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To block or pave way for ‘VIP’ motorcades? Kenyans can’t agree

Kenyans can’t seem to agree whether award winning photojournalist-turned-activist Boniface Mwangi was right or wrong in blocking a motorcade believed to be that of Chief Justice David Maraga on Monday morning along Langata Road.

Mwangi, who has pulled a similar stunt in the past, shared a video on social media showing security personnel from the VIP’s motorcade, which was being driven on the wrong side of the road, trying to force him out of the way.

But he stayed put and kept shouting at the security personnel to obey the law.

His defiant action eventually forced the motorcade to manoeuvre past his car and drive off.

The video quickly went viral on social media, where Kenyans shared divergent views on the incident.

There are those who believed Mwangi was wrong in blocking the motorcade:

“Well, if it is my friend the CJ, he has the right of way even on the wrong way. Boniface Mwangi should be arrested for obstruction and attempted kidnap. Two strokes of the cane will just do him fine!” Nairobi lawyer Nelson Havi tweeted.

“Civilians should never imagine they have the liberty to block state vehicles driving on the wrong side of traffic. Top officials bear the burden of keeping you safe, while keeping the country together. You must trust them to do the right thing, and to act in good faith,” Steve Ogolla‏ commented.

Then they are those who praised Mwangi’s actions:

“Correction. Citizens bear the brunt of paying for the lavish vehicles those state officials are hounding us out of the road with. Driving on the wrong side of the road, endangering our lives and being so flippant about it is not in good faith. They are vomiting on our shoes,” Carol Nyaga responded to Steven Ogolla.

“Lindah, correct me if I’m wrong but the list was NOT for driving on the wrong side of the road. It was for having roads cleared for them,” tweeted David Kimwele.

But what does the law say?

On May 30 the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai issued a new directive that lists six categories of individuals who will be given priority in traffic.

So is the road supposed to be cleared for them or they can jump to the wrong side of the road and just drive?

According to advocate Lempaa Suyianka the motorcade in Mwangi’s episode was on the wrong, mainly because it was on the wrong side of the traffic flow, although it in the list of the six categories of individual to be given priority.

“The six categories can be given the priority in traffic but they have to observe the traffic regulations. The roads should be cleared for them if they are in a rush but not use the wrong side of the road. That even endangers the lives of the oncoming motorists,” Lempaa said.