NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has warned members of the public against attacking their officer’s during the crackdown on drivers guilty of drink-driving.
This comes after some NTSA officers were pelted with stones during their routine drink-driving operation in Nairobi, a move the NTSA Director General Francis Meja says will not be tolerated.
“Those who are attacking our officers, be warned, try it again and you will have yourself to blame,” he warned on Monday during a press briefing.
“I don’t think there is any restriction that the court gave us from whatever we have been doing. There is nothing like that (outlawing use of alcobolow )…we will continue undertaking operations.”
He attributed the latest developments to what he terms as a misrepresentation of facts in a recent ruling by the Appeals Court that among others touched on the use of breathalyzers.
In his clarification, Meja asserted that the ruling did not ban alcoblow, but instead advised the authority to only use the devices in establishing whether a person is drunk without using it as evidence in court.
“If there was a road specifically for people who are drunk, then it will be a different case. But here are innocent people getting inconvenienced by somebody who has chosen not to go with what is widely accepted,” he said.
He said the ruling required them to have a witness while laying out a case against someone charged with drink-driving unlike before where the alcoblow levels were used.
“It will be upon NTSA to prove that the arrested person was in control of the vehicle he or she was driving.”
The case in question was filed in 2014 by the Managing Director of Reminisce Sports Bar Kariuki Ruitha who argued that police have been enforcing the breathalyser Rules in a manner degrading to the dignity, honor, and esteem of motorists who consume alcohol.
“As a result of the uncivilized and illegal enforcement of the unconstitutional breathalyser rules, Reminisce bar has lost over 80 per cent of its business as a result of which it has had to lay off 29 employees and 15 Artistes,” Ruitha said in his petition.
In its observation, the Court of Appeal however, noted that there was the need to amend the Traffic Act to realign it to the breathalyzer rules.
“Although the enforcement of the Traffic Breathalyser Rules 2010 is part of the lawful duty of the police to detect crime, they were badly drafted and must give way to the Traffic Act,” the court ruling reads.