Uproar Over Sakaja's Support for Loud Music in Matatus & Graffiti

  • A collage of a pimped bus (left) and Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja inside the bus (right) on Sunday November 20, 2022
    A collage of a pimped bus (left) and Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja inside the bus (right) on Sunday, November 20, 2022
    The Standard
  • Kenyans continue to castigate Governor Sakaja over his statement on Monday, November 21, allowing loud music in matatus terming it as “part of our culture.” 

    In his meeting with matatu operators, the governor declared, "The issue that graffiti and music in matatus is bad, that is gullible and backward thinking, it is part of our culture, If one does not want to board a matatu with music, he /she should not."

    Sakaja's sentiments while applauded by the matatu operators, appeared to have rubbed a section of Kenyans the wrong way, who argued that it was a populist move from the leader.

    Netizens took issue with the governor's pronouncement terming it unfortunate.

    A collage of a parent covering a child's eyes and the inside of a Nairobi matatu..jpg
    A collage of a parent covering a child's eyes and the inside of a Nairobi matatu.

    "The remarks by Nairobi Governor Sakaja Johnson supporting loud music in matatus are an unfortunate act of populism. There are laws in this country which control noise pollution. It is a shame that the governor is encouraging criminal acts and impunity," Ephraim Njenga lamented.

    "Sakaja says the noise is part of Nairobi culture and goes on to ask those opposed to the music to look for quiet vehicles. With such noise now legalised, where will quiet matatus come from? Bad culture shouldn't be perpetuated in the name of traditions," he added.

    Another commentator, Renson Adoyo was worried about the safety of children under the announced leeway by the governor,

    "This is not our culture Mr Sakaja. You cannot recommend that we get our children in matatus for free and at the same time you support insane loud music in the same matatus you want to transport the public and school children, he bemoaned.

    "Sakaja should know that the votes of the matatu owners and operators are fewer than those of the passengers. Five years is a short time," another lamented.

    The issue of graffiti and loud music has been around for quite a while. In 2014 former president Uhuru Kenyatta lifted a ban imposed by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) on TV screens, music and graffiti on matatus.

    Kenyatta argued that matatu graffiti was innovative and a source of livelihood for youths.

    According to NTSA, the ban was meant to promote safety on roads and keep windshields clear of graffiti.

    However, then Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet nullified the order revealing that the moratorium was being misused and initiated a crackdown on matatus.

    The crackdown forced matatu owners back to garages. The rules required matatus to have only one colour and a continuous yellow line painted on the sides, back and front.

    A police officer engages a motorist during the NTSA crackdown on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
    A police officer engages a motorist during the NTSA crackdown on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
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