Rollout of Digital Number Plates Faced with Hurdle in New Court Battle

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The rollout of the new digital license plates, launched by Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i, has been in limbo after a lawyer went to court to block its introduction.

In his petition filed before the Nakuru Supreme Court, Peter Okiro asked the court to quash the government’s directive requiring motorists to replace the new plates within 18 months from October 1.

Okiro argued that the plates were rolled out without public participation and targeted vehicles that already had number plates.

He further argued that CS Matiang’i and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) violated the constitution’s provisions on public participation required in changes to government policies.

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CS Fred Matiang’i to take the new digital license plates into use at NTSA offices in Nairobi on August 30, 2022

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“The directive requiring the compulsory replacement of registration plates for motor vehicles already registered at the expense of owners is not supported by law, is arbitrary, irrational, unreasonable, unfair, punitive and ignorant of consumer rights, as it was drafted without proper involvement of the public,” he says in his petition.

He therefore urged Judge Hillary Chemitei to find the directive unconstitutional.

The petition also noted that motorists should renounce Ksh3,000 to replace the old plates with new ones with enhanced security features.

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The roll-out of the digital plates will begin on October 1, with priority being given to the KDK series.

Earlier, during the launch of the new license plates, Matiang’i explained that the measure was intended to protect car owners who often lose their cars to syndicates.

“We do this because we want to address the security of our country. We want to help other agencies to function well, improve the financial sector and improve transparency,” Matiang’i explained at the time.

In particular, the rollout of the digital plates could be hit with another lawsuit after Busia senator Okiya Omtatah made a mistake in the government’s procurement system.

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“What is shocking is that I received a particular memo dated September 6, addressed to the Director General, from the Director of Registration and Licensing.

The letter requested permission for the use of direct purchasing. If these license plates had already been made for use and samples had been launched, why was there a need for procurement?” he argued.

Activist Okiya Omtatah will present his petition to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, August 31, 2022.

Activist Okiya Omtatah will present his petition to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, August 31, 2022.

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