The Law Society of Kenya made good its threat to move to court and compel the National Police Service Commission to sack the National Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru for failing to protect life and property by curbing the carnage on the country’s roads.
No doubt, the LSK’s move has the support of the majority of Kenyans who are frustrated by the cavalier attitude the police service seems to treat the ever increasing number of road accidents that have so far claimed about 1,750 lives.
The 62-seater City-to-City bus accident that claimed 41 lives in August at Ntulele on the Mai Mahiu-Narok road, the worst accident witnessed in the area until then, was emblematic of the problems plaguing the entire traffic department across the country.
It was overloaded with 12 extra passengers to say nothing of the huge quantities of luggage the majority of the passengers were taking to the market in Homa Bay.
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Given the business-stifling roadblocks usually found along the road all the way from Nairobi, and the number of traffic police officers stationing themselves in strategic locations, the only logical conclusion is that the bus operator greased the palms of some officers to be allowed to proceed to the next stage.
Yet, despite the role such corruption plays in road accidents, not a single officer was arrested and charged. Indeed, there are doubts whether the killer-driver received, or will receive, more than a slap on the wrists.
And this is the norm.
This is why many observers believe the only way to deal with the problems plaguing the traffic department is to get the officers off the roads. They can be replaced with speed cameras that capture traffic offenders and which can be managed by a new cadre of officers.
Only strict enforcement of the country’s traffic laws can reduce accidents on our roads. The current crop of police officers and their commanders have proven with time that they are not equal to the task.