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Confusion reigns at headless traffic unit

Even as Kenyans in their thousands perish in road accidents, the traffic department of the Kenya Police Service continues to operate without proper command structures, with junior officers reportedly running the show.

When they appeared before Transport Committee of the National Assembly two weeks ago, National Police Service Commission chairman Johnston Kavuludi and Interior Chief Administrative Secretary Patrick ole Ntutu could not explain who is in charge of the traffic department.

Kavuludi (who has since retired) and Ntutu were put to task by MPs over what they called lack of leadership at the traffic department.

“After the distribution of police officers by the AG, what we approve is the aspect of proper determination on who goes to perform that function,” Kavuludi told the committee chaired by Pokot South MP David Pkosing.

Kavuludi said he could not talk about the organisation of officers in the traffic department because that relates to distribution of officers in the service.

“We as a commission have replaced officers who have been found unsuitable for one reason or another,” he said.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet has on several occasions snubbed summons to appear before the committee to explain the situation at the traffic department.

Confusion has been reigning in the management of the traffic department after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to relinquish the function of manning roads.

In January, Uhuru ordered NTSA off the roads following public outcry over rampant loss of lives to road accidents.

Transport Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure told the committee that the ministry had already acted on Uhuru’s directive by handing over road safety equipment to the traffic police department.

The committee wants Boinnet to appear before it to explain the increase in road deaths.

“There is total breakdown in the traffic sector. People do whatever they like on our roads,” said Pkosing.

He said the committee had conducted own survey between July and August and established that two people die daily in road accidents and that 507 people had died and 899 injured in the period.

“At least two people die daily on our roads yet the IG cannot appear before this committee to shed light on the situation,” Pkosing said.

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