Why matatu owners are against return of NTSA to the roads​

Matatu Owners Association

Matatu Owners Association national chairman Albert Karakacha (center), CEO Patricia Mutheu (left) and Richard Kanoru during a media briefing on March 20, 2024 in Nairobi.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Matatu owners say the move will sabotage their ongoing clinics with the authorities.
  • MOA says Transport CS should have consulted them before issuing the directive.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen's directive to return National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) officers to the roads has attracted the wrath of the Matatu Owners Association (MOA).

The association has said the move will sabotage their ongoing clinics in collaboration with the authorities and the police, targeting public transport operators.

While expressing their displeasure at how the Ministry of Transport has continued to ignore them, the association said the NTSA officers should be left to do their regulatory job in office.

MOA National Chairperson Albert Karakacha said during a press conference on Wednesday that the CS should have consulted them before issuing the directive.


A senior traffic police officer engages a matatu driver along Tom Mboya Street on March 20, 2024.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

“We want the minister to change the tactics in terms of what can be done going forward in the issue of road carnage. We know very well that NTSA is supposed to be regulating, they are not supposed to be on the road,” Mr Karakacha said.

“They are supposed to be making policies for the transport sector, and they are supposed to make sure that they regulate them…ensuring that all vehicles are licensed. Returning NTSA officers to the roads will not be useful.”

Fewer accidents

Mr Karakacha added that the sudden move from the CS regarding the general accidents recorded was unfortunate for the matatu sector, which recorded fewer accidents.

“If you look at the accidents in the matatu sector, the accidents are not alarming compared to lorries, compared to school transport accidents. We urge the minister that wherever there is a problem with accidents, he should not come to start pushing the matatus out of the road. We are businessmen and we need support from the same government.”

According to the association, traffic police have been cooperating well with the transport stakeholders across the country, and the return of NTSA could interfere with this.

“We thank the police because they now have the power of traffic commandant in place, and we urge the commandant to make sure that the police are on the road to enforce anything to do with traffic matters and we will support them.”

Through clinics in various parts of the country, the association is engaging members, drivers, and stakeholders to reduce accidents.


Traffic Marshalls from the Nairobi City County Government Inspectorate Department engages a matatu driver along Tom Mboya Street on March 20, 2024.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Murkomen reversed the directive to remove NTSA officers from enforcement of road safety rules following increasing cases of accidents that have claimed more than 20 lives in less than a month.

“Having consulted with my Interior and National Coordination colleague, Prof Kithure Kindiki, we are going to establish a mechanism where the previous directive to remove NTSA from enforcement will be vacated and a collaborative regime between NTSA and NPS will be put in place for a more efficient enforcement,” Murkomen said in a statement.

The association's chief executive officer, Ms Patricia Mutheu, asked the government to engage PSV industry players through a joint discussion to develop long-term solutions.

“As an association, we recognise the concerns raised by the government. However, we strongly believe that collaboration and dialogue between industry players and the government are critical in tackling issues related to road safety,” Ms Mutheu said.

While reacting to the recent tragic road accidents, Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has asked President William Ruto to intervene.

“It is so sad when we see an innocent young person, your child, cousin, sister, or uncle lying in a pool of blood simply because all institutions that are supposed to enforce law and order in the country have broken down. COTU (K) appeals for the direct intervention of the President of Kenya Dr. William Samoei Ruto as a worker number one to directly intervene and save the situation,” Atwoli said in a statement.

Atwoli suggested that Kenya should adopt the measures used in the neighbouring country Tanzania, where motorists face the law for exceeding driving limits.

“We have our neighbours who adhere to laws and strict traffic rules and laws and can finish five years and or ten years, particularly in Tanzania where all roads and shopping centres have traffic limits of driving.”

Bribery and corruption

Cotu's boss has also said that bribery and corruption, which have sadly become a norm on the roads, will not be stopped since it is a practice in the country now.

“How do you expect a driver who can bribe their way out to adhere to laws or traffic rules? How do you expect a police officer clad in uniform to control traffic rules if he can access a bribe?