, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – A task force established to look into the matatu strike witnessed in the country last week is recommending the establishment of special courts to deal with traffic offences.
It has also recommended that traffic police officers stop detaining matatus for minor offences and instead issue them with bonds to appear in court.
Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia said traffic crackdowns would however, continue and urged matatu operators to fully comply with the law.
“We have held a series of meeting with other government representatives and stakeholders in the industry and we are in agreement. We have agreed that there is need to have sanity on the roads but at the same time we have listened to their grievances,” Mr Kimemia told reporters on Wednesday.
For instance, he said, the matatu operators had complained that their crews are harassed and their vehicles detained even for minor defects.
“This is an issue we have agreed to look at. We have discussed with the traffic police and agreed that no vehicle shall be detained for such offences. They will be given bonds to appear in court,” he said.
The PS said the taskforce had also agreed on the establishment of special courts to deal with traffic offences “to avoid the backlog witnessed in our courts today. This is a very important issue which the government will discuss with the Chief Justice.”
Other recommendations reached include implementing the policy of ensuring no traffic police officer owns or conducts matatu business to avoid a conflict of interest.
“Any traffic police officer found engaging in such business will be sacked,” he said.
And to ensure matatu operators conduct their businesses without interruption, Mr Kimemia said traffic police would be ordered to “stop the habit of towing matatus to police stations even when the drivers are willing to drive them.”
But even as the PS read out the recommendations at a press conference held at his Ministry’s boardroom, the Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) chairman Dickson Mbugua was conspicuously missing.
The PS had said Mr Mbugua was on his way but he did not show up until the end of the press briefing.
When contacted by Capital News, Mr Mbugua said “things did not go the right way. I will be calling a press conference tomorrow (Thursday). I need to address the press on a number of issues.”