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Police to remain longer on roads

The replacement of police by traffic marshals on roads which had been scheduled for March 1 has been postponed indefinitely.

There are very few marshals to handle Nairobi’s traffic with City Hall grappling to address the shortage.

According to the county executive committee member for transport Evans Ondieki, there are only 110 marshals against an optimal requirement of 800.

Earlier in the month, Governor Evans Kidero said the digital control system would take over traffic control aided by the marshals but neither is ready.

Ready to withdraw

“We are recruiting 600 marshals who will be trained for a month.

That means we cannot do away with the police. The process will now have to be implemented in phases,” said Mr Ondieki.

About Sh32 million has been set aside for the training. The control system suffered damage at the Nyayo National Stadium roundabout and at the University Way-Waiyaki Way junction as a result of vandals and rioting University of Nairobi students.

Although City Hall will foot the repair bills, Mr Ondieki said they would be demanding a reimbursement of Sh9 million each from the University of Nairobi and the contractor who had not yet handed over the system by the time of the destruction.

The start-stop changeover has been planned since last year but the county government has been slow in putting its affairs in order.

Nairobi traffic commandant Edward Mwamburi said they welcomed any help in managing traffic.

“We had no deadline to remove officers from the roads and we are not under the county government,” he said.

Previously in an interview with the Sunday Nation, Mr Mwamburi indicated that he was ready to withdraw his officers once ordered to.

He has also said it would be better if the marshals took over so that the officers could concentrate on law enforcement.

The recruitment of the previous batch of marshals was tainted with claims of corruption with senior City Hall officials and Assembly members said to have been handed slots to fill with cronies and kin.

The marshals could, however, be good news for motorists who have for a long time had to contend with corrupt traffic police. The county will set up a toll free number to report corrupt marshals.

“Being caught receiving bribes is enough ground for immediate dismissal,” said Mr Ondieki.

He added that the county was planning to buy 20 motorbikes and 20 cars, half of which will be used by the police with the rest to used by marshals.

Fifteen dogs will also be used in major bus termini to bolster security.

According to Dr Kidero, Nairobi has an estimated 700,000 vehicles.