Matatu operators urged to ignore strike

December 31, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 31- The Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA) has appealed to Passenger Service Vehicles (PSV) operators countrywide to ignore the planned Monday strike as a sign of patriotism.

KARA Chief Executive Officer Stephen Mutoro said in a statement that while their grievances were genuine, it was unfair to punish innocent Kenyans particularly school children -who resume school on Monday -as the strike would see them pay hiked fares.

"Whatever the good reason behind the aggrieved PSV operators\’ move merits minimal public sympathy since it is a clear wrong purported at righting another wrong," he said.

"Punishing innocent commuters and school children in particular as sacrificial lambs for alleged wrongs of others is not only selfish but malicious. The ensuing anxiety is likely to see unscrupulous operators unnecessarily hike fares," he continued.

The Matatu Welfare Association on Wednesday announced a three day strike starting Monday to protest against alleged police harassment even when they have obeyed traffic rules and regulations.

The association\’s Chairman Dickson Mbugua claimed that the transport industry was losing up to Sh1.5 billion annually owing to bribes and wasted working hours.
Mr Mutoro however urged them to exhaust other available options before resorting to withdrawing their vehicles from the roads.

"The Police Commissioner (Mathew Iteere) must dialogue with the affected operators for a win-win. More fundamentally as Iteere does his best to reform his force; he must report on practical milestones in fighting the inherent corruption within his force and especially for the traffic department," the CEO said.

He added that all necessary measures need to taken to ensure that people travelling back to the city after the festive season are not inconvenienced.

Police have been busy carrying out President Mwai Kibaki Jamhuri Day\’s directive to get rid of all un-roadworthy vehicles as a measure of reducing the high road carnage.

There has also been a crack down by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) on PSVs that exceed prescribed noise levels. Dozens of matatus have been impounded and their drivers arraigned in courts over the same.


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