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State officials warned over traffic rules

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 9 – All top government officials including Ministers have been put on notice for flouting traffic regulations, particularly ministers who take advantage of their status to brazenly overlap in traffic.

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere has now warned that stern action will be taken against any government official or their drivers found flouting traffic rules.

In a memo sent to all Permanent Secretaries, Parastatal Heads and Local authority heads, Mr Iteere warns that his officers will not spare any official who inconvenience other road users.

"It has been noted with concern that some drivers of government vehicles have formed an habit of breaking or breaching the highway code by among others overlapping, causing obstruction to other road users, double parking and reckless driving," the memo seen by Capital News reads in part.

"You are therefore required to inform all the drivers in your ministries, departments and other institutions under your charge that police officers have been given firm instructions to apply the law equally and without favour," the police chief warned.

Mr Iteere\’s circular states that his office had noted with concern that most drivers of government vehicles particularly those assigned to ministers operate with impunity throughout the country.

"Statistics show an increase in the number of road accidents where government drivers are to blame," the circular which is also copied to the Head of the Civil Service Ambassador Francis Muthaura states.

It draws the attention of the government drivers to section 49 (1) of the Traffic Act which stipulates that "any person who drives a motor vehicle on a road without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road shall be guilty of an offence."

Similarly, the circular states, "section 53 (1) provides that no vehicle shall be allowed to remain in any position on a road so as to obstruct or cause inconvenience or danger to other traffic using the road."

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In Nairobi for instance, residents are not new to scenes of government vehicles particularly those belonging to ministers overlapping and making illegal u-turns with impunity.

Agriculture Minister Dr Sally Kosgey at the weekend publicly announced that her ministerial portfolio is important for her simply because it helps her evade traffic in Nairobi, leaving many wondering how many other ministers uses their ministerial status lags to flout traffic rules.

Mr Iteere has now warned that "drivers of vehicles belonging to the government or government institutions are under an obligation to demonstrate compliance with the law and set the standards for courtesy and appropriate conduct on the road.

But in the event, a Minister or any other senior government official has a pressing matter and wants the road cleared for him or her, the commissioner said due process must be followed.

Dignitaries requiring fast movement are usually assigned a police vehicle complete with a siren to warn other motorists of the urgency.

Mr Iteere has advised the government officials to always liaise with local police divisional commanders to facilitate their fast movement.

"Even under such circumstances, drivers must comply with the instructions of the police officers deployed to facilitate quick movement," the memo states.

Police officers attached to the Government Vehicle Check Unit (GVCU) have been tasked with the responsibility of cracking down on the rogue drivers.

Two weeks ago, a driver belonging to a Cabinet Minister was arrested and detained for several hours after knocking down a child in Industrial area.

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