NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – The Matatu Owners Association (MOA) has called on Parliament to debate and pass the Structured Compensation Bill that deals with compensation for matatu owners and operators.
Chairman Simon Kimutai said on Friday that other than ensuring that a structured compensation process is adhered to, the Bill would streamline the payments awarded in cases of accidents.
“It is a Bill that will structure the payments. Today, there are arbitral awards in our courts. If you broke your hand and you are in Machakos, a court can award you Sh500,000 another court will award you Sh50,000,” the MOA chairman outlined.
“There is no structure in compensation. That was why there was a proposal that this bill will not be discriminative and it would ensure that payments are done in a standard manner.”
He called on the government to allow matatu owners to regulate themselves to ensure that their terminuses are not taken over by illegal gangs.
“At times we see people placing themselves in position in all termini because owners were removed and the council left to run the business,” Mr Kimutai observed, adding that this has led to the upsurge of terror gangs.
“A vacuum that we left was filled by gangs who extort money and feel that they own the business.”
He stated the importance of the matatu industry to the economic development of the country.
“This industry is so important that without us, the economic activities would come to a grind,” Mr Kimutai said.
The MOA chairman underscored the need to operationalise the instant ticketing procedure, which would give vehicle owners the choice of pleading guilty to a traffic offence on the spot.
Mr Kimutai said that other than saving time, the process would minimise incidents of corruption.
The current system of traffic police arresting errant matatu crew, impounding non-compliant vehicles as well as prosecuting traffic-related offences in courts has been identified as a breeding ground for corruption.
But implementation of the plan will be preceded by the enforcement of a National Spatial Plan for the next 50 years.
According to the MOA Chairman, this plan, which already is nearing mapping completion, will guide physical development activities across the country.
“The Spatial Plan will further provide illustrations of all national projects and will identify strategy for land, settlements, transport and economic development. It also provides for infrastructural expansions in land, water, rail and air transport systems.”
Mr Kimutai stressed the importance of the government setting aside funds to be used in a sensitisation exercise on road safety awareness.
He said that other than reducing incidences of offences committed by road users and vehicle operators, it would minimise road accidents.