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Stakeholders welcome move to kick NTSA from the roads

By Wainaina Wambu | Published Thu, January 11th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 10th 2018 at 23:28 GMT +3
Naivasha based police officers man a section of the Nairobi-Nakuru highway a day after the President ordered NTSA officers off the roads. [File/Standard]

Transport stakeholders have welcomed the decision to remove National Transport and Safety Authority officers from Kenyan roads and called for further restructuring of the sector.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday ordered that the enforcement of traffic rules be left to the police.

Edwins Mukabanah, the chairman of the Association of Bus Operators of Kenya, said conflict in roles between the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and traffic police had affected road safety in the country.

“There was a conflict between the two groups (police and NTSA). One group was looking like it was pulling strings more than the other, therefore the other one decided to drop its guard,” he said.

He, however, cautioned that traffic police also had their own challenges that needed to be addressed with further restructuring.

“Traffic police also have their challenges. They used to be under one command at the traffic headquarters. Now this command has been devolved and it looks like we have not gotten it right on how to devolve. For example, when you move from county A to B, you find enforcement standards are different,” he said.

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He said corruption on the road also need to be tackled.

Matatu operators led by the Matatu Owners Association chairman, Simon Kimutai, said they support the directive since NTSA was not clear on its mandate.

“NTSA officials are supposed to be policy formulators. Instead, they are overstepping their mandate by taking over enforcement,” he said.

He, however, said the President needed to further restructure the traffic department by removing static police officers on the roads.

He said the patrol vehicles belonging to NTSA should be given to traffic police to increase patrols instead of “stopping vehicles to ask for money".

He also brushed off claims of re-emergence of corrupt traffic officers.

Overhaul of NTSA

Mr Kimutai has in the past called for the overhaul of NTSA, noting that it was overwhelmed, lacked professionalism, and was a place for “rewarding people with jobs".

The Motorists Association of Kenya chairman, Peter Murima, blamed NTSA for the upsurge in road carnage, saying the agency lacked expertise.

He dismissed claims that traffic police would encourage more corruption on roads, noting that NTSA had also become corrupt.

The Association of Matatu Operators thanked the President and urged him to “structure all the traffic department to allow sanity on the road side.