NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22 – Public Service Vehicle operators have been asked to “style up or ship out” as the government vows to intensify the enforcement of the Michuki rules.
“And it won’t be one-off activity,” Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said, vowing “this will be a way of life.”
Addressing various stakeholders in the sector, Matiangi cautioned that it will not be business as usual for those operating in a “gangland style.”
This is after 40,000 traffic offences were recorded in the 11 days police carried out a crackdown, exposing the deeply entrenched rot in the sector.
“For those who operate buses, we will ground them, lock them in police stations and do whatever we can, to ensure you do not kill our people if you not operating according to the law,” the CS asserted.
He warned that the time for engaging in public relations at the cost of Kenyans’ lives was over.
The government efforts, he said, are set to be complemented by the recently launched anonymous system for Kenyans to report rogue police officers.
The system is under the Internal Affairs Unit, which was recently moved from Jogoo house to KCB Towers as per recommendations of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).
Under the system, Kenyans can send a toll-free message on 40683 or call 0800721230 after which they will be provided with a tracking code for their complaints.
One can also download the Anonymous Reporting Information System application on their Android phones.
“We want to have a capacity where members of the public can send videos and pictures to us so that we can see those police officers who are receiving bribes and doing all manners of monkey business,” he said.
The stakeholders’ meeting was attended by among others Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, and culminated in the establishment of a task force that is meant to initiate reforms within the boda-boda sector.
There have been 3,000 deaths on roads this year alone, the majority involving Public Service Vehicles.
“We have messed ourselves with these things by engaging in public relations. And sometimes we allow politics to rule our lives,” he said.
On his part, CS Macharia said all agencies and stakeholders must work in unison to create synergy.
“We must all work together to reform this sector,” he said.
Operators led by Matatu Owners Association national chairman Simon Kimutai urged the government to ensure police only enforce the law without harassing their members.
Kimutai decried that some officers were extorting from operators over petty or no offence whatsoever.
“Our people have tried. And the reason you have not to see many people, we have a shortage of speed governors, safety belts and so on,” he said.
He also called for sensitisation of police officers enforcing the law since some do not know what to look for in a vehicle or say a driver and the tout.
The recent drastic reforms came after the October 9 accident that claimed 55 lives in Kericho County.
The accident happened after the 67-seater bus veered off the road while descending a steep slope in Fort Ternan area.
Of those who perished, were eight children all aged below five years.
It is an accident that caught the attention of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres who said he was “saddened.”
In the first 14 days of December of 2017, the country lost 150 lives to what was attributed speeding, lane indiscipline, reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances.