By Alfred Mosoti
Road madness, a product of impunity, lacuna in law, unwillingness and/or inability to execute existing laws
It is unfortunate that many are so obsessed with the ‘’Haki yetu and Haki yangu mantra’’ (Our and my rights cliché) to the extent of forgetting that rights goes hand in hand with responsibilities!
Nevertheless Truth be told: Rights without Responsibilities and rights while right without responsibilities only result to confusion.
Back to the main agenda: The anarchy on our roads is a product of conspiracy among three main demons namely:
A lacuna in law, outright impunity and unwillingness and/or inability to enforce existing legislations.
The lacuna in law
There are many areas hazy areas regarding what the law stipulates and what actually happens on the ground.
For instance: ‘The law (Traffic Act) restricts the ‘Right of Way and exemption from Speed limits privileges’ only to vehicles from four entities; namely: Ambulances, Police, Fire Extinguishers and Presidential escort with blaring sirens.
However, this list seems to be ever expanding by the day. Hearses and their accompanying fleet, Cash on Transit (CIT) van and its companion chase car, Miraa trunks, Kenya Prison Service vehicles with no sirens have imposed themselves on the ‘sacred’ list!
It is unfortunate that Kenyans are largely a lawless lot Ugandan and Tanzanians, Rwandans and Burundians counterparts.
Our general repulsion to laws more so our disregard to common sense becomes worse and perilous while on the road. Our mistakes range from tossing ripe banana peelings on tarmac to overtaking at restricted road sections.
Despite having a deep desire to live in a better nation, most of us aren’t willing to nurture good habits amongst ourselves. https://www.ceoafrica.co.ke/
No wonder, the chagrin of the philosophy of one of the former USA president, JF. Kennedy; we are obsessed with asking what the nation has done for us instead of asking ourselves what we have done for it!
Unwillingness and/or inability to execute laws.
It is worth noting that Kenya does not have shortage of proper legislation, guidelines and policies but rather a shortage of patriots.
By and large most challenges on the road including the exponential rise in road carnage is largely a product of our individual and collective unwillingness and/or refusal to abide by existing laws.
We seem to be fond of shouting ourselves horse while demanding for our rights but, ironically go dead silent when we are reminded of our responsibilities or caught pants down.
To bring the point home, most passengers more so in upcountry; are often willing to board an over loaded vehicle and sit on sambaza ( a wooded piece of wood inserted between two seats) yet they vilify the police foe taking bribes.
The fact that a traffic police officer who insists on executing: The official zero tolerance to corruption policy; by booking any road offender (motorist and bodaboda) regardless of their stature in society and wealth would not survive hence either transferred, framed or even murdered; speaks volumes about our attitude about road safety. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ytxStoBJFY
How can one who is part of the mess complain of other players in the mess? It is disgusting that passengers who are always complain of madness within the matatu sector yet they passively condone with it!
With regard to the inability to execute the law, the buck largely falls on the feet of the authorities in the transport sector namely: The police,NTSA and other stakeholders.
However, their inabilities to execute the same laws and policies can largely be attributed to passsngers and matatu crew unwillingness to cooperate with the criminal-justice system.
On inability to execute the law primarily falls on the feet of policy implementers, various departments and ministries in government. Where are we accept that it is a constitutional right for everyone to trade, when such rights infringe rights of others the state has a moral and constitutional mandate of drawing and enforcing the separation line.
Unfortunately, it is with the enforcement that hell often breaks loose and in the process rights of many more innocent Kenyans are broken, yet at the same time refusal to act is wrong. In short, the implementing arm of government-the police would be blamed either way the narrative goes.
The constant confrontation between police and matatu crew for playing loud and lewd music, blocking others motorist while beckoning for commuters, traders displaying their merchandise and bodabodas parking their bikes on walksways are unfortunate but excellent exaples.
The writer is a practicing journalist and a freelancer as well contributor to CEO Africa content. firstname.lastname@example.org