, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7- Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday waded into the debate concerning Uber and conventional taxis.
The Deputy President said the government is committed to resolving the impasse that has seen several attacks on Uber drivers in the last week.
“It is not possible, for a foreign company to come and kick out Kenyans who are also undertaking the same business. We must have operational guidelines put in place,” he said.
He was speaking in Dandora, Embakasi North, where he attended a church service.
Ruto said investors must operate on a level playing field in the interest of fairness.
“The Interior CS and his PS are on top of the issues raised. Before the end of next week, we will have a way forward and a clear programme on what is going to happen on that contest between locals and Uber taxis,” he said.
He however condemned the violence that has characterised the impasse and asked that the government be given time to resolve the dispute.
The conventional taxis have since issued a 7-day ultimatum for the crisis to be resolved.
The ultimatum expires on Tuesday, and taxi drivers have threatened to block key roads in Nairobi unless Uber exits the Kenyan market.
The Kenya Taxi Cab Association are now terming the entry of Uber taxi services in Nairobi as ‘neo-colonialism’ of the transport sector.
Uber has been praised for its convenience and affordability by the residents of Nairobi, who seem to shun conventional taxis.
For the taxi drivers, “it’s a plan to take what is ours. Some are even staying for three days without customers and yet we have loans to pay besides other expenses.”
“Why do they want to kick us out of business?”
Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu, who was among other legislators accompanying the Deputy President, urged the Government to protect the local investors.
“Where will our own go if they are kicked out of town by a foreign company?” he asked.
He accused the County Government of negligence for failing to address the crisis.