Sakaja seeks suspension of matatus CBD ban;hearing set for Thursday

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja

The Nairobi County government on Monday enforced the ban on matatus accessing the Central Business District, forcing many commuters to walk long distances to access the newly assigned bus stages. The County government issued a notice on the directive last week concerning the same, restricting PSVs to termini outside the Nairobi CBD. However, the move has drawn criticism, with Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja terming the decision as premature. He moved to court seeking orders to suspend the ban of matatus accessing the CBD, repeating the same script that Governor Mike Sonko, did when he was still the Nairobi Senator under former Governor Evas Kidero when a similar directive was issued. The Court declined to stop the ban and ordered the saccos to serve the Nairobi County government, police and NTSA, with suit papers, and the hearing is set for Thursday, December 6th.

Senator Sakaja has insisted that the decision can’t be made without clear alternatives being provided and that the leaders responsible for the decision shouldn’t look at it from a PSVs angle only, but from the viewpoint of passengers. He said the residents of Nairobi are being forced to walk long distances to their offices. However, the Senator has said he isn’t following after the footsteps of Governor Sonko when he went to court seeking orders to suspend the ban during Kidero’s tenure which may be viewed as using the move to his advantage as a political and popularity tool, “I’m not looking to vie for any position, I’ve been saying these campaigns people are doing, even for the Presidency, are premature. For now, let’s work in the positions we are in…that person who is walking doesn’t care who is going to court,” he said.

Starehe MP Charles Njagua had also weighed in on the debate, saying the new bus termini can’t accommodate the vehicles, “Some of those termini they are saying passengers will be dropped, can’t even accommodate the number of matatus we have in Nairobi,” he said. Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa has also faulted the move, noting that a lot of business people who are working in the CBD will be affected.