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Road Impunity Sponsored By NTSA And Why The Body Is To Blame For Accident Deaths

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A man walks past Matunda Bus that crashed with a truck killing 36 people at Migaa.

December has been a black month for Kenya, according to available statistics, at least 250 were killed across the country in series of road accidents. So serious the cases got that considerations have been out to make road carnage a national disaster. The last time Kenya lost so many people of that magnitude was during Garissa University terror attack where about 147 students were slaughtered by Al Shabaab terrorists.

On the 30th at Migaa along the dreaded Salgaa hotspot, a crash between a truck and Bus would leave 36 people including truck driver lost their lives in a head-on collision accident. The road and hotspot have claimed so many lives in the last weeks but it was the Migaa’s incident that caused a major uproar online. As usual, games of shifting blames took precedence with the authorities finding a shield in blaming reckless driving as the core cause of accidents in that road, on the other end, public pointed fingers at the authorities even demanding for NTSA to be disbanded as it underperformed on its mandate.

Numerous surveys have been conducted on the fatal road with a double carriage being proposed as the road needs redesigning. Most drivers using that route Eldoret-Nairobi are a special kind who gives zero regards to human lives, overtaking and driving wrong sides at devil’s speed. Migaa’s accident shows the driver of the bus was you going at high speed while making a blind overtake and that’s how it went head-on with the truck killing dozens instantly.

Most of the drivers operate with maximum impunity, this fuels reckless driving hence putting passengers lives at risk. Breaking traffic laws has been normalized given the fact that it is not punishable. Corruption is primarily the catalyst in the road impunity exhibited, often you’ll see drivers pulling dangerous moves with zero regards to traffic laws. After all, if they’re unfortunate to be caught by police or NTSA, a small bribe will put the matter to rest.

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As long as NTSA will be seen and operate as an extortion racket rather than policy enforcement body then we’re likely to undergo cycles of the same scenarios. An accident occurs, a knee-jerk directive given, soon forgotten and operations back to normal until the next set of deaths.

About 80% of accidents are blamed on drivers whose road impunity is directly linked to soft policy enforcement grounds laid by bribe living NTSA and the police. If NTSA was genuinely tough on enforcing their regulations and emphasize road safety as opposed to prioritizing fines and bribes. It doesn’t make sense when for example NTSA officials hide in the bush with speed monitoring gadgets to nab those overspeeding.

Ordinarily, the speed cameras are openly placed with clear signs, in this case, the driver is forewarned and knows he’s under watch. Hiding in the bush with the machine only means preying on speeding cars for fines rather than instilling speed discipline. Reckless driving is almost inconsequential in Kenya, drivers care less knowing they’ll still have their licenses and back to the road.

NTSA official at his hideout with the speed monitoring machine.

NTSA has a database of all Saccos and drivers, what we need to do is having a no-nonsense approach in instilling these rules. In the case of PSVs, NTSA can be as ruthless as not only blacklisting reckless drivers blocking them from getting employed elsewhere but also suspending their licenses and in worst cases revoke the license. The moment breaking any traffic law including blind overtaking, overspeeding, overloading is seen to be consequential then the discipline of drivers will automatically take precedence. So far, we can write and talk but much won’t change the only punishment for breaking a traffic rule is dropping 50bob note on the ground while passing the roadblock.

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NTSA need to seriously consider being precautionary instead of reactionary, most the quick interventions have been more of ridiculous. However, this is tactfully done to shift the focus from their incompetence, escapism is charming in their doctrine. Inter estate busses were as well authorized to do long distance travels, these Githurai-CBD bound busses don’t have the licenses to do long distances but they were allowed obviously on bribery grounds. With inexperienced and unfamiliar with the roads drivers, they killed many and just I most cases, NTSA feigned license revoke and the busses went back to normal routes.

How things are done in right systems, road signs warning on speed cameras.

In a nutshell, it is a collective responsibility for the driver, passengers, authorities to ensure lives are safe on the road but it is the ultimate mandate of NTSA, police to ensure the roads are safe, vehicles roadworthy, traffic rules are adhered to. If there’s a failure then the backstops somewhere and that’s NTSA.

Have the speed cameras placed and catch the rogue drivers easily, basic traffic rules like seatbelts(when was even the last time you used or saw one) speed governors need to be adhered to. Point I’m pressing on is, NTSA can save more lives of they focus on key mandates instead of doing things the wrong way as now. The last I checked the board composition of NTSA, it was rather disappointing and pointed as to why they pop up with some weird directives. A board without engineers and road experts instead businessmen, you can can’t expect much really.

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If the PSVs drivers, NTSA, and police public love affair persist then we can keep talking like a mortician to his clients, we can continue administering malarial treatment on an infected wound; waste of time. It should be seen effective if the directives minimises accidents though that hasn’t been the case in recent times, otherwise, NTSA can give daily directives that if they don’t enforce, it will only be clear that some directives are only given to broaden the bribery, fine surface.

Corruption on the road promotes road impunity thereby killing more people daily.


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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Send me tips to [[email protected]]

Opinion

Squandering Goodwill: DPP Noordin Haji Should Choose If He’s Working For Uhuru Or Kenyans.

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DPP Noordin Haji.

Yesterday Kenyans were disgusted to see our mother Philomena Mwilu being arraigned in court over frivolous charges, even when the real criminals are just moonlighting across 5-Star hotels in Kenya.

This comes under the back-drop of last year’s incident, where her driver was shot dead, by elements believed to be working with the Jubilee regime last year, something which indicates that she’s a marked woman.

The response to this persecution has been overwhelming with top lawyers lining up in the defence of the Deputy Chief Justice, with prominent critics like David Ndii and Miguna Miguna casting aspersions on the character and professional impropriety of the DPP.

That this case had been purposely “leaked” to Githeri Media Nation Media Group, shows that it was being manipulated from Statehouse, because the notorious media house editorial policy is drawn up from there.

The DPP and the DCI need to figure out of they are working for President Uhuru Kenyatta or the Constitution of Kenya. Uhuru can be a very petty and vindictive character who reacts on the slightest impulse, and his input to such important offices can be catastrophic. We remember vividly his threat to the Judiciary when he yelled publicly under the influence of alcohol that “we shall revisit”.

We cannot have someone who is as emotional and irrational as Uhuru, tainting the independent offices of the DPP and DCI.

I also remember when Mike Sonko was setting up Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, he expressly said that Uhuru is controlling/manipulating arrests. What nonsense is this?

DCJ Mwilu when she appeared in court while flanked with a team of 32 senior lawyers led by SC Orengo, Khaminwa, Kalonzo amongst others.

DPP cannot purport to arrest the Deputy Chief Justice, as Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru cat-walks free, as she writes intimidating letters to the EACC, as if they report to her. Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) the most corrupt institution in Kenya, cannot purport to be pursuing Philomena Mwilu over peanuts, yet sham “investors” like Vimal Shah and Somali businessmen are evading taxes in the billions.

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If you want goodwill, go for known villains. Don’t lump fictitious charges on soft-targets who are victims of the political alignments in the country. It is Kenya’s taxes which are funding these offices, not Brookside Dairies or Heritage Hotels money.

We won’t clap for you when petty thieves of 900,000 Kshs are arrested by your office, when known thieves are walking scot free. The DPP cannot commit his scarce resources to chase for petty thieves of scams below 10 Million and expect public goodwill.

People must now justify their continued stay in office. When you commit over 10 officers to hunt down 6 suspects who embezzled 900,000, does that even make economic sense? Can you spend such expensive man-hours chasing for peanuts? DPP and DCI you need to get your act together.

The people who have “eaten” Kenyans money are well-known. They have built flats, malls, stashed the money abroad and hidden it in their houses. You should be giving us the progress of the recovery of these assets first, and not chasing petty thieves of 900,000. We won’t allow our resources to be wasted in pursuit of petty offenders.

Tell us how far you’ve reached in repossession of Evans Kidero’s assets. Tell us which Governor is going to be successfully tried and convicted. Nab the MP’s who were bribed to endorse a sugar report. Go for the people who brought down Chase Bank and Imperial Bank Limited. We want to see blood of the upper-echelon of corruption.

We are being told that Deputy President William Ruto’s PA Farouk Kibet is being arrested on Friday. That one will be a welcomed image because he represents the face of corruption and impunity. But now when you chase a motherly-figure like Philomena Mwilu, you’re eroding all the gains you’ve made so far. We want Alpha-Females who walk as if they own Kenya, to be apprehended.

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My only advise to the DPP and the DCI is to choose your battles wisely. If you needed to shake the Judiciary, you could’ve started with the judge Tonui who took a 200 million bribe from Evans Kidero.

Secondly, those independent office-holders should desist from being used by the petty and emotional clowns working at Statehouse. We are in this current mess because Uhuru consciously allowed corruption to thrive, yet now he’s acting as if he doesn’t know where it came from. Selective-amnesia.

If Uhuru wants to clean up the mess he created, he must do so within the confines of the constitution and not under the influence of his political-biases and petty emotions. Kenyans have no time for his tantrums and petty emotions. His cheap theatrics should be restricted to White House, where he unleashed his fake St. Mary’s British accent.


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Opinion

Daily Nation’s Role In Arrest Of DCJ Philomena Mwilu As David Ndii Claims NIS Edits DN Stories Nowadays

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NMG’s Editor-in-Chief Tom Mshindi.

From Monday, one thing has been consistent with the Nation Media Group’s DN. The splashing headlines have been on a roll. Leading writers at Daily Nation; Mutuma Mathiu and John Kamau are the familiar faces in this. In what is a clearly well orchestrated plot to build a narrative and set an agenda, the popular newspaper seem to have been favorited in this ploy. Media enjoys the monopoly of agenda setting.

Monday, the splash headline on Daily Nation read, ‘Supreme Court judge targeted in corruption purge’

The Monday headline when the narrative started building up.

“A Supreme Court judge faces imminent arrest and prosecution for corruption in a devastating and dramatic escalation of the government’s campaign against graft. The arrest of such a high-ranking judicial staff, unprecedented in Kenya’s history, will be the culmination of weeks of investigations into brazen corruption at the Judiciary, and is likely to send shock waves throughout the institution.” It read.

“The Nation has followed this case for months after it learnt that the judge had been reported by the Kenya Revenue Authority to the Director of Public Prosecutions over the suspicious movement of large sums of money in and out of bank accounts.” The part of six months got me giggling.

They had the fine details of the entire case probably on tips from the DCI or ODPP who were on top of the case. How they got the information is not important what’s key is, they did not only instill fear in the judiciary corridors but at that particular moment they had put entire Supreme Court bench on public trial before the court of public opinion.

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On Tuesday, same writers, different headline ‘Drama at Supreme Court over arrest of lawyer and top judge’

The Tuesday headline full with all judges faces on the front page.

While this might look harmless to a layman’s perspective viewpoint, I find it alarming that entire bench was on the spot, it paints the picture of a corrupt Supreme Court which is not only defaming but undermining authority and legitimacy of the highest court in the land. I don’t know if the editors had that in mind or maybe they did and a narrative had to keep building up.

On the second day running, the public was being prepared for the eminent arrest of the judge and the narrative was being built to paint a totally corrupt judge even when the entire case hadn’t been tabled. It’s called building perceptions, you don’t necessarily need to tell the truth, you can sway opinions with anything that suits your agenda.

On Tuesday, DCJ Philomena Mwilu was arrested within the precinct of the court which again in my view wasn’t the best thing to do as it doesn’t only undermine the authority of the court but also sends intimidating messages to other judges who might now not want to cross paths with the executive.

Mwilu now faces numerous counts of stealing, abuse of office and failure to pay taxes. “The evidence in our possession, reveals that Lady Justice Mwilu abused her office for personal gain; accepted a gift in the form of money in circumstances which undermined public confidence in the integrity of her office (and) conducted herself in disregard of the law,” DPP Noordin Haji said in a statement.

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“In view of the above, I have concluded that the evidence is sufficient with a reasonable prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest that criminal proceedings should be preferred,” the DPP concluded.

Wednesday, the Daily Nation was once again at it shouting the fall of the DCJ.

Mwilu finally fell according to the DN

Again, this was not only done in bad faith but part of the narrative to defame the DCJ according to my thinking, look, there’s a presumption in the courts that one is assumed innocent until proven otherwise but here’s Daily Nation smartly executing a case in the courts of public opinion. To me this is character assassination on the person of Mwilu.

I find it exposing that the newspaper would overlook the presumptions of the court to prosecute and convict without facts. There are rumors that there’s a succession plan underway since the Chief Justice Maraga is three years shy of his retirement age hence the need to find a favorable replacement. As the DCJ, Mwilu is poised to take over but she is presumed to be a tough nut and system unfriendly, maybe that’s why she need to get out of the way.

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David Ndii seems to have an idea on who’s behind Daily Nation’s Headlines. This is not the first time accusations are being thrown at Daily Nation for being a mouthpiece of the state and if it can be proved then it would be unfortunate for such a big scale media house being reduced to a government mouthpiece and a propaganda channel.


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Opinion

New Energy Felt As ODPP, DCI And NPS Gets More Active And Engaging On Social Media

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DPP Noordin Haji.

Social media is changing lives they say and that’s becoming clearer by the day as corporates come to the reality that without a social media presence, running a business is like a beautiful girl walking in the dark, nobody notices her.

Public institutions are also not remaining behind as they fully embrace social media in service delivery. I’ve been observing and can’t help notice and express my satisfaction with more specifically the Office Of Director of Public Prosecutions, the Directorate Of Criminal Investigations and the National Police Service.

Evidently, these accounts are under new management given the direction they’re taking and amount of work they’re putting in. ODPP is the most active in my view and a news hub, a good number of cases that previously would go unattended to are now being picked up in a snap.

The relationship between the ODPP and DCI especially on Twitter is really amazing and also I should put in EACC, they’re doing well too on Twitter as far as updating the nation on anti corruption news is go concerned.

Twitter for instance, is a news hub and a powerful communication tool, many cases have been prosecuted off Twitter noise. We’re blessed to have ODPP that’s very active and always picks up most cases raised and a DCI that immediately picks up the cases on directions from DPP and the whole coordination is amazing.

For time now, Kenyans perceive the police as unfriendly and often, they keep their ways apart as much. I’ve realized the NPS handler is actively changing that perception by being friendly and giving a sense of cops are also human and friends.

I just like how they’re engaging the public with some sense of humor you know, Kenya is tough For is all so who wouldn’t do with a bag of laughter? Whoever made the decision to ease the muscles and have such kind of engagements to work on the public and police bond did a good thing. When it comes to security, coordination is key between the two, lack of which things are bound to go wrong way.

Government institutions are actively getting onboard on social media which is the future and that’s a good thing, we’re all snack news consumers, we want everything on our phones. Dealing with crimes, you have to follow and admire the work of the trio; ODPP, DCI and the NPS. Timeliness, consistency, engagements the recipes that’s msking the Noordin, Kinoti teams stand out. There are other public institutions doing great too but this not your post, you’ll get a mention next time.


Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram
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