Weighbridge staff sabotaging transport

A cargo truck passes through the Mariakani Weighbridge, Kilifi County.

A cargo truck passes through the Mariakani Weighbridge, Kilifi County.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

It is judicious to protect our roads, using the laws of Kenya and the East African Community (EAC), from destruction by truckers who overload their vehicles.

And since humans differ in their assessment of a situation, the courts are supposed to interpret the law and guide us as regards who is right or wrong. 

Some Kenyan weighbridge operators arbitrarily decide whose truck is carrying an excess load and then go ahead and prosecute and fine them according to their mood without giving the defendant their right to defence.

The officials manning the weighbridge hence become the police officer, prosecutor, judge and prison warder all rolled into one. It is common to hear them tell a driver that their truck is carrying 100 kilogrammes in excess and then charge them Sh100,000 instead of allowing the trucker to redistribute the weight among the axles and re-weight it as stipulated by the EAC laws. 

This creates a fertile environment for corruption, loss of perishable goods, litigation by the owners of the goods, reduced economic activity and reduced revenue for the taxman in terms of reduced fuel consumption. 

It is laudable that KeNHA has reduced the number of trucks on the roads to safeguard them from destruction by overloaded trucks but they should do it within the law.

For instance, at the Mlolongo weighbridge, a driver was accused of carrying an excess of seven tonnes, a claim he disputed. When the owner of the truck arrived to check whether the driver had added cargo onto the truck and requested the officers manning the station to re-weigh it, he was directed to pay Sh740,000 and the vehicle was detained. That is not only illegal and unnecessary but also abuse of the power given by the law. 

KeNHA is the guardian of our roads and whoever violates the load limit rules should be prosecuted in a court of law so that they can admit or deny and defend himself. It seems Section 17(2) of the East African Community Vehicle Control (EACLC) Act, which allows re-weighing of disputed excess load, is no longer operational at weighbridges.

Dr Abdikadir Noor Fidow, Nairobi

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It is saddening that some road signs—such as the zebra crossing, which is meant to indicate to pedestrians the path on which to cross the road—are no longer safe. 

The decision by many drivers to not follow the rule is the cause of incidents whereby pedestrians are knocked down by vehicles, sometimes getting seriously injured or even killed. 

It’s high time Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, together with the traffic police, ensured that reckless drivers who fail to obey road signs are heavily punished to enhance road safety.

Sylvia Vulimu, Nairobi

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Seeing the number of deaths from road crashes increase daily, motorists ought to be very observant since they are the people who cause these accidents through reckless driving. 

I suspect that many drivers have forgotten the traffic rules. Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen should order them back to driving school.

Alfred Mutua, Nairobi