A timeline of failed attempts to ban matatus from Nairobi CBD

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The decision by Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko to temporarily lift the ban on matatus from accessing the Nairobi central business district is not new.

Earlier attempts by his predecessors and ministers for transport in the previous regimes to implement the ban have never been successful.

The issue has been recurring and here is a timeline of failures by both the national and the city county governments:

  • April 2018: Governor Sonko announces plan to ban matatus from the CBD.

    — Matatu operators threaten to ground operations if the county government bans them from accessing the CBD, citing lack of enough space to accommodate the high number of public service vehicles plying the various city routes.

  • September 19, 2017: Governor Sonko is forced to rescind the planned ban after his attempts to enforce it are met with immense opposition from the Matatu Owners Association led by their chairman Simon Kimutai.

    — Under pressure, Mr Sonko gives the matatu owners a one-month grace period to regulate the flow of their vehicles in the CBD and vows to enforce the ban if the PSV operators fail to put in place a strategy to manage their vehicles.

    — The then acting county secretary Leboo ole Morintat hints that the matatus could be allowed to stay in the CBD for good as long as they observe the strict traffic rules.

    — Mr Morintat also directs matatus to abide by other rules, such as not double parking, not obstructing traffic or playing loud music within the CBD and its environs.

  • Before Sonko, there was Evans Kidero, who also tried to ban the matatus from accessing the CBD without much success.

    • March 2016: Dr Kidero announces that his government was banning matatus from the CBD in a bid to de-congest the city.

      — The Dr directes passengers should be picked up or dropped off at designated areas.

    • March 15, 2015: The governor bans all commuter matatus from the Nairobi CBD.

      — His decision is publicly opposed by Mr Sonko, then Nairobi senator and critic-in-chief of City Hall decisions.

      — Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, then the Transport minister in Dr Kidero’s administration, insists that the ban is lawful and there is no backtracking on it.

      — “We know that this is a tough process, but we will have to push it through in order to create sanity in the CBD. We urge business people to be patient as we put in place measures to decongest the CBD,” he says.

      — The ban does not take effect after Dr Kidero cedes ground and agrees to dialogue with the matatu association’s leaders.

      — The situation remains unchanged until he exits office in 2017 after losing to Mr Sonko in the August General Election.

    • forcing the regulations.
    • 2008: Local Government Minister in the Grand Coalition Government Uhuru Kenyatta announces plans to move matatus plying the Jogoo road route to Muthurwa upon the completion of the construction of a bus terminus.

      — But the plans fail to materialise after it is opposed by Mr Sonko who goes to court seeking orders restraining the government from implementing the directive.

    • 2004: Mr John Michuki, then Transport minister in the Mwai Kibaki administration, scores top marks by bringing order into public transport.

      — Christened “Michuki Rules”, Mr Michuki comes up with a code of conduct for PSV, including yellow lines for easy identification of matatus, seat belts, uniforms for conductors and conductors, photo IDS of drivers, fare charts and speed governors.

      — However, the minister fails to phase out the PSV

      SOURCE: nation.co.ke

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