Seth Onyango @SethManex
Public service vehicles (PSVs) have until November 12 to comply with all traffic laws, including the famous “Michuki rules” that in their wake had rid Kenyan roads of anarchy.
In a joint statement yesterday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Transport counterpart James Macharia announced a countrywide crackdown on rogue public service vehicles in two weeks in a bid to curb road carnage.
Consequently, passengers and matatu operators alike are required to adhere to the National Transport and Safety Authority Act 2013, the Traffic Act Cap 403, and Legal Notice 161 of 2003 commonly known as “Michuki rules”.
This means PSVs must be fitted with functional speed governors, have seat belts and bear the yellow line. Operators must not exceed passenger capacity. PSVs must also not exceed a speed of 80km per hour.
“Michuki rules” requires PSV drivers and conductors to wear uniforms and badges. Their photos should be displayed prominently in the vehicle.
It is estimated that at least 3,000 lives are lost annually in accidents on Kenyan roads, with most of the crashes attributed to human-related factors, including reckless driving, speeding and drink-driving.
The announcement comes two weeks after a deadly road crash that killed 58 passengers at Fort Ternan in Kericho, when a Kakamega-bound bus plunged into a valley.
In the communiqué, Matiang’i and Macharia directed: “Effective Monday, November 12, 2018, any PSV vehicle, drivers, saccos/transport companies, passengers and other relevant parties that fail to comply with the provisions of the NTSA Act and the Traffic Act will be firmly dealt with.”
“Michuki rules” were introduced by former Transport minister, the late John Michuki, to weed out rogue elements in the matatu sector and curb road carnage.
The tough-talking minister defied resistance from the industry players, but managed to restore sanity in the chaotic sector and saw number of accident deaths reduce significantly.
The sanity, however, would last for as long as he held the docket, with matatu madness rearing its ugly head again when he was transferred to another ministry.
Henceforth, matatu will be inspected for speed governors and those found either without or with faulty speed governors will have their number plates removed, effectively banning them from the roads.
Before being allowed to operate, vehicle owners will required to have them fitted with the devices and surrender them for fresh inspection.