Return of NTSA after wave of accidents raises questions on road safety policies and resource allocation

  • 21 Mar 2024
  • 2 Mins Read
  • 〜 by Jewel Tete

In a recent development, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen announced the reinstatement of National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) officials on Kenyan roads. This decision, according to the CS, follows consultations with Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki. The directive aims to reverse a 2018 order issued by former President Uhuru Kenyatta, which removed NTSA officials from Kenyan roads. 

NTSA, established through an Act of Parliament in 2012, plays a pivotal role in harmonising the operations of key road transport departments and managing the road transport sub-sector to minimise road crashes and associated fatalities. However, President Kenyatta’s decision to remove NTSA officials from the roads in 2018 raised questions regarding the rationale behind the move and whether the underlying concerns had been addressed.


The former President’s decision at the time was influenced by the failure of NTSA officials to effectively curb road accidents, despite their mandate, which was to monitor driving practices and collaborate with police officers to enforce traffic laws. According to President Kenyatta, the NTSA yielded different results in reducing road carnage. He emphasised the need for every Kenyan to play a role in cautioning reckless drivers, suggesting a lack of confidence in the effectiveness of NTSA’s presence on the roads. 


The proposed reinstatement of NTSA officials raises questions about the government’s policy approach to road safety and the allocation of resources. It highlights the need for a comprehensive strategy that addresses the root causes of road accidents while ensuring the effective utilisation of available resources. This decision also underscores the importance of evidence-based policy-making, where the effectiveness of interventions is rigorously evaluated and adjusted as necessary. Moreover, the decision to reinstate NTSA officials has budgetary implications, particularly in the context of efforts to tighten austerity measures. It raises questions about the cost-effectiveness of NTSA’s operations and whether resources could be better utilised, perhaps by investing in training for existing traffic police officers to assume these roles effectively.


The effectiveness of collaboration between NTSA officials and police officers in curbing road accidents remains a topic of discussion. NTSA officials are expected to bring specialised skills to the table, distinct from those of regular police officers, to enhance road safety. However, concerns about the integrity of such an endeavour should be addressed to ensure effectiveness and maintain public trust. While it could be argued that removing NTSA officials from the roads infringed on the authority’s mandate, it is crucial to distinguish between NTSA’s role in implementing and administering regulations and the enforcement of these regulations, which falls under the purview of police officers. The failure of traffic police to effectively enforce traffic laws may additionally necessitate a reevaluation of the training these police officers receive and the roles and responsibilities of existing officers rather than bringing in NTSA officers.


In conclusion, the reinstatement of NTSA officials on Kenyan roads raises important questions about the government’s approach to road safety. It highlights the need for a holistic and evidence-based strategy that addresses the root causes of road accidents while ensuring the effective allocation of resources. This decision underscores the importance of ongoing evaluation and adjustment of policies to achieve the desired outcomes in road safety.