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Raila warns traffic officers following rising accidents

THARAKA NITHI, Kenya Aug 25 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has traffic police officers on notice for sleeping on the job resulting in increased incidents of road accidents that have left several people dead in the recent past.

He said police officers were not keen to implement traffic regulations and were instead using road blocks to extort money from motorists.

“We have traffic rules in this country that need to be enforced and we do not want to see police officers mounting road blocks which they use as toll stations” he said in Tharaka Nithi on Thursday when he attended a mass burial for 10 people who perished in a road accident. The accident occurred on the Meru-Chuka highway a fortnight ago.

The Prime Minister pledged to ensure the government took stern action against corrupt officers so that safety is restored on the public roads.

The Premier said that it was disturbing for the officers to seek bribes from matatu operators, knowing that this was the only source of livelihood for the operators.

“It is shameful to take a bribe from somebody who is striving to eke a living yet you are on the government’s monthly payroll,” he told the police.

The victims buried on Thursday hailed from Mitheru and Karimba locations of Muthambi Division in Maara districts.  They died on August 14 in an accident that occurred at the Mitheru Bridge.

Mr Odinga pledged that the government would meet the medical bills for other victims who sustained injuries in the accident.

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The Premier has also pledged that the government would tarmac the 15-kilometre Chogoria-Mutindwa road to ease communication in the area, adding that funds will be set aside to improve the road network in Chuka town and the entire Tharaka Nithi region.

He was responding to requests from the Nithi MP who also the Agriculture Assistant minister Kareke Mbiuki.

Mr Mbiuki joined his Tharaka MP Mburi Muiru to drum support for the PM in his quest to seek the presidential seat in 2012.

“You have demonstrated to us the people of Meru and the whole nation that you are leader, and we wish to pledge our support to you as you seek the presidential seat next year,” they said.

The Premier later attended the burial of father in charge of Kanjuki Parish in Meru who also perished in a separate road accident.

Cases of road accidents are on the increase across the country in latest weeks.

On Sunday morning, 23 people were killed when a minibus they were travelling in lost control and plunged into river Kalingile at Mukimwani area in Mbooni East district.

The passengers were travelling from Makueni to Kangundo after attending a ceremony for dowry negotiations when the accident occurred.

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