NATIONALNEWS

Haji warns of mass arrests in ‘Michuki rules’ impasse

Matatu operators vow to down tools today to protest crackdown on PSVs non-compliant with new law

Kenyans may today be forced to find alternative means of transport if Public Service Vehicles make good their vow to withdraw from the road over the implementation of the “Michuki rules”.

The Federation of Public Transport Operators chairman Edwin Mukabana has called for a nationwide matatu strike starting today even as the government appears unmoved.

The threats from the PSVs came even as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji told prosecutors to prepare for mass arrests of those who flout traffic rules.

Haji, in a statement, instructed prosecution counsel across the country to get ready to process accused persons as the government kicks off crackdown on compliance.

Mass arrests

“All counsels are notified of the planned operation which will kick-off on Monday (today) countrywide. It is expected that there will be an upsurge of arrests and accused persons, requiring adequate preparation and prompt processing,” the memo read in part.

Haji told the counsel to appraise themselves with “the law, the ingredients and commensurate sentences” ahead of the operation.

In addition, he told heads of counties to remain alert to ensure smooth running and coordination between agencies.

“This is to communicate DPP’s directive that all counsel will be expected to appraise themselves of the law, the ingredients and commensurate sentences ahead of the operation. Heads of counties are also alerted to ensure smooth running and the maximum cooperation with all the other agencies,” the memo said.

Haji’s remarks came even as Inspector General of police Joseph Boinnet, during the commemoration of the 42 police officers and eight Kenya Police reservists (KPR) killed in Baragoi, warned PSVs of no mercy to those who break the law.

He also urged pastoral communities to be cautious while herding on the roads to avoid running afoul with the new law.

His sentiments come at a time his office has drafted a comprehensive operational order to guide the crackdown in what will see matatu operators who do not conform to the gazetted Road Safety Mandatory Requirements checklist face maximum penalties.

Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i said they are ready for mass incarceration of law breakers and are ready to restore sanity in the lawless sector.

And yesterday, a spot check by People Daily in Nairobi county revealed that public service vehicle operations went on normally although the operators vowed to stage a strike this morning.

They, however, raised fears the operation may target them unfairly.

“We are ready to comply but more civic education should be done detailing what is required through the saccos,” Gideon Muuri, an operator said.

In today’s operation, police have said they will be checking on the general roadworthiness of the PSV’s, speed governors, safety belts, driver and conductor uniforms and the mandatory yellow line.

The operators must also display their photos, badges and names as per their national identity cards.

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