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Matatu madness: Kitengela residents raise alarm

Residents blame traffic police officers for looking the other way after receiving bribes from rogue drivers

By Christine Musa

As the country continues to lose lives in road carnage, Kitengela residents are raising alarm over the danger posed to their lives the madness of public vehicles.

The picturesque atmosphere of the populous town is regularly interrupted by speeding buses and matatus, especially during rush hours, to the chagrin of residents.

School-going children are the most endangered as they attempt to cross the busy road, which has no sections for pedestrian crossing.

School buses also face a major challenge as rogue matutu and bus drivers stop to carry passengers at undesignated points.

Conductors also dangerously hang on the hooting and speeding vehicles.

Crossing the road becomes an uphill task for road users and the menace endangers other motorists as well as boda boda riders.

Residents blame traffic police officers for looking the other way after receiving bribes from rogue drivers.

In the early morning and late evening, notorious buses and matatu drivers take a toll on all other road users, making movement a challenge.

The traffic is messed up even as a group of traffic police officers erect a roadblock, where they flag down lorries as the matatus and buses break traffic rules without any intervention by the officers. The public service vehicles pick and drop passengers as they overlap, with the officers seemingly uninterested.

The officers mostly operate in groups of six. Residents say the officers only concentrate on soliciting bribes from faulty lorries and personal vehicles. The bus stage is adjacent to Kitengela police station.

“We are worried that if the matatu notoriety continues, we will lose more lives in road carnage caused by careless and dangerous driving,” said Edward Wekesa.

“Our traffic officers are to blame as the mess happens as they watch since they are given bribes,” claimed Ann Supet.

Isinya is the subcounty headquarters, and both the traffic commander and her deputy operate from the town.

One matatu operator who spoke on condition of anonymity said that under the current traffic management, for one to survive they must part with money. If not, there will be frustration and possible subjection to false charges.

In the recent past, several people have died after being knocked down by overlapping and speeding vehicles, a trend residents say could get out of hand if quick intervention is not made.

Residents have appealed to concerned stakeholders to look into the integrity of traffic officers at Kitengela.

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