Friday, 26 June 2015

Does NTSA realise it could be impoverishing many for as long as it keeps Embassava suspended?

Granted the public transport sector in Kenya requires tighter regulation and enforcement of laws to keep Kenyans safe. But does the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) realise that it could be impoverishing very many people for as long as it keeps Embassava suspended?

Here is a succinct background to the story: A bus belonging to one of the SACCOs that run public transport in Kenya Embassava SACCO had a gruesome accident on Jogoo Road in Nairobi two days ago. Reactively, the NTSA moved in to investigate the accident and the SACCO. The NTSA then decided that the SACCO had not been complying with NTSA regulations – particularly employment regulations of their drivers and conductors. It thus suspended operations of all Embassava SACCO buses and instructed the Nairobi Traffic commandant to impound any Ebassava SACCo vehicle spotted on the road. See story: NTSA suspends Embassava 

Anyhow, laws and government policy are enacted and enforced for the common good of improving the lives of citizens. It would be unfortunate if enforcement of policy rudely fails to consider the implications on the lives of the people such laws are working to improve.

There is a concept I learnt in my Urban Development classes - that when government is unable to create jobs (like the one in Nairobi Kenya), the least it should do is avoid destroying existing ones, especially informal sector jobs.

Thus far, the hundreds of Embassava Sacco buses remain grounded. The implications are far reaching. Consider the incomes foregone by many of the bus owners who probably have complied with NTSA and traffic regulations. Consider the employment opportunities currently hanging on the balance. Consider what the many people employed by the buses in SACCO are currently doing to earn their daily bread?

Imagine the working Kenyan who took out a loan to buy a bus that's now not generating revenue - two days in a row yet is expected not to default on their installments.
Imagine the bus driver who won’t take home food today?
Imagine the bus conductor who will probably resort to funny ways of getting his income for today?
Imagine the 'mama mboga' who depends on these touts and drivers for her sales.

Government officers must recognise that enforcing regulations and government policy or legislation affect the lives of ordinary people in profound ways. There is a sense of arrogance and combativeness that NTSA and traffic police exude that is unethical and insensible. People are bound to commit traffic offences, that is why the NTSA exists, that is why traffic police are paid by tax payers.

I personally do not believe that NTSA and traffic police never can amicably agree on how to penalise traffic offenders without meting havoc on public transport users like Embakasi people have been experiencing in the past two days.

There must be better ways to enforce public transport safety regulations without destroying jobs and jeopardising people's livelihoods! NTSA must consider implications of enforcing public transport safety regulations on the lives on ordinary citizens.

1 comment:

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