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Research Paper on Matatus in Nairobi Kenya

When the ‘Mutates’ were introduced into the business, they faced harassments from the Nairobi city Authorities and the Kenya Bus Service, a ajar transport monopoly in Nairobi. It had to take a presidential intervention for the Mutate’ to break in the transport niche that was the domain of a multi national company working in collaboration with the civic authority. Following a visit by a group of businessmen to the late president jeez Com Kenya, the ‘Mutates’ received official recognition when a presidential decree was given in 1973 (Weekly Review, 18 December 1998).

The decree allowed the ‘Mutates’ to carry fare paying passengers without obtaining Transport Licensing Board (T LB) and Public Transport Service (SSP) Licensing. Unlike e train services, the ‘Mutate’ Industry is privately owned and run by individuals, with the down of liberalizing of the transport Industry in Kenya many individuals ventured to public transport which is currently a thriving business. A Mutate’ is assigned to almost every route within the city and these could be the normal Ionians 18 setter or the 5 setter minibus, which has designed in-built sound system to entertain passenger.

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The only bus company that operates with the Central Business District (CB) is the beleaguered Kenya Bus Service and its sister Company Metro Shuttle (ceased operations May 2005). Currently Shuttle like minibuses with a trade mark City Hoopla are now operating in the Central Business District covering almost all the routes. The ‘Mutate’ Industry’ has grown in importance to the extent that the owners formed an association Mutate Vehicle Owners Association (MOVE) to control the operations of the sector and also press for their demands. This association which was abolished in 1988 had national and branch officials.

A new entrant (operator) was expected to apply to the association to be allocated the route of operation. Jenny’s Gross Domestic product in (2003) was 12. Billion and it realized an annual growth rate (2006) of 4. 7%. The per capital income is 271 which is still lower than other 1 laundries in East Africa. The ‘Mutate’ Industry is one Industry, which has helped, in economic recovery in Kenya. The ‘Mutate’ has almost a 50% share of the modal split in Nairobi. Surveys of means of transport used show that the ‘Mutate’ is central in the movement of people and goods in rural and urban areas in Kenya (Sashays, 1 993, 1998; Omega et a’, 1994).

The ‘Mutate’ business is not just a business for the low- income and self employed workers. It is a big time business enterprise now involving the affluent in society: There ire reported cases of some individuals who own several ‘Mutate’ (Sashays 1997). There re also other businesses linked to the Mutate’ Industry, for example, insurance firms, vehicle body builders, vehicle assemblers, vehicle importers, garages, petrol stations, driving schools and commercial banks. The sector also employs drivers, conductors and stage workers.

This array of individuals, groups and institutions generates a number of conflicting interests that lead to an intense struggle for an economic niche ND sphere of control in he ‘Mutate’ sector. The ‘Mutate’ owners often complain of high operating costs, to meet these costs, they are forced to increase the fares. The ‘Mutate’ commuters eventually become the source of most of the money to satisfy the economic goals of owners and r stakeholders. In brief, there are a number of persons and institutions that share in the profits from the ‘Mutate’ Industry.

The channels through which they extract the profits are as varied as are the stakeholders themselves. Some channels are direct while others are indirect. Some are “legal’ while others are “illegal” . 2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM In an effort to eradicate poverty and stabilize the economy in Kenya, several employment avenues and Business avenues has to be employed. Unique feature in Jenny’s transport sector has been the rapid expansion of the ‘Mutate’, a small-scale means of transport. The ‘Mutate’ plays a significant role in the movement of people, goods and services in Kenya.

Gonad (1992) notes that since 1 973 when ‘Mutates’ were given a presidential decree to operate they have grown to compete and complement the public bus transport companies in towns and rural areas in medium and long assistance passenger transport The Mutate’ means of transport provides work indirectly and directly to institutions and individuals. Indirectly, it offers work to vehicle assemblers, insurance companies, garages and petrol stations. Directly, its offers work to drivers, conductors and state workers. Thus the ‘Mutate’ contribute to employment creation and income generation in Kenya in both direct and direct ways.

The basic concern of this study is to analyze economic recovery struggle in Kenya. This research is out to discover how the Mutate Industry can contribute positively to the windily economic situation in the country. . 3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY With the influx of migrants into Nairobi upon the attainment of independence in 1 963, the Mutate Industry has filled the vacuum left by the bus Industry. The Mutate Industry has increased in number and even in charges to form the initial “thirty cents” to as much as even Kiss. 400 and over far routes.

The Industry has proved to be one of the major employers and a major transport enterprise comprising of institutions and persons involved in transport services provision, repair, ownership, regulation, importation, licensing and driver training and a complete network of business legislations and linkages. This study was carried out with a view to analyze how the ‘Mutate’ Industry has contributed in recovering Jenny’s fragile economy despite operating on difficult circumstances with ups and downs at times veneering the gains of the Industry. . 4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The specific objectives of the study were to: – I. Find out the educational level of drivers ii. Establish the training received by the drivers iii. Find Out the working conditions Of the drivers: salary, medical benefits, allowances and day-offs iv. Establish the relationship that exists teens the drivers and their passengers v. Establish the relationship that exists between the drivers and the policemen vi. Establish the relationship that exists between the drivers and their employers (vehicle owners) vii.

Find out from the drivers in the study the major cause of road traffic accidents viii. Draw policy implications based on research findings to help improve driver performance and reduce road traffic accidents. 1. 5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS To achieve the objectives of the study. The following research questions were addressed: (I) What were the educational levels and training received by Mutate drivers? (ii) What were their salary levels and how were they determined? (iii) What other working benefits did the drivers have? (iv) What were the likely effects of the drivers working conditions on road traffic accidents? V) Did passengers in any way contribute to the accidents? (vi) Did the owners of SSP vehicles indirectly contribute to the accidents? (vii) Did the traffic police in anyway contribute to road accidents? 1. 6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES To strengthen the findings of the study, it was found necessary to test the following hypotheses: I. There exists a negative relationship between rate of dad traffic accidents per driver and driver experience. Ii. There exists no significant relationship been level of education of the driver and the rate of accidents per driver. Ii. There exists a positive relationship between number of hours worked and rate of accidents per driver. Iv. There exists a negative relationship between the salary of the drivers and the rate of accidents per driver. 1. 7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The significance of this study lied in the fact that limited data on the working conditions of Mutate drivers in the country existed. The findings from the study would: I. Provide the Mutate owners with important information regarding their contribution towards the accidents.

For instance, they keep on blaming their drivers without knowing that they, too, indirectly cause road traffic accidents. Ii- Benefit the government by showing the need to overhaul the training that one undergoes before becoming a driver. Iii. Give useful information to the passengers who are always in a hurry and do bother about the speed, at which they are traveling. Iv. Make the not government and all parties concerned see the need to make driving a profession and not a job that can be done by any one with a driving sciences including those with fake driving licenses. . Make it necessary to improve the working conditions of drivers with the hope of improving their driving and hence reduce road traffic accidents in the country. Secondly the study was of significance to the Mutate drivers in Kenya government to analyses the role of the Mutate Industry in economic recovery in the country. 1. 8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY The study was carried out simultaneously with class work therefore there was limited time, secondly the research was limited to the ‘Mutate’ drivers Industry which is one mode of transport in Kenya besides many others,

Obtaining data on salary earned by the drivers was not an easy task. Not all drivers may have given a true number of accidents they have caused in their driving career. The researcher did not have enough finances to move to all the routes and terminus’s where the ‘Mutates’ operate considering the costs involved. 1. 9 SCOPE OF THE STUDY The study focuses on the working conditions of Mutate’ drivers in ensuring economic growth in the Mutate Industry. The study was done between July and September. The study seeks to address how the Mutate Industry should be controlled and regulated. 1. DEFINITION OF SIGNIFICANCE TERMS Enterprises: An organization created for business ventures. Industry: Commercial production and sale of goods. Stakeholders: Are those who have an interest in a particular decision either individual al or group. Company: An institution to conduct business. Benefits: The amount payable in respect of a covered claim. Mutate: A Public Service Vehicle (SSP) used to transport. Passengers, it is a small-scale public means of transport in Kenya. Experience: The number of years the drivers in the study had been driving. Level of education: Number of years spent in school by the drivers.

Pressure from work: Stress exerted on to the driver from their employers, passengers, resulting from long hours of traffic policemen and general fatigue driving. Working conditions: Referred to terms of service, which include salary scale, house schedule and allowance, leave, medical care, pension, promotion maternity leave. Job satisfaction: A qualitative and quantitative assessment by the employee of the working extent, to which his needs, especially in relation to conditions are being met by the employer Job mobility: The change from one job to another either vertically or rationally over a period of time 1. 1 ABBREVIATIONS OF TERMS MOVE Mutate Vehicle Owners Associations KBPS Kenya Bus Services SSP Public Service Transport CD central Business District GO Government of Kenya COOT Central Organization of Trade Union CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW 2. 0 INTRODUCTION 2. 1 THEORETICAL LITERATURE REVIEW According to Hake, (1977, P. 24) one of the earliest problems that Nairobi faced during this period was that of traffic. It has been argued that in 1 928 Nairobi was in fact the most motor-ridden urban centre in the world in proportion to its non-African population (Daddy, 1990).

Parking and speeding became major problems that were often discussed by the authorities. From 1 929 a programmer to tarmac all roads in the CB was carried out. The relatively large numbers of cars contributed to the thinning out of the western side of Nairobi, which by 1 962 had a population density as low as 6. 1 people per acre, compared with the African residential zone in the east with 125. 9 people per acre during the same period. Meanwhile, a public bus service was inaugurated following an agreement with United Transport International (Audio, 1990).

The result of this agreement was the establishment of the Kenya Bus Service (KBPS), which was given the exclusive franchise of carrying fare-paying passengers in and around Nairobi. During this time the demand for public transport was low, consisting mainly of European and Asian expatriates and a growing number of African workers. Transport in Nairobi can be split into five components: private vehicles, buses Mutates, commuter trains, and taxis. Private vehicles are almost exclusively reserved for the middle- and upper-income groups because of the high cost of purchase and maintenance.

The KBPS, which has over 300 buses, operates mutter transportation mainly oriented towards the eastern part of Nairobi where low-income people live. Although the fares are quite low they are still high for the majority of residents. It was hoped that the Anyway Bus Services launched by the K in 1 986 would ease the commuter problem in the city, but 90 per cent of its buses are not functioning owing to gross mismanagement and lack of spare parts. The Mutate is an African invention.

Originally private taxis, they offer regular services with better frequencies than the bus service, thus providing a relatively quick means of transportation o the CB and increasing the accessibility Of many Of the outlying areas (Audio, 1990; Bobbed, Bibb, up. 91-109). Recently, commuter trains were introduced by the Kenya Railway to help ease transportation to the sub-rubs and this service has been well received despite the high fares (Audio, 1990; Bobbed Bibb, up. 91-109). Taxis have little impact on the mass transportation systems in Nairobi, because they have primarily geared themselves to tourists (Needed, 1995).

Despite all these urban transportation systems, the majority of trips are still undertaken using non-motorized forms of transport, even over long distances. The inherited transport patterns, together with the additional travel generated mainly by an increased population, exerted demands on the urban form and its infrastructure that they were ill equipped to meet. A major problem here has been the centralization Of the civil service, commerce, and other service activities in the CB and industrial area, where it is estimated that over 75 per cent of commuters are employed.

Much of the employment in wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels, transport and communications, finance, insurance, real estate, and business services is coated within the CB. The CB has for a long time been subjected to numerous traffic problems, which are exacerbated by a lack of space in its vicinity. The post-independence period also witnessed a relaxation (not by design) of traffic regulations, parking restrictions, and land-use control. Hence within a few years after independence much of the formal land- use urban pattern of the original settlement structure was eroded.

Since 1 970, the city has expanded tremendously and a new population distribution pattern has emerged. Even more important is the fact that a large percentage of low-income users f public transport now live further away from the CB. Expansion of the city to the east, south, and north has not been matched by an expansion in transport facilities and services. The annual rate of growth of daily passenger journeys is currently estimated to be almost 6 per cent.

A clear manifestation of the unmet demand for public transport services are the daily stampede and jostling at most of the city transport terminals, especially during the rush hours, and the overflowing number of passengers transported by the existing modes of public transport. Nairobi transportation problems are due o neglect of maintenance, inadequate investment, poor management of traffic systems, breakdown of road discipline, and failure to develop an adequate policy and planning framework. The Mutate mode of public transport has, since its official recognition in 1973, grown in importance.

It competes with the public bus transport companies into only within towns, but also in medium-and long-distance passenger transport in Kenya the short- distance passenger traffic throughout Kenya is dominated by the Mutate operator services (Gonad 1992). A major empirical and conceptual gap in existing studies on the Mutate Industry in Kenya is that the strong and contending socio-economic interests have been inadequately addressed. Major research themes on the Mutate sector in Kenya have been on : Origin, growth and legal status (Audio 1990; Capital et al. 1982; Manchuria et al. 994; efficiency and quality of service (Audio 1 990); employment (Capital et al. 1982); role in secularism (shorter and Anaconda 1 997); contributing to road traffic injuries (Mummy 2001 ; Sashays 1999); conditions of work ( Mummy 2001; Sashays 1 997; and risk faced by school girls using Mutates (Cache, Rhombi and Limbo 1994). The following questions have been inadequately answered: what are the underlying economic and social forces in the Mutate Industry? How is the formal policy, regulatory and institutional framework, internalized in the Mutate Industry?

What rules, norms and organization guide the operations of the Mutate Industry? This article presents results of a field research on the Mutate Industry in Kenya. 22. 1 Evolution of Stakeholders in the Mutate Industry The evolution of stakeholders in the Mutate Industry is examined as three periods: 1 sass – 1973, 1973 – 1978, 1979 – present. The starting date in each period corresponds to a major turning point in the history of the sector. Of course, further and different peregrination is possible but the three periods have been used to provide a framework to regulation of the Mutate Industry. 2. Empirical Literature Review Rules anti Institutions Framework which Guide the Mutate Industry There are institutions that the Mutate Industry would ideally fall under for such roles as handling labor-related matters, road, safety and welfare of workers. These institutions include: the Ministry of Labor and Manpower Development, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Local Government, the National Hospital Insurances Fund, the National Social Security Fund, the Industrial Court of Kenya, the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COOT), Transport and Allied workers Union and the informal Mutate associations (Sashays 1997).

There is also legal provision that would ideally apply to the Mutate Industry’, for example, the Employment Act (Laws of Kenya, Chapter 229), Traffic Act (Laws of Kenya, Chapter 403) and Transport Licensing Act (Laws of Kenya, Chapter 404). It can therefore be seen that the basic legal and policy framework that can roved guidelines for the regulations and control of the Mutate exists. In Kenya, the informal sector operates under different rules from the formal sector. These rules are in a way just as ‘formal ‘as the formal rules.

In the Mutate Industry, the problem is that even the rules for the informal sector are not kept and enforced. This is discussed further in the next sub-section. There is zealous control of stages and routes. It is not easy for any Mutate to just pick up and drop passengers any. Veer along the route. In fact, there is no such thing as a free pick and drop of passengers. The routes and zones of operations are zealously guarded, sometimes degenerating into fights when there is perceived to be infringement (Siring 2001 ). These fights lead to loss of life and harassment of the general public, including being robbed and stoned.

This resembles the situation that has been founding the taxi Industry {equivalency of Mutate) in South Africa (Xhosa 1993). The recent activities of the Mugging group, Taliban and Sesames gangs, who tried to tried control of certain Mutate routes and stages in the city of Nairobi forcefully, attest to the great rivalry and competition prevalent in the Mutate Industry (Muriel 2006; Mutate Whispers 2006). The ensuring mayhem resembles mafia-like behavior (Mathieu 1 999; Multi 1998; Opal 1998). It is important to appreciate the contending forces that are leading to the chaotic and mafia like situation.

According to (Monde 2001) another growing threat in the Mutate Industry, especially in the city of Nairobi, is that armed gangsters disguise themselves as passengers and board the vehicles. Along the way, the gangsters rob passengers and/or hijack Mutates for use in robbery and criminal activities. The problem of armed gangsters is not limited to the Mutates. There is mineral insecurity in the city of Nairobi and these trickles down to the Mutates. The political, social and economic struggles prevailing in the Mutate Industry are not limited to Kenya.

De Soot (1989) has provided and incisive examination of the rise, challenges and struggle for survival and control of the informal sector in Lima, Peru. Xhosa (1 993, 1995) has found out that such struggles exist in the small-? scale transport and general transport system in South Africa. Servers (2000) documents rivalry and struggles in the informal transport sector in a number of developing countries. Fourscore et al. 1994) have also reported such struggles in Ghana. Howe et al. (2001) also report that there is intense rivalry in the taxi (Mutate) Industry in Uganda.

Therefore, it can be concluded that, as is the case in other developing countries, the future of the Mutate Industry in Kenya was affected as long as the business continues to straddle the economic, social and political spheres. The formal organization of the Mutate Industry attracted the attention of both the government and political opposition groups. The opposition groups saw this association as an important ally to advance political motives. This is why the association, while being disbanded, was accused by the government of providing a venue for political activism and desalination.

The association was also accused of having been penetrated by rich individuals who were oppressing the weak members by, for example, assigning them to routes that had very few passengers. Following the disbanding of the umbrella Mutate association, individual operations were allowed by the Government of Kenya to operate on any route. The interest in getting the support of Mutate operators by politicians did not end with the disbanding of the national Mutate association. As Kenya entered the period of agitation for multipart and political reforms, the support of Mutate operations was sought for.

During the pro- democracy agitation and demonstrations in 1 990, Mutate operations played a cataloging and facilitative role. For example, the Mutate drivers were among the fist to greet each other using a two – finder salute. This salute symbolized that time was ripe for TV or more parties and not just one political party as was the case then. The Mutate operators were also instrumental in disseminating political propaganda (written and through songs) to the traveling population. Whenever a demonstration would be called for by political activists, Mutate operators would join, paralyzing the transport system in the country.

They would do this despite a stern warning from the government that those who would join would have their SSP licenses withdrawn (recollections by the author). One does not also fail to see queues of Mutates escorting candidates of their choice during presentation of nomination papers in general elections After the umbrella Mutate association was disbanded, the Mutate stages and rank were for a time manned by the youth wingers of the then one single artsy (Kenya African National Union – KANJI_J) in Kenya up to 1 991.

Presently, the organizational framework is largely based on route-based Mutate associations that demand goodwill form new entrants. There is a proliferation of such associations. Route-based associations keep on springing up, either as new ones or as breakaways from old ones. Stage and route Mutate workers have also organized themselves into ‘labor” groups (Sashays 1997). These workers are constantly seen engaged in struggles over vehicles and passengers. I should point out that the existence of route-based associations would not make the reader think that the sector is disorganized.

When a need arises, such as to challenge an unfavorable legislation, Mutate operators get united and work together as a solidarity group. At the national level, there is now a group calling itself Mutate Welfare Association. Since the entry of the Mutate mode in public passenger transport in the asses, the sector has grown both in the volume of activity conducted and importance. In some Of the rural areas in Kenya, the Mutate is the main and sometimes the only motorized means of transport available to facilitate event of people and goods.


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