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Ole Meja changes turned rural boy into motor vehicle boss

Francis ole Meja is immediate former NTSA boss.
Francis ole Meja is immediate former NTSA boss.
Francis ole Meja and his team were behind a Cabinet memo to establish the National Transport and Safety Authority.

Born in a humble family in Oloishobor village of Kimuka in Kajiado West Sub-County, Francis ole Meja started life like any other village boy.

Upon attaining school-going age, his parents enlisted him at Oloishobor Primary School where he started and completed his primary school education.

On passing his national primary school examination, Meja was honoured to join Form I at the then prestigious Oloolaiser Secondary School in Ngong.

After completing his Form 6 education, young Meja got a job at the Ministry of Finance, where he worked as a finance clerk for a year.

Meja then secured an opportunity to travel to India, where he enlisted for a degree course in Economics and Administration.

He started his course at the Marathwada University, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, in 1990 and completed it in 1993. 

On returning home, Meja got a job at the Housing Finance Company of Kenya Ltd as a management trainee; he was posted to the coastal town of Mombasa in 1994, and in 2006 he quit to join Equity Bank.

Meja was head-hunted for the job at Equity. He was at that time the only qualified Maasai to take up his assignment in South Rift.

The bank was going to open its first branch in Narok and Meja came in handy for the job. His job was to connect with livestock and wheat farmers in the current Narok County.

Between 2008 and 2009, the Narok branch of Equity Bank was listed among the 10 top-performing branches, achieving a net profit of Ksh100 million per annum.

Towards the end of 2010, Meja got a job in the government as Registrar of Motor Vehicles, at a time the department had institutional challenges.

At the time, Registrar of Motor Vehicles was under the Kenya Revenue Authority. Because of the many challenges he found, Meja says at some point he almost quit.

“For almost six months after getting the job, nothing was happening. I was just there doing nothing. I said I will not just give up but face the problem head-on,” said Meja.

While there, Meja and his team did a Cabinet memo to establish the National Transport and Safety Authority Bill; the Bill was enacted and assented into law in 2013.

After that, he found himself without a job after the office of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles was disbanded.

Soon thereafter, the government advertised the position of the NTSA boss. The position was competitive, and Meja was ready to face all the storm.

He applied for the job and was invited to take the interview with the rest of the many candidates. He got the job as the first occupier of that office in 2014.

NTSA, being a new government department, had no structures in place. Meja was to oversee the putting up of structures.

On being appointed for the first three years, Meja hit the ground running. Within a short time he had fully automated NTSA. After serving for the first term (three years), the government renewed his contract for a second three-year-term.

Issuance of driving licences before he came in was nightmarish for applicants. Corruption was prevalent in the government department, and Meja made sure that all the processes for the acquisition of government documents were automated.

“We did this because I had a strong belief that those applying for motor vehicle licences and other documents should not have any physical contact with the staff. That is where corruption begins,” said Meja.

The new changes in NTSA and the management of the country’s road system is credited to the hard work of Meja.

    

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