Matatu Owners Blame Traffic Cops For Gilgil Accident That Killed 20

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Matatu owners have said laxity among traffic police is to blame for the Saturday accident that claimed more than 20 lives on Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

Association chairman Simon Kimutai said on Monday that the Gilgil accident could have been avoided if police at roadblocks on the route acted.

“Police did not flag down the bus for speeding or for operating on the wrong route. It is unfortunate Kenyans died as a result of their negligence.”

Kimutai told a press conference in Nairobi that the bus went through five police roadblocks before it was involved in the accident.

The Githurai 45 Sacco bus was carrying passengers to western yet it is only licenced to ply the Githurai route.

On Saturday, NTSA director general Francis Meja said the vehicle had been removed from the sacco membership list over disciplinary issues.

Meja said the its driver “recklessly” overtaking a trailer resulting in a head-on collision with an oncoming truck.

 “We have roadblocks at Kabete, Kikuyu, Uplands, Naivasha and Gilgil. We cannot explain how [he was allowed to keep going].”
The wreckage of the bus that was involved in an accident that killed 20 people near Soysambu on Nakuru Gilgil road, May 13, 2017. /FILE

The chairman said police have become “tax collectors” on the highway and no longer inspect vehicles for safety of passengers.

“The sector is exploited by police officers on the highways, county government askaris and regular police,” Meja said.

“The roadblocks on the highways operate as cash collection points, not inspection points.”

Kimutai called for speedy investigations and action against all officers who were manning the highway on the day of the accident.

Admitting the sector is plagued by rogue drivers and conductors, he called for more training to instill discipline.

“Unlike the railway training institute that for train crew, the matatu sector has no training institute or centre,” he noted.

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