, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29 – New parking fees that were to take effect on Monday in Nairobi have been suspended by the High Court.
The order issued by High Court Judge David Maranga will be in force for the next 30 days pending the hearing and determination of the case filed by a Nairobi businessman Henry Mwangira Nkure and a transport company Kaka Travelers who claim that the new rates had prejudiced them.
The judge said the matter was of high public interest despite claims by the City Council of Nairobi that it was affecting higher rates to decongest Nairobi and reduce constant traffic snarl ups.
"I hereby certify this matter as urgent and do issue a temporary injunction for 30 days. I direct that this matter be mentioned on November 15 for purposes of compliance with the order," Justice Maranga said.
Through their lawyers Harrison Kinyanjui and Henry Kurauka, the applicants argued that the council did not consult key players before imposing the 114 percent increment.
They further argued that the time issued by the council was not enough for the city residents to comply with the new rates.
They also said the council had no strong reasons why it was increasing the fees without alerting city residents on time.
Mr Kinyanjui said the council also failed to give notice of the new rates in local newspapers as required.
He also argued that despite a gazette notice of October 15, the new rates came to the knowledge of the public this week.
He also said the council should have been considerate and known that no Kenyan ever got a 100 percent increase in their salaries and increasing the fees suddenly was "insensitive to the financial challenges that Kenyans have to deal with every day."
He also blamed the council for poor services saying the parking spaces in town were not safe yet car owners pays Sh140.
"There is no need to leave your car in the parking lot… you find your lights missing; your side mirrors missing, reflectors missing or your car broken into. On top of that, the council comes and tows your car away," he complained.
The council through lawyer Evans Monari argued that it would fall short of its planned budget if the new rates were not implemented.
He also said the move was to reduce traffic snarl ups in the city through controlling the number of cars entering the city.
He also said the council wanted to use the money to offer better services to city residents, among them constructing roads.
However, Mr Kurauka dismissed his assertion saying: "The council should explain how it will suffer prejudice yet it has been using billions of shillings to buy non-existent land."
The council had announced that motorists would be required to pay Sh300 per day for saloon cars, up from Sh140 starting November 1.
Rent also went up in areas where the council owns houses.
The court has directed lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui to serve the Ministry of Local Government and the City Council with the suit papers to stop implementation of the new charges.
The matter is due in court for mention on November 15 to ascertain if the orders have been complied with.