, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – When the name of the late Cabinet Minister John Michuki comes to mind, some people fondly remember him with a nostalgic sense of awe for the herculean force of will he often displayed when undertaking his duties, while others cringe with trepidation.
There were times when the political enigma would step on the toes of those who disagreed with him but both friend and foe alike agree that he has left a vacuum which will be difficult to fill.
The chairman of the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) Simon Kimutai recalled the conflicts he had with the former Transport Minister when he introduced strict rules in the sector but concedes he meant well for Kenyans.
“Human beings always resist change. Initially when the famous Michuki rules were introduced, we fought so hard not because we did not like the rules…, just the way they were presented to us. My fight with Michuki was ‘involve us so that we can own the process’,” he recalled. “Somehow, we were able to mend fences when we realised that he meant good for the industry so it was not anything personal.”
He urged Public Service Vehicle operators to observe the rules in memory of Michuki who passed away on Tuesday night at the Aga Khan University Hospital after a long illness.
He described Michuki’s death both as a shock and surprise saying it was a great blow to all Kenyans.
“At any moment I would like the matatu fraternity to take just one moment and remember him. We could have hated to love him but somehow, we saw what he meant and we will consult to see whether we can come up with something that will keep us remembering him,” he said. “The matatu fraternity should give Michuki respect by being compliant with the Michuki rules.”
He gave his condolences to Michuki’s family and encouraged them to forge ahead with the dynasty of the fallen leader.
“We want to tell the family members that we stand together during this time of grief and if there is anything we can do, we would like to be definitely involved.”
The chairman of the rival Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) Dickson Mbugua said Michuki’s death was unexpected and that he would be remembered for the transformative role he played in moulding the transport sector for the better.
He further described the late Cabinet Minister as a determined person who always completed the work he set himself to do despite the obstacles before him.
“A time will come for every person. Death is something we are assured of in life. We cannot be sure to get rich, we might not be able to do anything the next day but death is something which is sure to affect all of us at one time or the other,” he said.
He cited the Michuki rules as an example where the late minister stamped his authority to improve the transport sector.
“We were really impressed by honourable Michuki in the implementation of the ‘Michuki Rules’ where drivers were required to wear uniform and even display their badges and make sure that their vehicles were safety compliant,” he stated.
He pointed out that he succeeded in actualising what came to be known as the Integrated National Transport Policy during his stint in the transport docket.
“He came to actualise what we call the integrated national transport policy which had been elusive over years to the previous ministers. After the NARC government came into power and after he was appointed, that issue was the first that he dealt with,” he said.
The public also continued to pay tribute to the late Cabinet Minister.
“I would like to say sorry to the family and to tell them that they should take it easy. We love Michuki especially for what he did for the transport sector, he was a great man and if he had any wealth, his family should ensure that they take care of it,” one city resident said.
“We enjoy sitting in a matatu and not being squeezed like sacks. We have to remember his legacy especially his role in transforming the transport sector.”
Below is a sample of some of the condolences posted on our website at www.capitalfm.co.ke
“I found myself ideologically living in a different world to that of the late minister. But admittedly, had some admiration for his hands-on approach to stuff, his solid belief in what he stood for regardless of what others thought of it and his forthrightness. Definitely a public figure that should have stayed around for a while. Condolences to family and friends”
“We are mourning with the family of the late honourable Minister. May God give his family the strength to bear the loss.”
“RIP Hon Michuki…. you did your part …”
“RIP John Michuki. You were a hard working man and we appreciate your efforts in bringing sanity in the transport industry which disappeared after you left the ministry.”