Highway toilets: Roads Ministry bows to court order to construct loos

A smart toilet by freshlife. [File, Standard]

Road travelers will soon have toilets along the highways after the Ministry of Roads and Transport commenced the process of complying with a court order.

The ministry in a notice dated September 5 has invited the public to a stakeholder engagement forum on the draft Kenya Roads (Roadside Stations) Regulations to gather public views on the construction of the toilets in compliance with the order from the Environment and Lands Court.

“The CS in complying with the court judgment formed the working group with members drawn from several state departments and after several consultation meetings formulated the draft Kenya Roads (Roadside Stations) Regulations and invites stakeholders for the engagement,” read the notice.

According to the ministry, the policy addresses road safety, health and socio-economic development of surrounding areas along the country’s road network and provides journey breaks for travellers and rest for drivers.

The ministry made the move after the court summoned Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen to appear on September 20 in person to explain the government’s failure to comply with the orders requiring it to provide toilets and other sanitation facilities on highways.

Ministry alarmed by ‘long calls’ along highways, to build toilets along Nairobi-Nakuru highway

The decision was issued by Justice Kossy Bor following a petition by lawyer Adrian Kamotho arguing that failure to provide the facilities violated the travellers’ right when responding to a call of nature during their journey.

The lawyer had sued the Council of County Governors, Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA) and Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA).

Justice Bor in her ruling ordered the Roads and Transport CS to constitute and chair the working group comprising of Council of Governors, KeNHA, KERRA and KURA to formulate the policy for the provision of toilets and other sanitation facilities along the highways.

“The National Transport Policy would incorporate toilets and other sanitation facilities as part of the roadside developments in the road designs for existing and new roads, and designate a sufficient number of such facilities on road stops on the national and international trunk roads,” ruled Bor.

The judge added that the policy should take into account the need to have the toilets and other sanitation facilities maintained properly by the county governments once constructed to give effect to the right to a clean and healthy environment on the roads.

The ministry in the notice inviting stakeholders stated that the development of roadside stations along transport corridors is part of making highways smart, improving road safety and enhancing the wellness of travellers.

“The facilities will also provide economic impact in areas where the roads pass as communities’ trade with those in transit,” said the notice signed by Robin Rotich on behalf of the principal secretary.

The stakeholders meeting is scheduled to take place on November 15.