I did not tune in for the presidential communication on COVID-19, and I haven’t done so for the last three episodes because there are so many alternative ways to waste my time. I could paint my landlords’ walls for example.
I would have wasted both my time and money yet still feel more accomplished than I would have if I sat and listened to the speech. Also, I will get the summary from Twitter (the power of social media).
From what I gather, boda bodas are back in business, after more than 3 months of suffering. Also, curfew has been extended from 7 pm to 9 pm. I want to focus a little on how our government institutions have handled COVID-19, with a very specific focus on the transport sector.
I am currently going through a leadership course and one of the things that were brought to light from day one was the concept of the dance floor and the balcony. I will explain it a little.
Quite often as leaders, we find ourselves focusing on the next crisis or the next problem. We are so busy firefighting we forget to take a step back, get on the balcony and see the bigger picture. This often leaves us stuck on the operational, and we don’t get any time to focus on the coronavirus situation.
What are some of the things that could have been done better? We have had four months to prepare for reopening of the country and planning for a world with COVID. I believe this time should have been spent planning for a safe reopening. Key stakeholders should have sat down together to draw a road-map to living with COVID-19.
The Covid-19 Task Force should have done a better job after more than 3 months in lockdown
It was announced that all boda boda riders must take details of all customers. I see the reasoning behind this, contact tracing. What perhaps should have been happening in the back end was working with existing resources such as SafeBoda, Uber Boda, and other available avenues to achieve this.
Mandating all boda riders to register with a ride-hailing platform and regulating the commissions charged per ride on the side of these ride-hailing platforms is a good place to start.
The argument can be made that with mandatory registration, companies like SafeBoda, Dial a Jack, Bolt etc will benefit from economies of scale in the long run and must transfer those benefits in the form of reduced commissions charged.
This would reduce resistance from boda riders who often argue high commissions as a reason to stay off these platforms. In the three months, the Transport Ministry could have been working alongside such companies to ensure mass training and ensure compliance is being conducted.
Unfortunately, we are where we are today because we have failed plan and account for unseen scenarios ahead of time. Motorcycles are back on the road with SOPs (standard operating procedures) that are holding on by a thread.
We are dealing with a pandemic but choose to paint over our peeling walls rather than identify the root cause and deal with it. A lot can be said about how we have handled COVID-19 but I will leave it at this, could our respective leaders get on the balcony and start looking at this crisis from a strategic viewpoint, rather than fighting fires. The solution lies in being strategic.
Author: Michelle Mboha
Michelle is an economist, early stage business adviser and a human rights advocate. She is also a guest writer for Newslibre.