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App taxi drivers decry burnout



Three accidents, three different Sundays, all nearly at the same time — in the wee hours. This is the story of a bizarre trend of dawn accidents involving taxis in Nairobi during the weekends.

Last Sunday, a white Nissan Note was going down the hill from Rosslyn Riviera towards Ruaka in Kiambu when the driver lost control, before hitting a power pole so hard that it almost crashed the vehicle.

On the previous Sunday, a white Honda Fit swerved in a bid to avoid hitting another car in front but ended up on the other lane of Langata Road, where it rammed into an oncoming matatu.

And on the weekend before, a Mazda Demio rammed onto the guard rails of Thika Road just before Githurai 45 and badly injured the driver and his two passengers. All the three vehicles, it has been confirmed, were taxis.

Weekends in Nairobi are typically hectic and most taxis make a killing on the two nights between Friday and Sunday. With tough enforcement of drunk-driving rules.

What they never know is that the person taking them home probably hasn’t slept for over 20 hours and they have just opted from one kind of danger to another. Why? Poor working conditions, with taxi drivers decrying fatigue.

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“The pressure to attain targets set by car owners is too high because if you don’t bring in the kind of money they demand, the next week you will be out of a job,” says Joseph Githinji.

“Taxi-hailing app companies and car owners are the ones making money, let no one lie to you. We have complained, gone on strike severally but no one seems to care,” he says.

A saturation of the taxi-hailing apps has led to increased competition and drivers have to do all they can to make money for themselves and their employers. It is now common for taxi firms to set daily targets for their drivers, similar to the model the matatu industry uses.

Ideally, the car owner and app company are supposed to split revenue based on a set percentage. Uber, for example, takes 25 per cent of what the taxi makes. However, according to most drivers, car owners demand a fixed Sh2,000 per day.

The driver is then free to take the rest but also pay the taxi-hailing apps their share and fuel the car.

It looks easy. But when you factor in that a majority of drivers barely make five trips on a bad day and each trip can rake in as little as Sh400 for a seven-kilometer journey from the CBD to the Junction Mall on Ngong Road traffic, the situation understandably becomes dire.

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“Client charges have kept on reducing as more apps enter the market but commissions to the taxi firms have remained the same. That is where the problem is,” says Kenya Digital Taxi Services Director David Muteru.

The Kenya Digital Taxi Services has for the last two years acted as a lobby group for the drivers. It has however been unable to get the traction and influence that, say, the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) has.

A memorandum of understanding signed last year between the taxi app companies, drivers and the government that was supposed to improve working conditions is still gathering dust at the Ministry of Transport.

Now on their own, drivers have resorted to working day and night in order to survive.

Others have devised methods of defrauding clients. Some accept ride requests when they know they are not willing to. The client after waiting for long cancels the request at their own cost if they are using particular apps.

Other drivers do not register the payment made by the client on the app at the end of the ride. Passengers only get to know that their payment was not effected on the app the next time they want to hail a taxi only to be meet a “complete payment for previous ride,” message.

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source:Daily nation

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Keeping our family coffee business picking



When 41 -year-old Gitau Waweru Karanja was a boy, he recalls spending his school holidays in his grandfather’s coffee farm with his cousins. His late grandmother would push them to pick berries to earn pocket money. Though he took up his parents’ passion in interior design and studied Interior Design in Kwa Zulu Natal University in South Africa, he did he know that one day he would wake up and smell the coffee and participate in running his grandfather’s coffee farm.

Gitau is the third generation of his family to manage Karunguru Farm, which belonged to his late grandfather Geoffrey Kareithi. Kareithi had bought the 300-acre farm in Ruiru, from a white settler in 1972. Gitau is married to Wangeci Gitau who grew up in Maragwa, in Murang’a where they also had a coffee farm.

Values instilled

For Wangeci, despite growing up in the coffee fields, she was more passionate about tourism and was a travel consultant before becoming a tour manager at a local company.

In 2012, she got an ectopic pregnancy, which put her on bed rest and thus was compelled to quit her job. When she recovered, she began assisting her husband. “By that time, my husband was selling modern house doors, but the business took a while to pick. Then we began selling milk from Karunguru Farm, but the milk production went down in 2016. The management, comprising of family members, told us to address the issue by becoming dairy managers. But when we joined the management of Karunguru Farm, we saw an opportunity in coffee tours,” she says.

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Taking cue from South Africa where they do wine tourism and also export wine, Gitau and his wife sought to use that knowledge in their coffee farm. “We started Karunguru Coffee and Tours after we found out that despite it being our main export, it was being underutilised when it comes to tourism. So, here we take visitors through the journey that coffee has to go through before getting to your cup,” explains Gitau. Everything is done in Karunguru Farm— including value addition such as processing coffee, drying and even roasting. “We have our very own packaged Karunguru Coffee, which is available in the market,” he adds.

Their late grandfather instilled in them a love for each other and every holiday it is the family culture to meet and bond as a family. The grandpa also ensured that the farm management is shared amongst all his seven children who meet every week to discuss the business of the farm. Once they come to an unanimous decision, it is then passed on to their children, who implements their decision.

Before one is given any role, you have _ . to be qualified for the position. “It’s not about being favoured, but your qualification. I am in tourism, so I handle the tourism aspect, my husband is in operations. In fact, one applies for the position and then you are interviewed. If you qualify, you are placed on probation until the management is satisfied that you can handle the role well,” says Wangeci.

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No entitlement

What makes family business go down is the fact that people who are less qualified are employed. Other people have to cover up for their messes and this creates bitterness and conflict. Gitau sometimes watches his nephews and nieces in the farm, giving them roles to check out whether they have interest in the farm or not before beginning to mentor them. Everyone begins from the lowest level and must know how to roast, pack, as well as prepare a cup of Karunguru coffee. This is to en inculcate the spirit of appreciation and value for the workers employed to do the role.

“My uncles always tell us that we didn’t come in the business because we are their children, but because of the passion we had in the business. With that, entitlement is killed and we ensure that we do our best to take the farm to higher levels,” says Gitau

They don’t entertain gossip,  ‘‘ but if someone has an issue, I then the person is invited ‘ to a meeting where one is confronted and told in love where they have missed the mark.


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VIDEO: Inspiring Journey Taking Shape at Kiambu’s Top Gated Community



Amani Ridge the Place of Peace was extremely busy today as the Engineers set their focus on achieving the very best in preparing the roads to murrum standard, ready for cabro when time comes.

The following activities will follow:

1. Storm water drainage

2. Piping water along the main lines (those building will only need to pay for water meter)

3. Underground power will follow

4. Installation of solar street lights will be the next step

5. After this, planting of 2, 000 trees will follow along all the roads in the estate

6. The sewerage systems will be replaced by Water recycling technology as initially promised

We are committed to #GoingGreen

Become part of the Amani Ridge family today


Call: 0790 300 300 | 0723 400 500


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Big Smiles on the way for Garden of Joy Owners



A big announcement concerning the Garden of Joy gated community is set to be made this coming Friday, 23rd October 2020.

The planned announcement will be a cause of great joy for clients who have already made a decision to make the Garden of Joy their joyous home.

Those joining the success train later, will pay slightly higher for this property. We call it the ‘waiting-to-see-expense.’

If you are reading this message, go ahead and call your relationship advisor today to save the waiting cost and to become part of the joyous brigade.

Check us on FB Live on the 23rd October at 4PM as we unveil the greatest news at the Garden of Joy.

Secure your jewel today
Call us on: 0790300300 | 0723400500

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