Traders in Embu and Kirinyaga have once again raised concerns over deaths caused by speeding miraa vehicles along the Embu-Mwea-Nairobi road, despite patrols by traffic police.
Chamber of Commerce director Vimal Chada and prominent Kirinyaga entrepreneur Njiru Mkombozi said the speeding vehicles are killing pedestrians almost on a weekly basis.
Mkombozi, the proprietor of the one-stop Nice City shopping mall in the Ngurubani area of Mwea, said the pickups are driven recklessly at “a very high speed of over 180km/hr by young drivers who don’t care about lives”.
“These drivers do not even slow down along the populated areas,” he said.
Mkombozi said those supposed to enforce traffic rules and order along the road could be compromised due to the impunity with which the drivers operate.
He said his manager and wife were hit by one of the vehicles.
Chada said he has witnessed miraa vans being driven dangerously as traffic officers man the road, yet they do not take action other than collecting bribes.
The two, who spoke to the Star separately, urged the government to contain the menace, saying if no action is taken, the area will continue losing productive people.
Central regional coordinator Wilson Njega in March acknowledged numerous complaints have been made about the drivers’ carelessness and ordered a crackdown.
“These vehicles are driven at very high speeds and with a lot of impunity. They end up causing many accidents,” he said.
Njega directed police manning the Nyeri-Kirinyaga-Murang’a road to be extra vigilant. The drivers, he said, do not respect other motorists and ignore police orders to stop for checks.
While driving to Meru for the Madaraka Day celebrations, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet came face-to-face with miraa van drivers, and his motorcade had to give way to the speeding vans with their headlights on, disregarding traffic laws.
The incident was followed by a crackdown on the road by traffic officers.