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Truck drivers call for expansion of northern corridor

Long distance truck drivers have called for reforms in the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) to streamline operations at the agency.

Roma Waema, the Secretary General of the Kenya long distance truck drivers allied workers’ union decried the recent decision by the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) to strap away the special stamp on their license.

He claimed the move has subjected more than 5,000 truck drivers to frequent harassment along the northern corridor.

The northern corridor covers a 1700km distance between Mombasa, to Uganda, South Sudan, DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

“When you renew your license, you will notice that they have done away with the CE stamp (that allows one driver trucks). We wonder what is happening at NTSA because it is an unfair process . . . we want to urge president William Ruto to intervene and sweep clean the agency,” said Mr Waema.

Sudi Mwatela, the chairperson of the union also said that the State must expedite the expansion of the corridor and proper signage to curb accidents and ease.

“We need more signage in our roads because as we speak we only have about 40 of them. Kenha must step up and ensure we have more signage on the road,” stated Mr Mwatela.

The drivers also appealed to the state to intervene and ensure that the lives of drivers operating in the East African region are protected.

They said that at least two drivers are being held by rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo while delivering goods to the populous nation in the region.

“It is disheartening that innocent drivers are being held by drivers and we want the government to intervene. We want to also ask employers of drivers that it is the right of drivers to belong to any union as per constitution,” he stated.

They made the remarks over the weekend when they held prayers at Maili Tisa, Eldoret, Uasin Gishu county that brought together truck drivers and local authorities.

In August, 2023, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen disclosed that the Kenya Kwanza administration was firming up plans to dual the Eldoret- Nairobi highway before extending the same to the border town of Malaba.

Murkomen further stressed the government is seeking investors to enable them to expand the 320km road, which ranks as among the, if not the busiest in the country.

The single carriage road has in recent times witnessed snarl-ups and the expansion is expected to ease the movement of goods and services in the region.

David Masinde, the Kenya Drivers Association appealed to the state agencies to ensure that there are adequate facilities including toilets and other amenities along the corridor to assist the drivers.

“we want the government to provide proper facilities to support drivers. We need washrooms and bathrooms and shopping along the highways for our drivers,” added Mr Masinde.

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