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Nairobi traders count losses after crippling matatu strike

The operators said they lost about 30 percent of their daily turnover with some of them forced to shut down in some parts of the day/CFM

The operators said they lost about 30 percent of their daily turnover with some of them forced to shut down in some parts of the day/CFM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – Businesses operators in Nairobi were counting losses following the matatu strike that crippled transport across the city on Wednesday.

The operators said they lost about 30 percent of their daily turnover with some of them forced to shut down in some parts of the day.

They urged the Nairobi County government to resolve the grievances with the matatu operators once and for all to avoid losses made due to such strikes.

“Our operations yesterday morning were halted by the strike, our clientele never turned up, everyone wanted to play safe,” Emmah Njunia, Kaldis Coffee House Manager told Capital FM Business.

She said her premises collects about Sh250,000 daily but only managed about Sh160,000.

“We feel like Nairobi is harassing us, the county government has to do something about it, they have to resolve their problems with the matatu operators,” she said.

At San Burners Restaurant the manager Martin Njoroge says about 30 percent of their daily sales was lost.

“Yesterday morning was a nightmare, no one came in the morning for breakfast, in the evening was the same story, Nairobi was a ghost town,” Njoroge said.

Njoroge said that normalcy hasn’t come back yet, as people are still afraid of the chaos.

“The morning wasn’t as good as it gets on a Thursday, we expect the evening to remain the same, those are two days wasted,” Njoroge lamented.

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The same script ran with Galito’s Restaurant, which closed twice in the day due to the chaos, losing 60 percent of their Wednesday turnover.

Other operations affected included movie shops, mobile accessories shops, cyber cafes, tuck shops, as well as newspaper vendors.

The government said it would withdraw the operating licenses for Saccos whose matatus blocked roads on Wednesday while protesting increased parking fees.

In a statement, Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau said that every vehicle involved in the mass action would have their registration numbers withdrawn.

Kamau explained that the operators seriously inconvenienced ordinary Kenyans who had nothing to do with the strike.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has in the meantime called for further discussions between the County Government of Nairobi and the operators to find an amicable way of addressing the problem.

Director General Francis Meja advised all parties involved to embrace dialogue and consultation whenever they have grievances instead of resorting to protests which end up inconveniencing innocent commuters and the general public.

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