By Jude Titus
Nominated Member of Parliament Johnson Sakaja, has urged the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to reconsider the directive outlawing the painting of graffiti on matatus and other Public Service Vehicles (PSVs).
Sakaja who is also the TNA party chairman, said that the move by NTSA to have matatus remove loud exhaust mufflers, modified loud horns and graffiti is uncalled for and will lead to loss of jobs among the already frustrated young people who are currently making a killing out the industry.
According to the MP, NTSA should have embraced dialogue with all relevant stakeholders in the industry instead making ill-advised decisions. President Uhuru Kenyatta had last year said that matatu graffiti creates employment to so many young people across the nation and the industry should be encouraged and nurtured.
“NTSA should embrace dialogue on this as the graffiti business has employed thousands of young people. It is the policy of Jubilee government to create employment and not to render our youth jobless,” Sakaja said.
The authority a week ago started a crackdown on PSVs that do not conform to the rules and regulation set. NTSA said that the use of excessive graffiti and paintings on the body of vehicles is a breach of the laws set as it appeared that some sacco names are usually not visible.
However, the NTSA Director General Francis Meja last Monday clarified that matatu owners are allowed to use innovative decorations, including pictures, words and symbols so long as they do not be offensive or obscene.
Matatu Owners Association (MOA) chairman Simon Kimutai a week ago also down played the threats of the NTSA saying it’s a clear sign of lack of coordination between the authority and the traffic police. The chair further noted that some aspects of the regulations are just out to disrupt the normal running of the matatu industry.