CAJ News Agency (Johannesburg)

5 March 2014

Kenya: Police, Matatu Operators in Running Battles

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 — RUNNING battles ensued in Nairobi between the police and public transport (Matatu) operators who had on Wednesday morning disrupted public transport while demonstrating against increased parking fees.

The touts and drivers were protesting against the parking fees which were hike by more than 100 percent to between Sh 5 000 to Sh 8 600.

Talks between the Governor, Evans Kidero and the representatives of the matatu operators to reduce the fees were unsuccessful.

Owing to the standoff passengers have had to walk long distances, use taxis or bodabodas to get to work while others decided to stay at home.

Sam Njiru, a bodaboda passenger decried the confusion that the matatu operators had made of the town saying that the town has been rendered inaccessible due to the demonstration.

“The Matatu drivers and touts have closed the Haile Selassie-Uhuru Highway roundabout and the Museum Hill roundabout making it hard even for motorcycles to use the road,” said Njiru.

CAJ News spoke to stranded passengers at Nyayo Stadium roundabout who could not get a matatu to take them to Buruburu via City Stadium.

Sarah Nyambura a green grocer who hails from Buruburu said that she had been waiting for a matatu at the Nyayo Stadium stage for more than an hour.

“How can I walk all the way to Buruburu? It is far and a bodaboda will overcharge me,” said Nyambura.

Faith Korir, an employee with a local bank, said she was delayed by two hours.

“The matatu I was using to work had to use unconventional routes in order to get to town to avoid the rowdy touts and drivers who had blocked major roads into town. I even wonder how I will get home in the evening,” said Korir.

Attempts to get the opinion of the Transport Minister, Nairobi County, Evans Ondieki were not fruitful.

The strike was ongoing at the time of going to print with police removing the cars and Matatus sued to block roads within the city.

Most roads were however still closed.

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