There is massive confusion and outcry among citizens in Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi after the local government banned the operation of ‘matatus’ in the central business district. The ban effected on Monday, the third, 2018 by the Nairobi County Council comes a month barely after the transport ministry in the country ordered the city transport buses to ensure all cars have safety belts and are stripped of vehicle graffiti.
The ban focused on stopping the entrance of buses into the City Center is a bid to deal with the congestion of buses and traffic jam menace that has previously become the norm. The buses will instead be expected to drop passengers at specific bus terminals located on the edge of the City Center but within walking distance into the city. The ban is expected to save Kenyans and the local county government upwards of 58.4 million Kenyan shillings (0.58 million dollars) lost daily via traffic jam.
Kenyans have expressed their frustration over the ban via the local news outlets and the social media by calling out to the governor, Mike Sonko to be considerate. Majority of those affected and who spend hours walking and stuck in foot bridge traffic decry lack of planning in providing an alternative option for ferrying the city dwellers from the designated bus terminals to the Central Business District. The public foresees escalation in the cases of pick-pocketing and muggings due to lack of adequate security on the pedestrians especially those that commute in the odd hours of the night. However, the Governor while addressing the media argued that the ban is not only effective for decongestion but also for ensuring fitness among Nairobians.
The current ban is the third after two unsuccessful ones carried out under the governance of the former Governor Evans Kidero and the current governor Mike Sonko Mbuvi. The current ban is already facing opposition from key players in the county among them the senator Johnson Sakaja who has moved to court to stop the ban citing oppression of the common citizen. The question therefore is, what next?