Police back on the roads with gusto as NTSA men leave
- Latest statistics by NTSA show that 356 people died in December alone.
- The road safety authority has been on the spot following increased accidents that have killed many especially those using private vehicles.
- Forty five vehicles used for patrols by NTSA are also likely to be reassigned.
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Police have taken full charge of road traffic management after the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) withdrew its officers.
The decision to crack the whip on the authority by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday appears to be informed by the high number of fatalities recorded last month.
Latest statistics by NTSA show that 356 people died in December a lone.
On Wednesday, NTSA Director-General Francis Meja assured of full compliance with the Presidentâs order.
âThe authorityâs board will give a comprehensive statement on the way forward at an appropriate time,â Mr Meja told Daily Nation.
The road safety authority has been on the spot following increased accidents that have killed many especially those using private vehicles.
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This category of vehicles contributed the most to fatal crashes at 28 per cent followed by commercial vehicles (24 per cent) while Passenger Service Vehicles (PSV) retained position three at 20 per cent, similar to the previous year.
Assistant Inspector General of Police Charles Owino supported the move, saying it is the mandate of police to enforce traffic rules and not NTSA.
The Traffic Police Department is charged with amo ng others the prevention and investigation of accidents, and the enforcement of laws, rules and regulations.
âThe Presidentâs directive will restore order to the transport sector because NTSA agents should never have been on the roads in the first place,â he said in an interview with Citizen TV.
Although he agreed on the need for the two entities to work together to end road accidents, Mr Owino stated that it is police who should administer Breathalysers to check for alcohol levels in motorists. NTSA have been doing this during random checks in different parts of the country.
âThe law also says that it is only the police who can flag down drivers for speeding,â he stated.
âFor far too long we have allowed the culture of impunity on our roads and when errant motorists are caught they bribe their way out of it, then it means we must take responsibility for this,â said Mr Owino.
The authority, established throug h an Act of Parliament, is now expected to restrict its activities to its core functions which include implementing policies relating to road transport and safety.
Other functions include conducting research and audits on road safety, developing and implementing road safety strategies and regulating public service vehicles. It was also not immediately clear where its officers stationed on the roads would be redeployed as Mr Meja declined to comment on the matter.
Forty five vehicles used for patrols by NTSA are also likely to be reassigned.
The vehicles, station wagons and ambulances, were delivered to the authority by the Kenyan dealer of French automaker Peugeot, Urysia, in a Sh631 million lease plan.
While welcoming the move, stakeholders in the matatu sector also demanded the restructuring of the Traffic Police Department to deal with corruption.
During a meeting with the stakeholders from around the country last Ju ly at State House, President Kenyatta said he would reform the department.
âI want to assure you that we are going to reorganise the traffic department in order to make it more accountable to users,â President Kenyatta said.
âWe must get rid of the illegal collection of money by traffic police officers because that is part of what makes it expensive to travel,â the President added.
Now the Matatu Owners Association and the Matatu Welfare Association want that actualised.
In separate interviews, Moa and MWA chairpersons Simon Kimutai and Dickson Mbugua argued that it was illegal for NTSA to do the work of the department whose functions it regulates.
âTherefore, the interests of enforcing the law went through the window. The President should now move and disband the extortion ring within traffic police to ensure we are not back to the old order,â Mr Kimutai said.
Mr Mbugua called for a complete overha ul of the traffic department.
But in Nyeri, boda boda association chairman Charles Ndegwa argued that the move to eject NTSA from the roads was wrong as they had restored sanity.
âThere was some sense of fear among most drivers which is good because there was sanity among road users. They should have been given more time,â Mr Ndegwa argued.
âRemoving NTSA from the roads will worsen things. The police have been unable to bring back sanity because rogue motorists have always gone free by bribing the police.â
â"Additional reporting by Francis Mureithi and Nicholas Komu
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