Bypasses should not be privatised

July 18, 2009 12:00 am

, We at the Motorist Association of Kenya wish to take this early opportunity to express our discontent to the endorsement to privatise the southern bypass by Cabinet on Tuesday July 14.

Re-introduction of Toll stations on any public road including the Southern Bypass will not only be unpopular but is tantamount to double taxation. (Currently motorist pay Fuel Levy, Road levy, plus off course compounded import Duties equivalent to the real value of buying the vehicle itself).

Public Roads should remain unrestricted. Are we as a nation unable to make a road of mere 29 kilometers with the taxes paid by motorists exceeding by far the funding required to construct new roads and maintain them?

The government must be careful not relinquish its role of running roads to private concessionaires owing to its lethargy now or in the past.

The behind schedule expansion of Nairobi roads is not sufficient excuse to give away roads. (Our minds are still fresh with the failed RVR railway concession).

The Chief Engineer owes tax-paying motorists an explanation for the longtime neglect of road and rail network whose consequences have continued draining  long suffering motorist in Traffic jams traps.
However as an organization we are not opposed to the government privatizing elevated roads passing over the City provided they are not our Public Bypasses or any other road on ground surface.

The Motorist Association of Kenya prefers the latter remain public utilities.

The GoK should not have its cake and eat it. Why try to escape from lack of ability in providing timely modern Nairobi roads. The Bureau of statistics in Planning Ministry ought to have seen the exponential vehicle growth coming.

Blaming Motorists for congesting roads by buying many vehicles is off the wall. Furthermore every vehicle unit assembled locally or imported pays Compounded excise duty equivalent to the value of the purchase price of the vehicle itself to the government. Literary meaning that in reality the GOK resells all the vehicles you see around to motorists for a second time.

With such colossal revenue from the motor Industry at its disposal, the GOK should feel decently obliged to plough back a fraction of the same to modernize roads not "selling them". To us modern Highways and roads coming up in some rural areas by road levy and fuel levy funds is commendable but why the chest thumping; is it not right thing to do so?

The dutiful compliant motoring tax payers deserve better bargains not the kind of nerve wracking Traffic jam that are Nairobi, and worse nowadays other Kenyan Cities translating to losses of tenths of Billions annually. Someone ought to be held answerable to this blunder.
Our Northern, Eastern and Southern Bypasses must remain public.

If the government doesn’t have money we motorists will contribute by doing a "harambee" to raise the 10 billion required to construct the southern bypass which is at stake.

(Mr Murima is the chairman of the Motorist Association of Kenya)


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