Economy

Lobby takes on Uhuru, wants NTSA on roads

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National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and Traffic Police officers during a crackdown on Passenger Service Vehicles (PSV) flouting road safety rules along Kibarani in Mombasa. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) will be back on the roads if the High Court allows a petition filed by a lobby group, which argues that accidents have increased since the withdrawal of officials from the agency.

President Uhuru Kenyatta directed NTSA to withdraw all its officers from the roads in 2018, after failing to end road carnage.

Instead, the President directed traffic work to be left to police officers.

President Kenyatta made the directive at the funeral service of three African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa bishops who died in a grisly accident in Wamumu on the Embu-Nairobi road on December 29, 2018.

But according to the Roads Safety Association of Kenya, accidents can be avoided if there was compliance with safety measures, the NTSA Act and Traffic Act, which the agency and traffic officers were enforcing.

The lobby group says since January 2021, the number of deaths from road accidents has risen to 4,000 and it is set to increase further in the festive season.

“That prior to the third respondent’s removal from the road by the President, deaths on the roads were on the decline, but they have now increased,” said the lobby through its chairman David Kiarie.

Mr Kiarie accuses President Kenyatta of limiting the powers of NTSA’s mandate by ordering the removal of its officials from the roads.

He says NTSA has the powers to conduct raids, inspect vehicles to ensure compliance with the Act and even impound cars that do not adhere to road safety.

The lobby cites an ill-fated bus that killed 15 elderly in Embu, saying it should not have been allowed into the roads.

“That in compliance with the Presidential declaration, the third respondent’s officers withdrew from the road pronto and left their duties under NTSA Act in the hands of traffic police officers,” he said.

The lobby says whereas NTSA implements and administers both NTSA and Traffic Act and the standards, the police enforces the Traffic Act.

Mr Kiarie says the traffic police officers have failed to ensure there was compliance with the safety measures on the roads.

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