The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Striking Matatu Driver Attack, Rob Motorists in City

Photo: Capital FM/File
Thousands stranded as public service vehicles in Nairobi go on strike over the new traffic law.

Striking matatu crew, who were protesting over the new traffic law, were yesterday joined by hooligans to stone vehicles and rob pedestrians of their valuables.

The worst hit areas were Ronald Ngala, Tom Mboya and River Road. The matatu men set upon motorists and robbed them during the demonstration against the new law aimed at restoring sanity and curb carnage on Kenyan roads.

Yesterday's strike follows efforts by the matatu owners and operators to block the new rules, which come into effect tomorrow. They appealed to the government to allow the industry to self-regulate instead of imposing draconian rules, which will hurt the industry.

"Rogues have taken advantage of the striking matatu crew and are robbing people who are walking on the streets. Commuters and pedestrians are not the ones who have put the new laws into effect. Those striking should direct their anger at the people concerned not innocent people. This is unacceptable and police should act before it gets out of hand," said Joseph Ndulu, one of the victims on Tom Mboya Street.

Earlier, matatu operators on route 125, 126 and 115 that ply the city centre and Ongata Rongai, Kikuyu, Kiambu pulled their vehicles off the roads to protest the new regulations forcing hundreds of commuters to trek to work.

A statement from the Ministry of Transport said the Traffic police department is now law which stipulates that drivers of PSVs will undergo physical and health fitness examination after every three years respectively.

The act criminalises drunk-driving and proposes a penalty of a fine of Sh500, 000, a 10-year jail term or both for anyone convicted for the offense

Drivers who overlap or drive on pavements will face punitive punishments.

Motorcycle riders will now be required to wear helmets and reflective jackets and provide the same to their passengers.They will also be required to have driving licenses.

"A person who, when driving or attempting to drive, or when in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, is under the influence of drink or a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle, commits an offense and shall be liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to a fine not exceeding Sh500, 000, or both," the law says.

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