Nairobi News


Matatu owners rebuke Murkomen for putting NTSA back on the roads

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen’s announcement that National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) officers will be reinstated on the roads has been met with backlash from the Matatu Owners Association (MOA).

The association has said the reinstatement of NTSA officers will sabotage their ongoing clinics in collaboration with the authority and the police who are targeting public transport operators.

While expressing their displeasure at the way the Ministry of Transport has continued to disregard them, the association said the NTSA officers should be allowed to carry out their regulatory duties in office.

Addressing the press on Wednesday, March 20, MOA national chairperson Albert Karakacha said the CS should have consulted them before issuing the directives.

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MOA National Chairperson Albert Karakacha said during the press briefing on Wednesday that the CS should have consulted them first before issuing the directives.

“We want the minister to change tactics on what can be done in the future on the issue of road carnage. We know very well that the NTSA is supposed to regulate, they are not supposed to be on the road,” said Mr Karakacha.

The CS has been asked to ensure that the transport industry is regulated by the NTSA through policies that will curb accidents.

“They are supposed to be making policies for the transport sector and they are supposed to make sure that they are regulating it… making sure that all vehicles are licensed. Putting NTSA officers back on the road will not help.”

Mr Karakacha said the sudden move by the CS in relation to the general accidents recorded recently was unfortunate for the matatu sector, which recorded fewer accidents.

“If look at the data on the accidents in the matatu sector, the numbers are not alarming compared to trucks, compared to school transport accidents. We urge the minister that wherever there is a problem of accidents, he should not start chasing matatus off the road. We are businessmen and we need support from the same government,” he noted.

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According to the association, the traffic police have been working well with transport stakeholders across the country and the return of the NTSA could disrupt this.

“We thank the police because they now have the power of the traffic commander and we urge the commander to make sure that the police are on the road to enforce everything that has to do with traffic and we will support them.”

Through clinics in various parts of the country, the association is engaging its members, drivers and stakeholders to reduce accidents.

Murkomen reversed the directive to remove NTSA officers from road safety enforcement following an increase in accidents that claimed more than 20 lives in less than a month.

“Having consulted with my colleague in Home Affairs and National Coordination, Prof Kithure Kindiki, we will put in place a mechanism where the previous directive to remove the NTSA from enforcement will be revoked and a collaborative arrangement between the NTSA and the NPS will be put in place for more efficient enforcement,” Murkomen said in his statement.

The association’s CEO, Patricia Mutheu, urged the government to engage PSV industry players in a joint discussion to develop comprehensive and long-term solutions.

“As an association, we recognise the concerns raised by the government. However, we strongly believe that cooperation and dialogue between industry players and the government is crucial in addressing road safety issues,” Ms Mutheu said.

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Reacting to the recent road accidents, Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has called on President William Ruto to intervene and take action as Head of State.

“It is so sad when we see an innocent young person, your child, cousin, sister, or uncle lying in a pool of blood just because all the institutions that are supposed to enforce law and order in the country have collapsed. COTU (K) appeals to the President of Kenya, Dr William Samoei Ruto, as worker number one to intervene directly and save the situation,” Atwoli said in a statement.

Atwoli suggested that Kenya should adopt the measures used in neighbouring Tanzania, where drivers are prosecuted for exceeding speed limits.

“We have our neighbours who adhere to laws and strict traffic rules and laws and can finish five years and or ten years, especially in Tanzania where all roads and shopping centres have traffic limits of driving.”

The Cotu boss also said that bribery and corruption, which has sadly become a norm on the roads, will not be stopped as it is now a practice across the country.