Traffic Act set for more changes

Wednesday June 27 2012

The government will propose further amendments to the Traffic Act following an agreement reached with Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo who is spearheading far-reaching changes in the traffic department June 27, 2012. FILE

The government will propose further amendments to the Traffic Act following an agreement reached with Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo who is spearheading far-reaching changes in the traffic department June 27, 2012. FILE 

By CAROLINE WAFULA [email protected]

The government will propose further amendments to the Traffic Act following an agreement reached with an MP who is spearheading far-reaching changes in the traffic department.

Initially, the Ministry of Transport had opposed the proposed changes by Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo and Government chief whip (ODM) in Parliament, terming them impractical.

Mr Midiwo wants the Traffic Department abolished saying it has failed to bring sanity in the road sector and instead turned out to be a den of corruption with impunity.

He also seeks to enhance the penalties for various traffic offences with the intention to minimise loss of lives on Kenyan roads through accidents.

But his amendments have been criticised as being too harsh and lacking the views of key players in the sector.

On Wednesday, Mr Midiwo told MPs that they had agreed to work on ‘proper’ and more comprehensive amendments for a more comprehensive package to be presented to Parliament for consideration.

Mr Midiwo said he had held discussions with Transport minister Amos Kimunya, who had agreed to introduce further amendments at the Third Reading stage where Parliament goes in a committee sitting to consider proposed amendments one by one.

“The Minister for Transport has been gracious to agree to this and we are going to negotiate and marry my proposals with those of government so that we don’t duplicate our effort,” he said.

Last week, Mr Kimunya termed Mr Midiwo’s proposed amendments as unrealistic, telling Parliament that his Ministry was working on ‘appropriate’ amendments.

He opposed the Bill saying it was providing a very simplistic solution to a very complex problem.

Consult stakeholders

The minister further argued that Mr Midiwo had not consulted stakeholders before drafting the Bill and that it lacked their input.

He said the Ministry had come up with a comprehensive Traffic (amendment) Bill. Initially, the minister said it would be difficult to try and merge the government proposals contained in a 40 plus pages on the Member’s four page Bill.

“That would be overkill and will not do justice to the debating that is required in this House,” he said Thursday.

The MP said while he appreciates the government’s effort to want to rein in the matter, there is need to be realistic on the need to move with speed to put in place measures to reduce road carnage.

He said stakeholders input will be sought before the Bill goes back to Parliament for the Third and final stage where it will be passed or rejected.

“There are many interests and concerns from stakeholders and we shall listen to them. My purpose was to ignite debate about the safety on our roads and the number of Kenyans dying on our roads every day which is something we cannot ignore as a country,” he stated.

The Gem MP said Parliament must act and fill in the gaps he said result from laxity on part of government.

“I am open, I am ready and we are going to have several consultations so that we can have a proper and more comprehensive amendments package to try and stop the trend and carelessness on our roads,” the member said.