NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12 – Nearly 2,000 offenders have been arrested in the ongoing crackdown targeting Public Service vehicles (PSVs) as police re-enforce the famous Michuki rules.
Speaking during a press briefing on Monday, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet stated that among those arrested included drivers, conductors and even passengers who did not comply with the traffic regulations.
Boinnet further indicated that private vehicles in which seat belts were not used had also been targeted in the crackdown.
“The figures that I am receiving now is that close to 2,000 offenders have been arrested. These include matatu operators, operators of private vehicles and even users of PSV vehicles who had not fastened up,” he stated.
He cautioned commuters to ensure that they board a vehicle which is fully compliant with the traffic rules and observe them.
“When you get into a vehicle, ensure it is complaint with the law… you also comply with the law because when you get behind the wheel or even a bike, you are assuming a very serious responsibility over your own life and other road users as well,” he stated.
At the same time, interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi vowed that the government will not be intimidated by the ongoing boycott by PSVs that forced commuters to walk long distances.
“I have been told that some operators have decided to withdraw their vehicles. That is fine; they can keep them at home as long as they want to because we are not changing our position. They are free to keep them away,” he declared.
“Do you know when you are licensed, you are not licenced to blackmail people. You are licenced to do a business and if you are doing so on the basis of blackmail, then you cannot continue doing that; then it is time to relook at all those licences all over again.”
There were roadblocks in strategic places on roads countrywide in measures aimed at impounding vehicles that operate without complying with the set rules.
Most of the arrests were made in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Nyeri, Machakos and Eldoret, even as many matatus were kept off the road for fear of being impounded.
Machakos Deputy Police Boss Stephene Munene who led the crackdown in his region stated that among those arrested included drivers, conductors and passengers.
But the Matatu Welfare Association Chairman Dickson Mbugua protested against the crackdown, saying there no adequate consultation with key stakeholders.
Matatu drivers and conductors who spoke to Capital FM News said even vehicles which had complied were being impounded and demanded to know what criteria was used.
In the capital Nairobi, few vehicles were on the road after most operators grounded their vehicles for fear of arrests ordered by CS Matiangi, who is implementing the famous Michuki rules.
On routes like Embakasi, Syokimau, Mwiki and Ruiru and Umoja where trains operate, passengers were seen scrambling for space due to the shortage of matatus.