Kenya: Matatu Owners Warn of 'Consequences' Over Nairobi CBD Ban

Commuters walk to work in the CBD after being dropped off at the Railways terminus on December 3, 2018.
3 December 2018

Nairobi — The Matatu Owners Association is warning of adopting a drastic measure if the Nairobi County Government fails to rescind its decision to ban matatus from the Central Business District.

MOA Chairperson Simon Kimutai says stakeholders were not consulted before Governor Mike Sonko's directive took effect Monday morning.

Speaking when he addressed a press conference, Kimutai wondered how banning 5 per cent of vehicles accessing the CBD will address traffic congestion in East Africa's largest city.

"There should be a room for consultations. If this decision is not made quickly, we will go back to our members to discuss this. It will not be beautiful. It will be more painful," he said while extending a conditional olive branch to the Nairobi County Government.

Already, a Nairobi court has since declined to issue an order lifting the ban until Thursday when there will be an inter-parties hearing.

Kimutai said such an order cannot be affected without supporting infrastructure and alternative means for commuters.

"Nairobi residents should stand up and protest against this," he said.

Massive human traffic was expected Monday evening along major roads as commuters move to their respective termini, away from the CBD.

And while it was all bliss within the Central Business District, the effects were felt as far away on Thika Road where till late afternoon, traffic had reached Roysambu.

This was because the Ngara terminus is too small to hold the hundreds of vehicles flowing from Limuru, Kiambu Road and the Thika Super Highway.

Thousands of people were seen sharing the roads with vehicles since the pedestrian walkways are either too small and, in some instances, non-existent.

"This is just wrong," a rushing pedestrian was heard saying.

Governor Mike Sonko later apologised, saying the move was not meant to punish them.

But even with this, he said the ban remains.

"From Muthurwa to the CBD is just a walking distance," he said when he appeared before a Senate Committee on Monday morning.

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