Kenya lawyers slam ban on tinted private cars' windows

Kenya's bar association has described Police Chief David Kimaiyo's ban on tinted windows on private cars as illegal

Kenya's bar association has described Police Chief David Kimaiyo's ban on tinted windows on private cars as illegal

NAIROBI – Kenya's bar association has described Police Chief David Kimaiyo's ban on tinted windows on private cars as "illegal," voicing its readiness to defend in court anyone whose car is impounded in line with the ban.

Inspector-General Kimaiyo had issued a statement stating that all vehicles should be stripped of tinted windows in line with a ban on reflective properties on commuter vehicles – a measure that authorities hope will help stop a string of terrorist attacks that have recently rocked the country.

However, Law Society of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Appolo Mboya told Anadolu Agency that Kimaiyo had misinterpreted the traffic law. 

"The traffic law only touches on reflective material and tints on PSVs [Public Service Vehicles]. It does not… talk about privately-owned vehicles," he said.

"It depends on how reflective it is; if it can distract another motorist. We don't understand which law he is reading," Mboya added.

The Traffic Act Cap 403 section 54 states: "A person shall not drive or operate a public service vehicle that is fitted with tinted windows or tinted windscreen."

"For the purposes of this rule, 'tinted' means shaded, cultured or treated in a manner that the persons or objects inside are not ordinarily seen clearly from outside," it adds.

Section 30 of the law stipulates: "The windscreen and windows of every motor vehicle shall be kept free from the application of any material which has, or is capable of having, reflective properties."

Many cases of motorists having their cars impounded were reported throughout the country following Kimaiyo's order to impound any vehicle still bearing tinted windows. No figure has yet been released, however, regarding the number of impounded vehicles.

"This is a public-interest issue. The Law Society of Kenya usually tackles these kinds of issues, not only on traffic matters," Mboya said.

"Members of the community who own their personal cars have also been included in this law, while it only touches on PSVs – this is illegal," he added.

"We are ready to defend in court anyone whose privately owned car has been impounded," Mboya reiterated.

Kenya has been hit by a recent spate of attacks that authorities blame on Somalia's Al-Shabaab militant group, which demands that Nairobi withdraw its troops – first dispatched in 2011 – from Somalia.

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