7 December 2012

Kenya: AG Says MPs' Case Against New Traffic Rules Is a Sham

AG Githu Muigai yesterday asked the High Court to dismiss a case challenging the constitutionality of the Traffic amendments Act 2012.

The AG says the case by Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu, his Makadara counterpart Gedion Sonko and Brian Gakere - a driver - "is bad in law and a total sham."

Waititu, Sonko and Gakere moved to court last week seeking to block the implementation of the new traffic rules on grounds that they impose heavy penalties on offenders, especially drivers in the PSV sector who earn about Sh500 daily.

In response to the suit, Muigai, through lawyer Antony Opondo, says "the rule of law behooves all and sundry irrespective of the status and its fidelity must be adhered to at all times."

Muigai says the petition suffers from material non- disclosure as the petitioners have not shown how their rights have been breached by the implementation of the new rules. "The petition makes a mockery of the constitution and its succinct principal," Opondo says.

Yesterday, High Court judge David Majanja rejected a second attempt by the MPs to temporarily stop the implementation of new laws that came into effect on December 1.

Justice Majanja said it will not be proper to grant a conservatory order restraining the Transport minister from implementing the regulations. Majanja did not reject the entire case, he instead directed parties to go back to court on December 10 to argue their main application.

The Act proposes a stiffer penalty for those found guilty of drunk driving, with the offense attracting a Sh500,000 fine or a 10-year jail term or both.

The laws, which propagate life imprisonment for motorists who cause death through reckless driving, will see PSV drivers undergo physical and health fitness examination every three years.

According to the new traffic laws, a motorist caught overlapping, obstructing, driving on pavements or through a petrol station will be fined between Sh100,000 and Sh300,000 or three months in jail or both.

In their case, Waititu, Sonko and Gakere, through lawyer Evans Ondieki , say the implementation of the new provisions has caused untold pain to commuters since matatu operators went on strike to protest the laws. They say the Act will kill the industry.

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