Monday, December 1, 2008

Civility: The way we drive

Kuendesha gari Bongo needs an extremely high level of patience and indulgence. Watu wanaoishi Mbezi Beach au Kimara nina uhakika wanatumia masaa zaidi ya manne barabarani kila siku...and this is not entirely about narrow roads or lack of ring-roads, it is about the way we drive.

And, yes, the way we drive says a lot about us – as individuals and as a society. Everyone I know is complaining that roads in Bongo are getting less civil. It takes a lot of effort for me to calm myself down and stay on my lane…wakati kila mtu anataka kupita the opposite lane, or kwenye sidewalk, ili kuwahi, na gari za hiyo opposite lane hiyo zinapokuja kutoka mbele kila mtu anataka kukuchomekea, tena bila hata ya kuomba. Hata yule unayemruhusu aingie kwenye line…anaingia bila hata ku-acknowledge....anaona kaingia kwa ujanja wake.

Kasheshe nyingine za jam zinatokea kwenye makutano ya barabara au roundabout. Kila dereva anataka aende yeye kwanza...matokeo ni logjam. Kwanini hakuna courtesy au patience tunapofika kwenye maeneo haya?

Vilevile, increasingly watu wanaona kutumia indicator kuashiria ni optional. Mko speed kwenye barabara, ghafla mtu anapunguza mwendo na anakata kona! Na wewe nyuma unapiga breki za upesi kuzuia kumvaa. I can understand that may be people are distracted in the car – using mobile phone or chatting up or listening to music. Lakini may be we are increasingly becoming a narcissistic society….kwamba everybody barabarani think the road belong to him, and being in the car absolves him from any obligation to other drivers and to society.

Another thing ni kupiga honi. We really like to honk in Bongo. Unaweza ukawa umesimama kwenye traffic light, labda uko mtu wa tano from the first car on the light. As the light turns green, wakati yule wa kwanza ameshaiona na anaanza kuondoka, mtu wa nyuma yako (wa sita) anakupigia honi, wa saba, wa nane nyuma nao wanapiga honi. I cannot understand. 

Vilevile, hapa Bongo mtu akiwa anaendesha gari, halafu watu wamekusanyika pembeni kuna ugomvi au kuna mwizi or something, lazima kila mtu atapunguza mwendo almost kutaka kusimama – hii inapunguza sana flow ya traffic.

Daladala nazo, ndio haina hata haja ya kusema. Siku hizi tuna Bajaj, na mtu wa Bajaj akishika lane haachii, anajaa katikati….unless…unapiga honi!

This one time I took a taxi, and we were rushing somewhere, so my taxi driver kept on insulting and shouting at other drivers (as idiots, fags, and other profanities) wakati yeye mwenyewe alikuwa anaendesha kwa fujo. Roads seem like battlefields now…kwamba you get into the car unajiandaa for a rough world out there. Hamna civility. What about ile idea kwamba Wabongo ni watu wastaarabu? What if you are with kids kwenye gari? 

Of course there are pitfalls in judging a society on the basis of driving habits of the few...but since these few are the most powerful in the society, it is critical we examine their sense of "community" (i.e. the community of road users)

15 comments:

imani said...

Nadhani tatizo la barabara za Bongo sio madereva. Tatizo na kutowajibika kwa wanaohusika kuhakikisha utaratibu wa uendeshaji magari. Barabara hazina hata alama za kuelekeza dereva nani ana kipaumbele kupita!!! Sasa dereva wataamua vipi nani atangulie iwapo magari ni mengi,matokeo yake ndio vurugu tele. Hata New York ingekuwa barabara zimewekwa tu bila kuweka alama za barabarani na kuweka askari wa kusimamia ufuataji wa taratibu njia zingekuwa na fujo tena zaidi ya zilizopo Bongo.Watanzania ni wastaarabu, ila ili ustaarabu uweze kutekelezeka ni muhimu kuwepo na mazingira yanayoruhusu hilo, hivyo basi watu wa jiji na usalama wa barabani wawekeeni watanzania mazingira ya kuishi kistaarabu.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that, we don't know HOW TO DRIVE, but rather we just happen to hump on a car driving seat. But January this is much BIGGER problem ! I tend to disagree with your assessment that there is no lack of roads, there is also no proper road markings and signs in Dar(Kariakoo karibu na mataa, why not having mataa everywhere lol), I am serious you can count mataa(traffic lights) in Dar. MATAA are good keep your driving discipline in CHECK. Dar road infrastructure is in pretty bad shape, We need more roads, and not just few.

Another reason, is that we should blame WAPANGA JIJI, they are responsible of predicting the future, it is their job isn't it. Planning for more routes, better roads, and so on. It cannot be same road from 60s to todays. Now adays more people own the car than the previous generations, so adding additional cars time and time again on the same make up, is the recipe for disaster, therefore breeding this culture of DRIVING CRAZY!

I would not stretch it in saying we are not civil, it is just happen that, we are creating a culture of bad driving manner, I know I live in Western country, which is pretty much its people are very civil and organised when driving, but HEY when I get off that plane in Dar, I need to adapt very quickly or I wont get anywhere. It is simple as that!.

Ni kama hivi mji kaupanga mkoloni, ni mji huo huo tunaondoka nao 21st Century, same hospital same location, same market same location, banks, post office and etc. People need to use these facilities more often. When you look at it deeply, you will see that it is much bigger problem than you would have imagine. and I would not want to discuss on this post.

Immediate solutions:-
1. imposse special tax tariff's for motorists driving in Dar City Centres,
3. Imposse heavy penalties for those who break the rules of the road, using point systems like in UK.
4. Impose computerized driving test for new drivers, therefore opening test centers in the city, and other s will follow, therefore learning special rules of the road books/CDs/DVDs, before becoming a motorist. In matter of fact government would create money by charging fees, selling books and learning tools such as CDs/DVDs.
2. Encourage more use of public transport, ie. Mini buses, provide tax incentives for those who bring double deckers buses and mini buses carrying more than 40+ people, that intself will lower the fees, therefore encouraging more people to use these public transports instead.
3. Creating special bus corridors, one by one, expanding the road we now have to form BUS LANES.
4. Many more can be listed..

I understand it is hard to sell, but DURABLE and adaptable in time, but again if we FEEL reluctant and not stand up to it, the problem will get worser in time. IMAGINE 20 years down the line, The CITY come to stand still, THEN we will do something about it.

By Mchangiaji

January Makamba said...

Imani, nakubaliana kwa kiasi na unachosema - kwamba kuna upungufu wa alama za barabarani, nk. Hata hivyo, tungeweza kupunguza tatizo kama kungekuwa na ustaarabu kidogo barabarani. Kwa mfano, kuchomekea na kwenyewe kunahitaji kuwa na alama ya kukataza? Je, hakuna dereva ambaye hajui kwamba huwezi kuendesha opposite lane (hiyo nayo inahitaji alama?). Je, ni lazima kupiga honi wakati wote? Je, mtu anapokuwa amekosea barabara ni lazima utoe kichwa dirishani na kumtupia maneno machafu?

Of course Wabongo ni wastaarabu na watu wakarimu...labda baadhi ya madereva ndio wanaharibu hii sifa.

January Makamba said...

Mchangiaji,

I am sorry I did not see your comments before I published mine. I am grateful that you went beyond and offered solutions. Yes, if some of the things you listed are not done NOW, you are correct: the City will come to a stand-still. May be they will need to give special permits to drive.

Lina said...

I still think there is an element of u-mimi, na ubabe, na hatuna patience. And this is rubbing off to the new generation of drivers. Recently asubuhi kwenye foleni mtu alikuja kutoka no where akanichomekea, I was so angry and told them it wouldnt hurt if they were a litle more wastaarabu, even if u are in a rush, ask. Their response was "kila mtu anafanya hivi in Dar, so it should be okay".
I can write a whole book of incidences on the road just from driving between home to work everyday.

On top of the possible solutions, we can be the examples, let us try to be kidogo courteous

kevin said...

Nawaunga mkono wale wote mliosema,kuwa tatizo la bongo ni system mzima ya usalama barabaral imekufa! kuanzia alama za barabarani,watendaji wakuu wa kuhakikisha kuwa madereva wanafuata taratibu(traffic,wote hawajui wajibu wao au wameamua kutokuwajibika,coz siono kama wana msaada wowote katika suala nzima la usalama barabarani,kwa sasa nipe nje ya nchi kila nikipita barabarani na kuonajinsi wenzetu wanavotii sheria za barabarani,huwa naikumbuka bongo yetu na kusema sijui lini tutawafikia wenzetu katika suala hilo,ukiachilia mbali masuala mengine ya kimaendeleo,sisi bado tunawaza mambo ya reckless driving wenzetu wanawaza mambo mengine,yaani huwa nasikitika sana,lets join hands mybe things will be better!

Anonymous said...

Tatizo ni kukimbilia wasomi waliosoma Russia miaka ya sabini na themanini na kuwapa vyeo. Huku ukiunganisha wasomi waliomaliza chuo kikuu engineering dept na chuo kikuu cha ardhi na cha usafirishaji na kuwapa madaraka ya kutunga policy. Hawa watu hawana upeo wa nje au upeo wa miaka ishirini mbele. Wao hukalia meza na kutunga sheria za hapo kwa papo ilimradi siku iende. Kila kitu ni fedha hakuna na mimi ndio bora. Ukiunganisha na watu wa wizara ya infrastructure basi unapata uozo maradufu.
Watu huchukua advatage wanayoiona au kuipata. Polisi traffic na wananchi wamechukua hiyo loop-hole na kuitumia kikamilifu. sasa tunasema wao ndo wana makosa. Wenye kulaumiwa ni watu wanaocha kazi zao na kuacha wengine wawafanyie.Watu kama wasomi wa usafirishaji, miundo mbinu, ardhi, na uhandisi kwa ujumla.
Wekeni mikakati amabyo hata muhusika anaona aibu au anaogopa kuiharibu. Tanzania tatizo sio barababara hazitoshi eti kwa kuwa gari ziko nyingi, tatizo ni wananchi na ma-traffic wamejichukulia madaraka na kujiamulia mambo yao watakavyo.

Anonymous said...

i think we are'll grown up drivers, na ustaarabu ni bure, we need to think about ourself so as others' life, wananchi tunajua kabisa anything bad(ajali)can happen,and people can get killed for that, kama vile kuchomekeana au ukidrive kwenye lane that you were not suppose to, but we still do it, na ni kwasababu ( january)hakuna sheria za barabarani ambazo zinaweza kutubana, zingekuwepo sidhani kama watu wangechomekeana na vibao vingekuwepo watu wasinge enda against them ( i dont know may be i'm wrong)but i agree with anonymous, we really need to know sheria za barabara before we get our drivers licence,we need trafic lights between major junctions,vibao vya barabarani(stop sign etc),we need to be responsible for our own actions,you break the law you get a ticket pay for it and that money will saidia kujenga more roads and gets more lights as well as road signs insted of giving trafic rushwa we need a to get a ticket so we will know where our money goes. huu siyo muda wa kulaumiana nani kachukua madaraka gani au kasomea wapi , we just need to remind them to go back to work, and fight this "Janga"

Anonymous said...

Am Doctor Confusion knocking to your blog,

You have touched things which are utterly disgusting me, conceivably, all these characters are fuelled by culture! I think you are aware that when we define culture we mean the way people behave daily.Siku zote nashindwa kabisa kufahamu akilini kwa nini mtu anapenda kupiga honi,mimi binafsi naweza kukaa hata mwezi sijagusa honi kwani hainigharimu chochote kuvumilia muda kidogo kama mtu kukatisha ,upigaji honi kwa kweli ni tabia inayonikera sana, vilevile tunaposhindwa kuwapa kipaumbele wenda kwa miguu hata kwenye Zebra Cross!It is very appalling, yet we proud ourselves that we are civilized !In which context?

La pili ningependa kuongelea la kuwabeza baadhi wataalam wa nchini hili nalo linaonyesha ufinyu wa kufikiri!Probably we lack critical thinking skills!

Hebu fikiria Daraja la Manzese limeweka kwa gharama kubwa sana, lakini kutokana na Cultural problems ya kutojali wala kuheshimu taratibu na kanuni, watu hawataki kulitumia na vifo vinaongezeka kwa rasilimali watu kugongwa. Je ni tatizo la miundo mbinu ama watu,Vilevile culture yetu ya kupenda urahisi na shortcut Vibaka ndiyo wanafanya mahema ya kuvunia na kuibia watu wanaotumia njia hiyo.
Dr Confusion

Anonymous said...

I think there is something in our blood. To some extent i believe we're washamba or we do not care about the whole safety issue.

I think either wanaoplan jiji la Dar es Salaam hawanavigezo vya kuwa ma city planner au wanafanya makusudi.

Siwezi kuwalaamu madereva wa Tanzania sababu majority hawana exposure ya nchi nyingine zilivyo plan swala zima la kuendesha magari and public safety.

Mara ya kwanza nilipofika North America nilikuwa surprise kuona watu wanasimama mahala palipokuwa na STOP SIGN. Mahala hapa hakuna police lakini watu wanaheshimu sheria.

Kingine i think weak law kuhusu public safety, and too much corruption zote hizi zinachangia.

Other than that, kuna Watanzania ambao ni ma city planner wa miji mikubwa duniani. Mfano, the city of Houston in Texas kuna baadhi ya watanzania wanafanya kama city developer. I think kama tungekuwa na database ambayo ina track watanzania walio nje na qualifications zao, then tungepunguza kwa asilimia kubwa sana matatizo ya watendaji wasio na vigezo.

I think we need a strong Depertmant of Puplic Safety and Transportation. I believe such a depertment will focus on eyeball problem. It will provides seminar and offer course to driver. Also, it will impose strong laws and regulations.

Rash said...

I think tatizo ni bureaucracy and poor management system. The way Tanzanian conduct business doesn't make sense at all.

We have problem from Bandarini to everywhere. It's very sad, i hope our generation will change the way of doing business in Tanzania.

We can't solve the problem, while corruption is on the roof and no one seems to care. We can't solve problem while wazee believe their way is the best, and changes is not an option. We can't solve problem while UDSM professor are still stuck in Madevo age ideas.

We need a revolution of ideas in Tanzania. Our generation needs every Tanzanian professional to cordinate and bring change to our country.

Poor infrastructure kills many many people everyday in Tanzania. I wounder why no one talks about vifo vinavyosababishwa na ajali za barabarani and what can be done to reduce the death records. Juzi Juzi Sekenke imeuwa more than 20 peole, does any one know how many people died on that mountain for the past 20 years? Kuna any offical took some procidure to reduce the death rate? If so, what are the results? Is any one cares?

We do have depertment of statistics, lakini hatuna data zinazo onyesha ni jinsi gani barabara zilizo karabatiwa zimeweza kupunguza ajali. What is the role of this depertmant anyway? Kula pesa za sensa kila 10 years?

How about central intelligence unit? Are they working hard to find the solution of 21st century problem? If so then i think usalama barabarani should be on top of their list. Hili tatizo linatishia uchumi wa Tanzania, lakini i think kutokana na lack ideas then no one seems to care.

We're in chicken egg dilemma, we don't know what kills us. Swali kwako bwana January sababu uko Tanzania, jee insiders wanaona the way hili tatizo lilivyo connect na kila sector ndani ya Tanzania. Kuanzia Uchumi mpaka Usalama wa nchi?

THE QUESTION IS HOW WE WILL CHANGE THE WAY TANZANIA DO BUSINESS? I think kila kijana ana haki ya kufikiria his role, i think we need insparation figure like Mwalim who will inspire people.

Anonymous said...

January,

I just want to congratulate you on your(new?) blog. I'm a politics junkie, so It'll be great to share different opinions especially on politics with my fellow Tanzanians. I followed the USA's elections, but didn't really have anybody to discuss what was going on and may be get some diff. ideas about the election.

It'll be great to share diff ideas with smart people.

alex said...

january,
kwa kuongezea alichoandika imani nina point mbili tu:
1.tunahitaji kuziacha taa zikafanya kazi zake,na pia tuzi-manage vizuri. wakati huu ni wa kutumia teknologia kuboresha shughuli zetu.
2.tuhitaji kuweka fly overs kwenye intersections,if you may.hizi zitasaidia kupunguza muda wa magari yanayoenda moja kwa moja kusubiri mengine yapite.
nawasilisha.
alex.

salama said...

@Rash, I'd love to start with wow!

What a brilliant comment you made. Especially when it comes to intelligence. Really, come on people, what is the intelligence unit doing? they see all this chaos on the road, innocent people dying for non-exist reasons, then...wananyamaza tu!, If this is not part of their job, to investigate these kind of disasters then, what's the future and safety of our country?

Rash, don't get me wrong, I'm not fuming on you, I'm just trying to add to your very smart comment. I think one of the foremost and important issue in development of the country is safety of the people. I mean how can you tackle day to day problems our nation's facing while watu wake wanakufa every single day with no apparent reason???

Wenzetu westerners go in deep investigating stuff like this, it doesn't matter what sector it is. There shouldn't be "Hiyo si kazi yangu" when it comes to someone's life. It should be everybody's responsibility from the TOP!

@ January,
Thanks for bringing this one up. With all that said, I think we need one thing and one thing only.

C I V I L I Z A T I O N

...So we can make this world a safe and better place to live.

omary wa Lyimo said...

-modernize traffic police
-watumiaji wa barabara wazilipie
-plan for the future
-driving is privelege not a right
-data center with finger print - identification($50 technology per say)kuwapata repeated offenders bila kwenye police station palm scanner is capable to do all this.
-Private owned mass transit system
-evolution ya halmashauri ya jiji(tech dont lie) im biologist i even know this.
-wipe out automibile that r unfriendly to our enviroment they dont deserve to ruin our country
- city center parking should cost a arm and leg
- invest on infrastructure, america wali-overcome depression walipoamua kuinvest on infrastructures( tanzania we have been in depression since...well.. we were founded
haya machache yajadili or implement yakifail kuondoa kero we will call our jamii barbaric, uncivilized,or worse ... lets say cursed..
just my opinion... ideas are to be discussed if they make sense they should be implemented.
respond to contributors
imani- ustaarabu come from within ur government will neva make u mstaarabu, ila nakuunga mkono na swala la kutowajibika kwa chombo cha dola kiachoshughulikia maswala ya barabara
Mchangiaji- u rock!!! tech run the show right now- it serves u money time and bring equal justice ( cam dont lie)
January- umewapa free pass wabongo kuwaita wastaarabu let them prove themselves so far wamesha kulet down kwenye swala la ustaarabu, at least not when come to driving