The new Mombasa traffic rules were yesterday nullified and de-gazetted by the county Assembly via order paper no 002 of the day, during the second sitting of the sixth session.
According to the new traffic rules that were put in place last week, most of the major roads had been turned into one way with an aim to ease traffic and reduce travel times for motorists. A move that brought chaos and huge traffic snarl-up in the town center.
The decision by the county assembly came barely hours after the county executive for transport Taufiq Balala bowed to pressure from transport stakeholders and the public to suspend the new traffic rules.
The public heard an outcry from the residents, matatu operators, other stakeholders, and the political class who were all calling for a review of the new traffic system.
The motion was moved by Mji wa Kale Member of County Assembly Murfadh Hamud and seconded by his Kipevu Ward counterpart Faith Mwende.
Moving the motion, Hamud said that the executive failed to involve either the Transport Committee or the assembly before coming up with the new traffic rules.
He noted that since the imposition of the orders, traffic congestion had exacerbated, public fares increased, the cost of doing business had gone up and even death of passengers and pedestrians had allegedly been reported.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, I beg to move the following motion, that gazette notices no 547 and 548 published by the county executive committee member for transport, infrastructure, and public works purporting to close temporarily certain National Highways and County Roads as well as restricting movement of heavy goods vehicles be hereby nullified and be de-gazetted,” said Hamud.
Hamud said that the continued implementation of the law would be a serious breach of the law because the orders and decisions were ultra vires, defective and null since the gazetted order which is a statutory instrument in law was not tabled and approved by the county assembly of Mombasa.
Making his contributions to the motion, Mikindani MCA Juma Renson Thoya and Nominated MCA Fatma Kushe said that the CECM failed to involve the committee.
They said that the new traffic directives had disrupted transport and businesses in the county causing loss to the business community.
They said that Balala should be invited to the Assembly to explain what he had intended to achieve with the directive.
They argued that the move by Balala was going to create a bad precedent for other CECM’sin the county, adding that ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
The MCA’s apologized to Mombasa residents for the transport confusion during the seven-day trial of the new traffic system, calling on the county to compensate the families of those who are said to have lost lives as a result of the traffic directive.