Matatu task force hits the road

January 12, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, January 12 – The taskforce set up to address matatu operators\’ grievances began its sittings on Tuesday.

Comprising representatives of the matatu sector, the internal security, transport and local government ministries, the task force is supposed to delve into issues plaguing the industry and come up with recommendations within seven days.

Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) Chairman Dickson Mbugua said some of the concerns to be discussed include road safety and reining in on corrupt traffic policemen.

“They are going to put on the table the need to adhere to road safety by the matatu operators and other users,” he said.

“We would also want the government to reign in on the law enforcers so that they can stop that attitude of intimidating and demanding bribery,” he added, pointing out that the powers of the traffic policemen should be reduced.

“They should not also be given a blanket kind of power where they would want to mess up with a matatu in any manner that they want,” he said. “Even when they are off duty, these people still come on the road.”

The taskforce that was set up was meant to avert future transport boycott after the latest matatu strike paralysed transport in the country for two days.

Last week Prime Minister Raila Odinga met with the MWA at his Treasury office after they agreed to call off a three-day matatu strike. The task force consists of Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Transport, Internal Security and Local Government and a representative from the Matatu industry.

The three ministries are expected to hand in their report in a week\’s time after going through Matatu Welfare Association memorandum and recommendations to come up with a solution.

The matatu strike had left thousands of commuters stranded and many had to walk long distances to their place of work and schools or seek alternative means of transport.

Motor cycle riders and cyclists made booming business over the two days of the strike.

The matatu operators were protesting police crack down on reckless driving and unroadworthy vehicles accusing them of soliciting for bribes and harassment.

The loss suffered by the industry over the two days amounted to Sh720 million.

According to the Matatu Welfare Association chair, seventy percent of the matatus on the roads have complied with the rules and regulations.


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