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NTSA’s floppy “Nganya safe” campaign will not help end sexual harassment in PSVs

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“Nganya safe” or “My Matatu Story” campaign has come in the wake of sexual harassment awareness across the world, a deed that has for the longest time gone unpunished. The motive towards the latest campaign by NTSA will now hold accountable matatu Saccos and staff mentioned in any reported cases by commuters.

Stickers clearly stuck on the inside of PSVs reads #MyMatatuStory with a hotline number (070932000) embedded as well as NTSA mobile application app details, a platform the authority will also use to get information on harassment.

Seeing that both women and men get sexually harassed while commuting not only in the Capital Nairobi but across the country, the campaign by NTSA begs the question how harassers will be held accountable.

According to Hared Adan, Deputy Director NTSA, the application, and hotline number will help victims report these cases directly, after which the body will act within 24 hours by calling the Sacco and staff of concern after which the officials will take administrative action. The campaign goes ahead to recommend arrests of perpetrators.

Loopholes 

The step to help arrest this rampant cases is definitely for a good course but this will not work effectively to assist helpless victims. So, who will supervise and be in a position to give evidence of sexual harassment between commuters? The saccos, drivers, and conductors of these PSVs will be subjected to administrative punishment according to the PSV law. How will the authority body justify the arrest of matatu workers if this will be the only way to pass a message to harassers?

How will this punishment trickle down to the targeted perpetrators for example if the harasser is a fellow commuter who will just disappear into thin air after alighting? NTSA should further look into these loopholes before sending out such a campaign.

The most likely scenario is that a barrage of cases will clog the provided platforms, officials will slowly be worn out because arrests will be tricky to employ and considering these arrests will be made in conjunction with the Kenya Police Service. Unfortunately, it goes back to the everyday encounters where the police shamelessly ask victims what they did to provoke harassment or violation. Maybe NTSA should just stick to its day job and have an able body conduct this very sensitive campaign

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Melissa Daniels
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KENYA