NCC askaris told they must wear uniforms

June 25, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25 – The Nairobi City Council has issued a directive cautioning all council askaris that they must don their uniforms while dispensing their duties.

In a statement in the local dailies, Town Clerk Philip Kisia stated that this would ensure harmony between the council askaris and members of the public.

“The council officers must produce proper identification cards when identifying themselves and confirm that they are law enforcement officers,” Mr Kisia said.

The Town Clerk meanwhile also called on city residents who own unlicensed premises to acquire licenses within three days, failure to which stern action would be taken against them.

According to complaints by several Nairobi residents social graces are not regularly displayed by City Council officers, and in most cases it has to do with the disproportionate use of force in handling alleged offenders.

It is feared that the askaris, whose judgement and integrity should be impeachable in enforcing the laws, have been given too much latitude and could use their powers to harass Kenyans or demand bribes.

In the new by-laws contained in a proposal on traffic management, Mr Kisia intends to control loading hours of goods in the Central Business District and outlaw roller-skating.

The by-laws intend to reduce traffic jams in the city by ensuring owners of derelict vehicles are surcharged.

"Contravening of new traffic by-laws the person shall be liable to a conviction or to a fine not exceeding Sh3,000 but in the case of second or subsequent conviction for the same offense a fine not exceeding Sh6,000 will be accorded," reads one segment of the by-laws.

Handcart pushing will only be used only for organised sports, games or races and not for business, according to the by-laws.

"No person shall drive or cause or permit to be used or driven in upon any public road or side walks any cart "mkokoteni," reads another segment.

For parking and loading restrictions the new laws prohibits any loading between 7am to 5pm from Monday to Friday, and 7am to noon on Saturdays except on public holidays or in respect to any particular loading zone by a traffic sign or marking.

This means all deliveries must be made at night and brings to question the ability of security agents to provide protection at these odd hours.

It only gives 30 continuous minutes for goods being loaded or off-loaded but abolishes stationary vehicles on loading zones.

At the bus stop apart from a bus no vehicle shall be permitted to remain stationary between 6am and 6pm.

And for pedestrians, it is now an offense to jump red lights.

"No pedestrian shall commence to cross the road in any pedestrian crossing at such an intersection while the red light of a pedestrian signal is displayed in the direction opposite to that which he is proceeding," the law demands.

Council askaris will have the power to disperse crowds on public streets that are perceived to obstruct movement of traffic or inconvenience.

Repairing of motor vehicles on public roads has also been outlawed.


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