Transport crisis in Mombasa as ‘moral policeman’ cracks the whip on matatus


• The Film Classification Board officers demanded licences for mounted screens with those with none fined Sh2,000 on the spot.

• CEO Ezekiel Mutua had last week warned of the crackdown after receiving complaints from the public about the obscene content on screens mounted on PSVs.

Mombasa commuters on Monday woke up to a transport crisis as the Kenya Film Classification Board officers cracked down on public service vehicles suspected to be purveyors of immorality.

The officers demanded licences for the mounted screens. Anybody without the licence was fined Sh2,000 on the spot.

Many matatu operators chose to withdraw their vehicles from the road, creating a transport crisis on among other roads the Mombasa-Malindi highway.

Those found playing videos glamourising immorality potentially face a Sh100,000 fine or a prison term of five years or both.

The massive jam on the Mombasa-Malindi highway stretched for more 3km both ways.

The KFCB officers in their luminous green reflector jackets seized the opportunity to sensitise the operators and the public on the reason for the crackdown.

Most of the operators complained that they were not the owners of the vehicles and that they are not aware of the anti-pornography rules.

Commuters said they were inconvenienced. Many reached their places of work late.

“We have been in this traffic jam for about an hour now. We don’t know what we will tell our bosses,” Juma Kassim complained.

There were long queues at bus stops after word spread about the crackdown.

“I don’t know what is happening. I thought it was the normal morning rush that makes matatus scarce but today we have stood here for longer than normal,”  Alice Kamau said at Fisheries stage where she was stranded on the Bamburi Mwisho-Mtambo road.

KFCB chief executive officer Ezekiel Mutua said the board had received numerous complaints from the public that the PSVs showed obscene content on the screens.

“Most of these vehicles are showing very dirty content, which parents and their children are forced to watch,” Mutua said.

Vehicles with mounted screens are automatic exhibitors and must be regulated under the Films and Stage Plays Act, he said.

“It (the Act) says clearly that no content shall be exhibited to the public unless it has been rated by the board,” Mutua said.

The crackdown was nationwide covering Nairobi, Nyeri, Kisumu, Nakuru and Embu counties.

“The idea is to protect the public from the insanity and madness that we are seeing on the roads. We want to bring sanity back to the public transport sector,” Mutua said.

He regretted that some of the PSVs have been turned into dens of immorality and prostitution.

School buses have also been banned from tuning to five radio stations in the country.

“We have told school administrators not to tune in to these five radio stations in school buses,” Mutua said.

The CEO had last week said that the crackdown on the PSVs would start this week.

KFCB's Victor Okello issues a license to matatu driver Wycliff Osiemo at Bamburi Mtambo in Mombasa during a crackdown on Monday.

OBLIGING KFCB’s Victor Okello issues a license to matatu driver Wycliff Osiemo at Bamburi Mtambo in Mombasa during a crackdown on Monday.

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