Irene Githinji and Dorcas Mbatia @PeopleDailyKe
President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) officers be immediately withdrawn from the roads and let traffic police officers take charge of traffic on the highways.
The President’s directive comes in the wake of public outcry over increased cases of road accidents on the highways that have killed scores in the last few months. He assured that the government will do its part in ensuring road safety is observed but urged Kenyans to exercise responsibility as opposed to leaving the task solely to the government.
“As the government, we are doing all it takes to ensure that the number of accidents reduce and that is why today, we are announcing that the government has decided to withdraw all NTSA officers who have been on the roads and the traffic duty be left to the police officers,” said Uhuru.
He spoke in Meru during the burial of three African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA) bishops — Philip Kubai, Stanley Karuru and Moses Ntoeruri — who died in a road accident on the Embu-Nairobi road on December 29, 2017.
The three bishops died on the spot after their vehicle collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle as they headed back to Meru from attending a church meeting in Nairobi. Addressing mourners yesterday, Uhuru was concerned that 80 per cent of road accidents were attributed to reckless driving, not observing traffic rules and speeding.
“It is good for people to know that the government will do its part in road safety but passengers also have a responsibility to ensure they are well driven and drivers observe rules,” he said. NTSA was established through an Act of Parliament whose objective was to harmonise the operations of the key road transport departments.
The Authority has been on the receiving end and accused of laxity in addressing rampant impunity among matatu crew, with Matatu Welfare Association blaming it for the rising number of accidents. NTSA, for instance defended after its officers were blamed for the Sachangwan accident that killed more than 32 people in early December.
Reports indicated that some NTSA officers were pursuing the driver of a trailer that lost control leading to an accident involving 15 vehicles. Last week, NTSA ordered a ban on all long distance night travel, which caught many travellers by surprise.
The Authority imposed the ban after a bus accident at Migaa on Nakuru-Eldoret highway that claimed 36 lives though their decision was termed as punitive.