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Scores arrested for flouting traffic rules as some matatus keep off the road

Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCSE) examinations started late at the Bangale Secondary School after the supervisor missed public transport to reach the school.

Tana River County Commissioner Mr. Onig’oi Sosio said the supervisor was unable to travel from Madogo to the school, a distance of about 100 kilometers, after public vehicles were withdrawn in the wake of the enhanced enforcement of the Michuki Rules.

Mr. Sosio however said the teacher looked for alternative means to reach the examination centre where the principal and invigilators were waiting.

He said most vehicles plying the route, mostly Toyota Probox, were withdrawn from most routes.

“The candidates sat the examinations late due to this mishap but their lost time was compensated,” Mr. Sosio told the Kenya News Agency in his Hola office Monday.

Meanwhile, scores of passengers were stranded in various areas of the county after most vehicles were withdrawn following the crackdown.

“Public Service Vehicles in Madogo, Garsen and Bura were withdrawn, thus inconveniencing passengers,” he said.

Mr. Sosio said motor vehicle operators and passengers were arrested in the county following the country-wide crackdown on vehicles flouting the traffic rules.

By midday on Monday, 13 motor vehicles and six motorcycles had been nabbed in Bangale and Hola Towns and nine drivers and four motorcycle riders arrested, he said.

In Bangale, eight Totota Probox vans and six motorcycles were nabbed and four drivers and four riders arrested. Four drivers and two motorcyclists abandoned their vehicles and fled.

And in Hola town, five vehicles – a bus, a matatu, a lorry, a Toyota Probox and a Toyota Noah were also nabbed and a number of drivers and passengers arrested for flouting the rules.

The County Commissioner said the bus did not have 20 seat belts while those arrested in the matatu and the Toyota Noah van had not worn seat belts. The Probox van had fake number plates.
A spot check in Hola Town revealed that very few vehicles were operating.

Two buses and a number of matatus left the town centre without any hitch, but it is not clear whether they reached their destinations without being intercepted by the police.

In Machakos, matatu crackdown almost paralyzed public service transport.

A survey done by KNA in Machakos town and its other major destinations showed that most PSV operators had opted to park their vehicles instead of risking arrest.

At the main bus terminus in the town, it was almost ghostly as the normally chaotic situation which reigns supreme had been replaced by a rare calm as many of the vehicles as well as the usually noisy and unruly touts kept their distance.

“We are strictly enforcing the law, “curtly declared one of the County Government enforcement officers manning the stage when approached by KNA.

All the parking bays at the stage were full to capacity with unoccupied and locked PSV vehicles. The few which were operational had hiked their fares with commuters plying the Machakos- Nairobi route parting with shs.300 for a journey that normally costs Shs.150 to 200.

This was replicated on all routes to and from the town. Meanwhile, bodabodas made roaring business as they ferried the stranded passengers from one point to another.

The multi-sectoral crackdown spearheaded by the ministries of Interior and Transport aims at reigning in the unruly matatu sector and bring back sanity on the country’s roads. The operators are strictly required to observe all the traffic laws as envisioned in what is referred to as “the Michuki rules”.
By Emmanuel Masha and Justus Keesi

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