29 August 2013

Kenya: Uhuru Orders Crackdown After Crash Killed 41

Photo: Kenya Red Cross
Homa Bay-bound bus rolls at Ntuli, killing dozens of passengers.

Nairobi — President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday warned that the government will take stern action against owners and drivers of Public Service Vehicles who flout traffic rules.

Speaking when he condoled with families 41 victims who died in the Mai Mahiu-Narok road accident early on Thursday, Kenyatta said drivers and owners of PSV must all take responsibility for their vehicles.

"Public Service Vehicle drivers when using roads don't obey traffic rules. Their aim is just to carry as many passengers as possible and get to the next destination the soonest possible so that they can pocket more money. We will take action, not just drivers who will be held accountable but also vehicle owners will be held responsible to ensure their drivers and vehicles are in line with traffic rules," he warned.

He regretted that thousands of people continue to perish on the Kenyan roads due to recklessness and irresponsibility of drivers and the owners of the vehicles.

"We continue to lose many Kenyans in road accidents. We need to think about this as vehicles owners, users, traffic police and leaders because these accidents happen due to lack of discipline," he said.

Deputy President William Ruto also expressed shock as he consoled the affected families and friends.

"I am deeply saddened by the grisly accident that occurred this morning at Ntulele on the Nairobi-Narok road. I send condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the deceased. I also wish the injured a quick recovery."

He echoed Kenyatta's remarks as he added his voice to the importance of PSV drivers and owners to take responsibility in obeying traffic rules.

He further urged traffic police to also be more vigilant to ensure no vehicle drivers and owners flout traffic rules and those who do should face the full force of the law.

"Public service vehicle owners should be strict and ensure drivers adhered to traffic rules and safety speed limits. Likewise, police should be firm in enforcing traffic regulations," he asserted.

The Motorists Association in a statement asked for a ban on buses travelling at night until strict vetting is put in place to check the competence of drivers and also speed governors.

He further asked the President to issue a directive to reconstitute the National Transport and Safety Authority which he accused of corruption that had led to massive flouting of traffic rules.

"To show seriousness of human life we call for a one month ban of passenger bus travelling at night just like in Tanzania until stringent vetting of drivers competence and fool proof governors are installed. NTSA officials should move out of the comfort of their luxurious offices and ride in buses incognito to arrest bus crew who manipulate speed governors. Those caught should have licenses suspended for one year," the association's chairman Peter Murima said.

He said the authority has failed in its duties of ensuring traffic rules are observed and as a result people still continue to die on the Kenyan roads due to such recklessness.

Thirty five passengers died on the spot after the 'City to City' bus bound for Homa Bay veered off the road and rolled on along the Mai Mahiu-Narok Road at Ntulele at around 1am on Thursday.

Other passengers succumbed to injuries while in hospital.

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