Matatu owners back in court over 14-seater vehicles


Matatu owners Friday filed a new application seeking to challenge government’s move to phase out the 14-seater vehicles.

In the new petition, 24 matatu saccos accuse the government of ignoring their pleas, especially after the High Court in December granted them temporary orders blocking the plan.

The saccos including Utimo, Walokana and Runka argued that efforts to engage National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) have been fruitless.

Through Lawyer Mugo Githinji, the public service vehicle owners argued that the authority’s action have been aimed at oppressing them in a bid to compel them to cede ground for the state to effect to the Rapid Bus Transport Scheme without a legislative framework for its implementation.

“The government has not generated any regulations for the effective implementation of the Rapid Bus Transport program other than marking of major roads within Nairobi County more conspicuously being the Thika Road with a red line. It is unfair and unconstitutional to take measures that are detriment to us,” read part of the court papers.

In December, some 25 matatu sacco’s filed a similar case and obtained temporary orders blocking the government’s move.

In a ruling, Justice Chacha Mwita said in the ruling, “In the meantime, an order of prohibition is hereby issued until February 15 prohibiting the NTSA from effecting Section 4(2) and 4(3) of Legal notice 179 of December 31, 2014 when processing the Road Service PSV licenses for the petitioners.”

The judge noted the government had indicated that the first batch of 11 trains and 64 high-capacity commuter buses will arrive in Nairobi around February 15.

Through legal notice 179 of December 21, 2014 the government indicated that all public service vehicles below the capacity of 25 passengers would not be licensed. But President Uhuru Kenyatta later suspended the directive.

“We have been exposed to a grave risk of loss of livelihood following NTSA’s action to enforce the provisions of legal notice 179 of December 31 2014,” the Saccos said.

In an affidavit, Kenneth Munyui secretary of South B Matatu Owners Sacco Society Limited claims that NTSA has received payments with respect to booking of inspection of the motor vehicles or application of road licenses. They say the funds have not been refunded and it was exposing them to further loss and prejudice.

He said the absence of valid inspection certificates and Road Service Licenses issued by NTSA, the vehicles whose licenses have expired have been grounded. It is their argument that the vehicles to be affected are more than 20,000.


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