5 March 2014

Kenya: Kimaiyo Orders Arrest of Protesting Taxi, Matatu Crews

Police disperse matatu and taxi operators who have vowed to continue with the strike until their grievances are addressed. ( Resource: Kenya Police Disperse Striking Matatu, Taxi Operators )

Nairobi — Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo has ordered the arrest of owners and drivers of matatus and taxis that blocked roads within Nairobi to protest over increased parking fees on Wednesday.

Kimaiyo, through his Twitter handle directed police to remove the number plates of the vehicles and hand them over to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.

“Their vehicles should also be towed and taken to police stations and traffic headquarters,” he stated.

City Hall’s County Executive Officer in charge of Public Works, Roads and Transport Evans Ondieki indicated any aggrieved party was obliged to follow due process before the County Assembly for any amendments to be made.

“Yes, some operators came to City Hall and we listened to their concerns, there were some rates which were recommended but you see, we can do nothing until this has been sanctioned by the County Assembly,” he stated.

He stated that the County Government shall not put up with rogue behaviour and warned that City Hall would withdraw the licenses of operators found culpable.

“The matatu operators should stop this nonsense. We are not going to entertain hooligans on our roads. If they continue disrupting other people’s businesses, we shall have no choice but to exclude them from doing business with us. We will withdraw their licenses of operation,” he stated.

As the operators crippled transport across the city, boda bodas cashed in increasing fares into the city centre.

They charged stranded pedestrians up to Sh700 to town from various parts of the city.

Taxi drivers took their protest right outside City Hall where they barricaded roads.

The busy Thika Superhighway was among those affected as matatu crews barricaded the road at Pangani, bringing traffic to a halt.

Queues stretched back several kilometres as motorists were caught unawares.

Jogoo Road also experienced similar delays as matatus formed convoys into town and refused to allow other motorists to pass through.

Commuters were forced to walk into the city centre as motorists caught in the chaos stood outside their cars awaiting the police to act.

Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru warned that they would move in and restore order.

“We will use all means to clear blocked roads, including force. They know (where Nairobi Governor Evans) Kidero’s office is, they should take their grievance there instead of inconveniencing innocent motorists and other Kenyans,” Kimaru told Capital FM News.

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