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NTSA ordered off roads, now police to enforce traffic rules

By Wainaina Ndung'u | Published Wed, January 10th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 9th 2018 at 21:47 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta delivers New Year message at State House, Nairobi. [Photo: Courtesy]

Officers of the National Road Safety Authority will no longer be allowed to monitor the roads.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday announced the immediate withdrawal of the agency's officers from the roads, leaving the enforcement of traffic rules to the police.

The agency, which has been on the spot following the spiralling road accidents that have claimed hundreds of lives, is now expected to provide policy guidelines.

Uhuru, who appeared to have been pricked by the wave of criticism levelled against the National Road Safety Authority (NTSA), also announced that comprehensive regulations on road safety would be rolled out soon "as the Government was taking this road carnage seriously"."

"From now onwards, NTSA officers will not be on the roads as the responsibility to enforce the traffic regulations lies squarely on the police. Let police ensure that all rules are adhered to," Uhuru said.

He added that the responsibility to reduce accidents lay with Kenyans, including drivers and pedestrians obeying all rules, proper maintenance of vehicles, and respect for other road users.

"Every one of us has a responsibility to create safer roads. Drivers, passengers, and everyone has a duty to ensure that our roads are safe," said Uhuru.

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He added: "The Government will play its part but Kenyans must also play their part. As a passenger, you have a role to ensure that the driver observes the rules," Uhuru said.

The Head of State said about 80 per cent of road accidents were as a result of human error, which can be avoided.

"Overtaking carelessly, overloading vehicles, and other ills on the roads have become the major causes of accidents. Let us change our attitude and behaviour while on the road," he said.

Uhuru spoke at the burial of Africa Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA) bishops Philip Kubai (Ntonyiri), Moses M'Nterori (Igembe South), and Stanley Karuru (Igembe Central), who died in a road accident on December 29 at Wamumu on the Embu-Nairobi highway.

The bishops were being driven in one car from a meeting at the AIPCA Thika Diocese Cathedral.

The President said the Government was everything possible to end road carnage.

Road accidents have become one of the top killers in the country, with nearly 300 people losing their lives last December.

Following the unprecedented number of accidents, NTSA banned night travel for public service vehicles, much to the chagrin of many Kenyans who were inconvenienced.

Long distance public vehicles have hiked their fares in the wake of the ban on night travel, saying it had increased costs to their businesses.

The President spoke after church leaders, including AIPCA Archbishop Julius Njoroge and National Council of Churches of Kenya General Secretary Peter Karanja, urged the Government to take decisive action to stop road carnage.

Many speakers at the funeral expressed concern about the runaway road carnage.

Archbishop Njoroge said there was a marked departure by NTSA to the enforcement mandate, which was originally under the Traffic Police Department.

He was supported by MP Moses Kuria, who said with 200 officers and 50 patrol vehicles, the NTSA was ill-equipped to monitor the highways.

Reverend Karanja said the Government was duty-bound to address road carnage to stop deaths, injuries, and impoverishment of families through the mistakes of a few Kenyans.

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