Kenyans could not contain their joy on Tuesday after president Uhuru Kenyatta ordered officers from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) off the highways following a public outcry.
Uhuru said that henceforth only the traffic police will be responsible for the enforcement of traffic rules.
“From now onwards, NTSA officers will not be on the roads as the responsibility to enforce the traffic regulations lies squarely on the police. Let police ensure that all rules are adhered to,” Uhuru said.
NTSA has been on the receiving end of a ferocious public backlash especially following the alarming number of fatal accidents that have claimed hundreds of lives. The agency has been accused of overstepping its mandate in addition to being corrupt and inefficient.
According to the public, NTSA officials have been more focused on harassing motorists more than provide solutions to road safety.
Uhuru said that NTSA will only be tasked with providing policy guidelines.
In an opinion article titled NTSA inefficiency is a result of inappropriate mandate, which was published by the Daily Nation in January 2017, Lukoye Atwoli, Associate Professor and Dean, Moi University School of Medicine outlined NTSA’S ineptitude.
“There are no ground-breaking studies commissioned or conducted by the Authority on highway design and its implications on road safety, or on the factors associated with risky driver behaviour and how to mitigate them. There are no significant policy innovations designed by NTSA, and their typical reaction after a road crash has been to mount more road bumps and to ban the concerned public service vehicle operators,” Atwoli said in the article.
Atwoli further poked holes in the composition of NTSA board saying that it was deficient.
“The main deliverable of this Authority is a safe and efficient road transport system across the country. In order to deliver on this mandate, one would expect the composition of the board of this Authority to reflect the functions for which it was set up. Looking at the NTSA board, one begins to understand why the road transport sector is in such a shambles.
For a board that is meant to oversee research, policy, and strategy development in order to ensure road safety, the composition is telling. One would be forgiven for thinking that it is a board set up to raise funds from road-users, and to uphold and enforce the interests of “special interest groups” (read matatu owners!), rather than to engage in any higher cerebral activity,“ the article reads in part.
Atwoli concluded the article by maintaining that; “The Authority should be re-engineered into a research and policy advisory body, and leave the police to do the job of law enforcement,”