, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 28 – The government has made good its threat to take action against matatu saccos whose members are found to be involved in the stripping or assault of women.
The National Safety and Transport Authority (NTSA) on Friday suspended the licence of Nazigi Sacco after one of its drivers and a tout were arraigned in court for stripping a woman in a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operating on the Githurai route.
“The law is very clear; mistreatment of passengers in PSVs is not allowed. It is illegal, it is wrong. So the message is, all the 243 vehicles belonging to this sacco are suspended,” NTSA Director General Francis Meja declared.
He said the authority is also investigating other saccos in relation to the stripping of a 16-year-old girl on a matatu plying the Kayole route by an Administration Police Corporal and tout, the stripping of another woman at the Kayole, Mihango stage and another at the Embassava bus terminus in recent weeks.
“The investigations are still going on and if there is evidence to link Embassava or whichever other sacco to this problem, believe us, we will take action,” he pledged.
The saccos have in the past accused the NTSA of acting in a ‘punitive,’ manner in their grounding hundreds of vehicles for the mistakes of one, an accusation Meja denied, saying the punishment fits the crime.
“I don’t think that is punitive. What can be more punitive than the kind of mistreatment that you all saw?” he posed in reference to the viral video of a woman being stripped in one matatu.
Nazigi therefore has 14 days to present all 243 PSVs registered under it for inspection and the Traffic Commandant has been instructed to impound their vehicles should they defy the suspension.
The NTSA has also directed the sacco to present, “a preliminary report on the incident (stripping) and action taken,” with an audit of the sacco to start on Monday.
“We will see do they have a code of conduct? Do they have a contract with their employees? We will actually put the regulation in front of them and determine the extent to which they are compliant,” Meja explained.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru on Friday morning stated that the government was ready to withdraw the operating licenses of matatu crew, owners and saccos found culpable in the sexual assault of women.