It was not surprising to see long queues at the booking offices of bus and matatu companies plying Western Kenya routes immediately after the president ended the cessation of travel from Nairobi and Mombasa.
Minutes later, social media was awash with a post of a man from Mulembe Nation half bathed and half clothed rushing to the bus station to catch the first bus available to Ingo. Oblivious of the underlying measures that were to be met by the bus companies before boarding. Whereas the trending post was on the lighter side, it reflected the situation on the ground.
Despite the long-distance (about 600 Kms one way from Nairobi) and cost implications, the Westerners residing in major cities like Nairobi and Mombasa visit their rural homes more often than any other tribe in the country. This has baffled many pundits prompting Obulala Media (www.obulala.co.ke) to conduct a survey to crack the puzzle.
A sizeable percentage of the Luhyas interviewed (45%) pointed out to their love for linking up with their families staying at their rural homes. Another group (25%) said that they love travelling to go supervise various projects they undertake at home including small scale businesses. Traveling for leisure to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities also features (15%) with another 10% pointing to attending functions of close family members and friends mainly funerals and weddings. The remaining 5% reason for often travel was baffling as they pointed to addiction of travel without any specific reason.
Looking at the cost of travel to Western Kenya by public transport (Kshs 3,000) two ways, one is left wondering whether the reasons given are satisfactory bearing in mind that many of them depend on low to average wages for livelihood. Air travel two ways to Western Kenya costs about Kshs 10,000 with self-drive costing about Kshs 12,000 per vehicle for fuel and service two ways. The tiredness involved, time consumed and risk of travel are other factors to be considered before one takes on the journey.
Whereas a whopping 50% of those interviewed said that they travel at least once per month to Western Kenya, 20% said that they travel once in two weeks with another 15 percent pointing to a quarterly travel. Another 10% travel at least once in six months with the remaining 5% opting to a once per year travel.
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday (6th July 2020) opened up Kenyan economy in a careful phased-out program that attempts to strike a balance between the health and economic concerns of the nation.
Kenyans can henceforth from today 4amTuesday 7th travel from every part of the country to the other as the cessation of movement from Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera was eased out.
The Luhya community is the second most populous tribe in Kenya with approximated 7 million people. With an approximated population of 800,000 residing in Nairobi alone, Luhyas are billed to be one of the top two occupants of the capital city. They also have a heavy presence in Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu towns.