NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 17 – Kenyans were on Friday urged to observer the ‘Michuki rules’ to cut down the rising cases of road accidents and deaths on the country’s roads.
Speaking when receiving ambulances and speed cameras from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Public Health and Sanitation Minister Beth Mugo said despite many interventions, road accidents were still on the increase.
“I wish to call upon all road users, especially public transport drivers to adhere the ‘Michuki rules’ because it is drivers and pedestrians who cause these accidents,” she insisted.
The rules are associated with the late John Michuki who implemented tough regulations for public transport vehicles including speed limits and mandatory use of safety belts while traveling when he was Transport Minister.
The rules also introduced tough measures to ensure discipline among matatu drivers and touts when they were forced to wear uniforms and have their photos displayed in the matatus they drive.
However, with time, the stringent adherence seems to have disappeared, something that Mugo believes is one of the reasons why the accidents are on the increase.
She said it was regrettable that people are dying and getting injured due to careless driving associated with drunk-driving and ignorance of ‘simple’ traffic rules.
Outgoing WHO Country Representative Abdoulie Jack during the handover of two vehicles and the cameras urged Kenya to utilise the two cameras including the two donated before to control over speeding vehicles.
He said the five year project targets Naivasha and Thika highways to improve road transport and also reduce accidents.
“The aim is to improve trauma care, the speed cameras are supposed to observe and enforce traffic legislation speed limits in Naivasha and Thika,” he asserted.
So far, WHO has donated Sh65 million to promote safe road use and also for health emergency interventions during disasters especially in the arid and semi arid areas of Kenya.
The organisation also donated emergency health kits in areas that are usually affected by perennial disasters.
“This year there is potential for a recurrence, it is in this context WHO is supporting the government to improve capacity to mount an effective and prompt response in the even of a natural disaster or disease outbreak,” Jack explained.
Three thousand Kenyans die every year on Kenyan roads with thousands more suffering serious injuries, some permanent.
The project by WHO started in March last year in Naivasha which according Jack has made an impact.
As much as Mugo appreciated the donation, she said it was embarrassing that Kenya was ranked among the 10 African countries that contribute to 50 percent of the total global road traffic injury burden.
“Kenya is the only African country which is receiving support for this initiative after Egypt withdrew recently,” Mugo said as she urged Kenya to work hard to get from the rank of countries that have many road accidents.