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Raila overturns Michuki uniform rule

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 12 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Thursday lifted the mandatory requirement that public service vehicle (PSV) operators wear uniforms while on duty.

The PM also authorized “matatu” operators in Nairobi to apply the “citizen’s arrest” on traffic police and city council officers found engaging in corrupt dealings.

The directive came amid reports that traffic and city by-laws enforcers were harassing and extorting money from conductors and drivers.

“We can no longer entertain this habit and as the Prime Minister of Kenya I direct you to arrest those officers caught taking bribes on the spot” the premier said.

He said the government could no longer tolerate errant officers from the two departments following public outcry that they were extorting PSV operators with impunity.

He also ordered the Council “askaris” to stop towing “matatus” found to have violated traffic rules, arguing that the trend gave room for extortion and harassment of operators.

“Council workers should be in uniform whenever they were on duty because there’re claims imposters have invaded the field,” directed Odinga while addressing striking operators who had block Haile Selassie Avenue to protest against the two departments.

The premier who was accompanied by Housing Assistant Minister Margaret Wanjiru however invited the operators for a stakeholders meeting at his office to resolve issues affecting the sector.

“There’s need for law enforcement officers to facilitate a conducive environment for business but “matatu” operators also have to observe discipline and respect for other road users,” said Odinga.

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He directed the two departments to release all PSVs that were reportedly impounded on Thursday for allegedly picking passengers in areas that were not designated for that purposes.

Odinga also directed Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa who was present to ask his officers not to levy daily parking charges on the Matatu operators once they paid the monthly toll.

Transport operations in the city came to a virtual halt Thursday afternoon aggravating the usual rush hour traffic after the operators sealed the Moi Avenue roundabout.

They lifted the barricades after the premier’s address.


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