The matatu crackdown is going to have casualties – loss of revenue for PSV owners and pain for passengers who will have to trek to work.
There are those who have complied but still fear bringing out their vehicles because police say ‘gari haikosi kosa’ (no vehicle is perfect).
I foresee this fear making many owners hide their vehicles, translating to losses and travel challenges.
In most cases, they [police] can slap you with any charge. Having this in mind, and the fact that the Traffic Police Department is the most corrupt institution in Kenya, the planned crackdown could heighten corrupt practices.
The good thing is, many are trying to comply. However, compliance is supposed to be a continuous process. A crackdown indicates failure by institutions supposed to ensure compliance. If strict law enforcement was happening all the time, we won’t need a crackdown.
The current insanity is caused by selfish interests of those involved in enforcement who benefit from non-compliance.
Most of the policemen on our roads claim to enforce the traffic code but are just there to extort. They have put up a system where every vehicle in a bay pays Sh100 or risks a tramped up traffic charge.
There are also outlawed gangs in the termini who take money from every vehicle. We have reported but police go there only to collect money.
But matatu owners have also failed by not speaking in one voice on these people [police and touts]. If we all stood up and said no, we would rein in these extortionists.
There is a need to empower Saccos to expel errant operators and ensure compliance.
There should also be passenger education so that they don’t board full vehicles and have the courage to speak out against matatu errant crews.
We want our businesses to thrive as well operate within the confines of the law. Though there will be challenges with the crackdown, we hope they will do it in a civilised manner. We don’t expect to see incidents where vehicles are stopped on the road and crew pushed into police vans for no reason.
The chair of Matatu Owners Association spoke to the Star.
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