, their colleagues would be quite willing to have them punished for preparing for work by stopping at their local to literally have ‘one for the road.’
“It is locally known as ‘kuruta loko’ and it is the cause of a lot of trouble on this route,” said Mr David Gachuruba, chairman of the drivers and conductors’ association on the Wangige route.
‘Kuruta loko’ is Kikuyu for ‘unlock yourself’ and matatu crews on the route had figured having a mug of beer or a small bottle of spirits would help them beat the drizzle and improve vision on the foggy road.
It helps that the mug can be bought at Sh20 while the cheap spirit can be sold in half-bottle units for as little as Sh25.
On Tuesday evening, two vehicles were involved in a minor accident at King’eero, a few kilometres from Wangige Shopping Centre.
Villagers and other Good Samaritans rushed to the accident scene and immediately placed twigs on the road to warn other motorists to keep clear as rescue efforts got under way.
A man used his motorcycle to illuminate the scene as others put twigs on the road, a common indicator used to warn of an incident on the road.
Neither the twigs at the scene nor the large crowd could prevent the crash that followed when a matatu ploughed into the crowd, killing the motorcyclist.
The driver in the matatu was drunk and after making a few incoherent remarks, he disappeared, according to Mr Gachuruba.