Covid-19: Police arrest defiant matatu operators along Mombasa Road

Machakos Traffic Commander Issa Mohamed address matatu operators who gathered at the Athi River police station after their vehicles were towed there by the police. Transport along the Nairobi Mombasa road was paralysed at the weekend, following a major crackdown by the police to curb matatu operators who ignore the Ministry of Health guidelines on Covid-19 prevention. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Transport on the Nairobi-Mombasa road was paralysed over the weekend following a major crackdown by the police to curb matatu operators who ignore the Ministry of Health guidelines on Covid-19 prevention.

Passengers who travel to Machakos and other towns were stranded for the better part of the day due to lack of public transport means.

At Athi River town, more than one hundred matatus including minibuses were grounded and were not allowed to proceed with their journey without showing their Covid -19 certificates.

Machakos Traffic Commander Issa Mohamed, who led the operation, told the Standard that his officers will not relent on the fight against the coronavirus that has spread in the country.

”We have realised that people are not serious in protecting themselves from this pandemic, therefore we have decided to start with the public transport as many of the operators are ignoring the precautions set by the government through the ministry of health” said Issa.

The traffic boss noted that the rate of the virus spread in the country was worrying and therefore people should be warned against abandoning the government regulations.

”We no longer see people being sanitised before entering the public transport vehicles while a big number of people also still ignore washing their hands regularly” said Issa.

The officer said more than a hundred vehicles including those that are un road worth were nabbed.

”We have already entered the holiday season and everyone want to go to their respective villages, all transport vehicles should be up to date to avoid accidents” said the officer.

However, some of Matatu operators protested the move by the officers saying they are just being harassed.

”Let us not use coronavirus pandemic to punish people, we have been here the whole day and no one is telling us what to do” said Jonathan Musyoka, who operates along the Nairobi Athi River route.

According to the public health Covid-19 restrictions on the movement of persons and related rules 2020, operators of public transport shall not carry more than fifty per cent of their licensed capacity.

The operators should also wear a proper face mask that covers the person’s mouth and nose.


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