Sakaja Takes on Badi in Nairobi Matatu Ban

  • Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Mohamed Badi and Senator Johnson Sakaja on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
    Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Mohamed Badi and Senator Johnson Sakaja on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
    Twitter
  • Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja has criticized the move by Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to ban matatus from accessing the CBD from December 1, 2020

    Speaking in the Senate on Tuesday, November 24, Senator Sakaja said that NMS had not addressed critical areas such as how passengers would commute to different termini within the city. 

    “Imagine a sick old man or a woman being dropped at Globe Cinema to walk all the way to Uhuru Highway across here to Railway Golf Club to get a matatu to Kenyatta National Hospital,” the legislator explained. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) speaks Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja (left) during a tour of Nairobi Metropolitan Services's projects in Nairobi's informal settlements on Tuesday, June 30, 2020
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) speaks Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja (in white) during a tour of Nairobi Metropolitan Services's projects in Nairobi's informal settlements on Tuesday, June 30, 2020
    File

    He stated that without addressing that concern, NMS would be discriminating against Nairobians who cannot afford cars.

    “In fact, if anything, private vehicles are causing more congestion in the city than the public vehicles. One matatu is taking 30 people, while you find one individual driving a car. 

    “Until they've provided a proper alternative for the ordinary mwananchi, let that ban not be put in force,” he argued. 

    A similar ban by Nairobi City County Government in 2018 caused anguish to passengers

    Some commuters from Jogoo Road to Westlands had to walk from City Stadium to Fig Tree in Ngara to board a matatu to Westlands. 

    That same year, Senator Sakaja moved to court to suspend the ban. 

    He faulted Governor Mike Sonko’s administration for ejecting the matatus from the city centre without providing convenient alternatives, thereby leaving commuters stranded.

    “The move by Governor Mike Sonko to ban matatus from the CBD is premature, and unfair to ordinary citizens. You don’t ban matatus before providing alternatives for commuters,” he told the court. 

    Solving Nairobi's perennial traffic problem has been a headache for both the county and national governments over the years. 

    Motorists stranded On a stand still Traffic Jam Towards The CBD Along Busy Thika super Highway in Nairobi on Monday, November 11, 2019.
    Motorists stranded On a standstill Traffic Jam Towards The CBD Along Busy Thika super Highway in Nairobi on Monday, November 11, 2019.
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke