Matatu Owners Threaten to Strike Over NTSA Crackdown

  • File image of matatus on the streets of Nairobi
    File image of matatus on the streets of Nairobi
  • Matatu owners are now threatening to strike following the ongoing crackdown on Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

    Speaking to the media after holding a meeting with NTSA Director-General George Njau on Tuesday, March 1, Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai noted that the operation was in bad faith and would negatively affect the public transport business.

    Kimutai questioned the nationwide clampdown by NTSA was misconstrued, adding that it made entrepreneurs in the transport sector feel the hit for the failure by law enforcement agencies to enforce the law.

    Matatu Owners Association (MOA) Chairman, Simon Kimutai addresses the media in 2019

    “A crackdown is a failure by law enforcement to maintain compliance. It is in bad taste and will lead to loss of business,” Kiutai remarked.

    His sentiments were echoed by the Matatu Welfare Association chairman Dickson Mbugua,  who brought to the attention of Njau that some of the NTSA officials were using the crackdown as a means to siphon money from the matatu business.

    Mbugua alleged that some of the authority's officers were demanding bribes from drivers and conductors, who were caught on the wrong side of the law during the operation.

    “We feel that whereas the intention of the senior managers is good, the enforcers on the ground are there to make money through intimidation and utter demand for bribes. At the moment, we have not withdrawn our vehicles from the road but if the situation persists, we will decide if to enter into a grand halt,” Mbugua said.

    The NTSA Director-General assured the matatu operators that he would hold conversations with other entities engaged in the multi-agency operation and get back to them soonest.

    On February 25, the government has announced a major nationwide crackdown on vehicles flouting the traffic rules in line with the Rapid Result Initiative (RRI) on Traffic Act enforcement beginning Monday, February 28.

    Among the vehicles targeted were PSVs, motor vehicles that operate with number plates that are not prescribed in the country, cars illegally fitted with throb lights and flashing lights, those with foreign number plates without foreign permits, and Public Service Vehicles (PSV) operating unlawfully.

    The crackdown is aimed at reducing the number of accidents witnessed in the country, with the national government and  NTSA focusing its attention to addressing the challenges leading to road traffic crashes, reducing fatalities, ensuring efficient and sustainable enforcement, and increasing compliance with the provision of the Traffic Act and PSV Regulations.

    The new Rapid Result Initiative will also be aimed at rooting out rogue PSV operators.

    File images of matatus at a bus terminus in Nairobi
    File images of matatus at a bus terminus in Nairobi
    Citizen Digital
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