Traffic boss says today’s matatu crackdown ‘just a rehearsal’


Traffic boss says today's matatu crackdown 'just a rehearsal'
File image of matatus in Nairobi. PHOTO| COURTESY

In Summary

  • The traffic boss termed the crackdown a move that is aimed at ensuring safety of Kenyans who have been victims of reckless operations for a long time.
  • Kimutai argued that the Michuki rules being enforced were supended by Justice Odunga and nobody in government appealed.
  • The crackdown has seen many matatu operators in Nairobi withdrawal most of their vehicles from the roads affecting transportation in the county by a great extent as many passengers remained stranded for the better part of the day.

Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru has termed the citywide matatu crackdown that started on Sunday morning as “just” a rehearsal in readiness for the return of the Michuki rules next week.

The traffic boss termed the crackdown as a move aimed at ensuring safety of Kenyans who have been victims of reckless operations for a long time.

Speaking on Citizen TV’s #SemaNaCitizen show, the traffic boss warned matatu operators who have not met the set requirements to act appropriately or keep their vehicles at home.

“There are crooks in Nairobi who have so many issues, they don’t follow rules, they don’t have uniforms unlike other saccos, if you won’t meet the requirements don’t take your vehicle to the road,” Mr. Kimaru said.

His sentiments were criticised by the chairman Motor Vehicle Transporters Association Calvin Nyaure, who said the police are to blame for the problems facing the transport sector. Nyaore said the officers had turned the crackdown into a business project.

“The officers are trying to look for money from matatu owners, they have made it a business project,” Nyaure said.

The sentiments were echoed by the chairman, Matatu Owners Association Simon Kimutai who expressed his dissatisfaction with the crackdown that entered its second day on Monday morning.

Mr. Kimutai argued that the Michuki rules being enforced were supended by Justice Odunga and nobody in government appealed.

“Justice Odunga suspended the Michuki rules, I wonder why they are still the talk of town,” Kimutai said.

He further added that the crackdown witnessed in Nairobi had forced many matatu operators to keep their vehicles off the road for fear of arrest while advocating for dialogue to solve road issues.

“Why impound someone’s vehicle for three days and they have loans they’re paying?” he asked. “If there is a problem, which i cant deny, the traffic department should be sensitive on how to address it.”

Mr. Kimutai said the transport sector is facing stiff competition from outsiders who are not licensed to carry passengers and the situation has made many operators to disregard traffic rules in the process.

“We have gotten into unhealthy competition, private vehicles are now transporting people from various destinations, such competitions make people engage in unfavorable competition police know this and are doing nothing about it,” he said.

Mr. Kimaru insisted that the exercise was nothing unusual saying they had decided to take it a notch higher adding that the Michuki rules are binding and are nothing different from what is stipulated in the NTSA and Traffic acts.

“The rules are stipulated in the NTSA act, Main Traffic act, all are in the act and not just Michuki rules, ” he said.

He added that the traffic department is working day and night to ensure transport safety is prioritised by all stakeholders.

“Every day we make arrests, over 1,000 people are taken to court  majority being from Nairobi, we collect over Ksh.3 million fine daily, that means we are working, the matatu guys are the problem,” said Kimaru.

The crackdown paralysed transport in many parts of Nairobi forcing commuters to seek other means of transportation.

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Story By Wycliffe Nyamasege
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