NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – The business community in the country wants Prime Minister Raila Odinga to intervene and hasten the implementation of the National Road Safety Action Plan (NRSAP) to restore sanity in the public transport sector.
The businessmen who paid the Premier a courtesy call at his Treasury office on Thursday expressed concerns over the chaotic state of affairs on Kenyan roads due to lack of legal guidelines to tame operators and law enforcement agencies.
The businessmen, led by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance director Bill Lay noted that public transport business had become a menace and a risky venture in the country since the return of gangs and traffic police officers who extort money from operators with impunity.
Lay projected that “road safety problems could go down by up to 80 percent if NRSAP was implemented and a Metropolitan Transport Authority put in place to streamline operations in the city”.
He regretted that the country was the only one in Africa, south of Sahara that had no road safety action plan hence the need for speedy implementation of the guidelines to reduce road carnage and facilitate economic recovery.
Mr Lay informed the PM that Passenger Service Vehicle (PSV) operators were frustrated by the arrogance and corruption thriving in the industry whose operational rules appear to have collapsed after gangsters took over the routes again.
He proposed the implementation of a methodology that would strip the police of the authority to issue tickets to traffic offenders and hand over the role to the Kenya Revenue Authority. He said such a move was likely to cut corruption cases on the road by half.
The Premier also heard that arrogance and graft was rife on City roads since most PSVs plying the routes belonged to police officers and senior government officials who had ways of evading penalties at the expense of other operators and commuters.
Public Transport operators’ representatives Dickson Mbugua and Simon Kimutai registered their complaints against the police whom they accused of abetting the ills dogging the sector and demanded for a system that would permanently end vice.
City Council Inspectorate officials were also implicated of colluding with police and the gangs to extort motorists.
“The City council inspectorate is everywhere, but they have become part of the culture of something for nothing that the gangs have perfected. Kenyans are looking forward to the day they will be able to put their children in a bus and sit back trusting that their children are safe,” Mr Lay said.
In his response, Mr Odinga promised to take up the challenge but announced that a master plan for Eastleigh was developed as a model for other cities on management of other cities towards economic prosperity in the country.
He said traffic jams had become a permanent feature in the city transport system which he said was retrogressive and impacted negatively to the general economy since fuel energy and man hours were lost in the snarl ups.