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NTSA back on roads in fresh crackdown on unruly drivers

Wednesday October 2 2019

NTSA officials Nyeri

NTSA officials and traffic police officers during a crackdown at the Marua junction along the Nyeri-Nairobi highway on October 1, 2019. PHOTO | NICHOLAS KOMU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NICHOLAS KOMU
By NICHOLAS KOMU
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The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) is back on the roads, 10 months after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the agency to withdraw its officers from Kenyan highways.

In circular issued last week by the Interior ministry, NTSA has been directed to join the traffic police department in a new crackdown that started on Tuesday.

The decision was reportedly arrived at following consultations with the Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i after concerns were raised over the rising number of road crashes.

ROAD FATALITIES

NTSA data shows that the total number of road fatalities shot up by about 15 percent from 2,021since last year.

At least 2,326 people have been reported to have died on Kenyan roads in the last 12 months.

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As of Tuesday and Wednesday, NTSA officers had been deployed to conduct impromptu checks on all motor vehicles along the Nyeri-Nairobi highway.

But NTSA will work in a different capacity.

The Nation has learnt that the agency has been instructed to leave all enforcement work to the police.

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

The role of NTSA in the fresh crackdown expected to last until January will be purely technical support, sources within the agency have revealed.

“Our job will only be to guide the police on the offences and traffic malpractices to look out for. We cannot arrest or order a vehicle to stop. NTSA is only there to support,” an official at NTSA who declined to be named as he is not authorised to speak to journalists told the Nation on Wednesday.

In January, President Kenyatta issued a directive ordering all NTSA officers off the roads owing to a rise in road crashes.

The agency was at the time under pressure due to the high road fatalities and was also being accused of corruption and impunity in its enforcement role.