NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – The High Court has quashed the decision by the City Council of Nairobi (CCN)to increase parking fees in the Central Business District.
At the same time, the court has directed the CCN to follow the law when calculating how much should be charged to motorists.
Justice Weldon Korir has said that the council ought to follow its by-laws before increasing parking fees.
“The Traffic Act which donated power to the local authorities to impose parking charges provided that the said parking charges should be imposed by way of by-laws made in accordance with the Local Government Act,” he ruled.
The judge said the council should introduce parking meters to assist calculate the charges. The decision by the court was reached after Kaka Travellers Cooperative and Savings and Credit Society went to court complaining that CCN parking fees were unfair and unreasonable.
Through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, the society argued that it was unfair for the council to charge the same fee for somebody who parks for an hour and another who parks the vehicle the whole day.
“The council must now install parking metres by tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Otherwise if they continue to issue tickets as they have been used to, they will be held liable for defying court orders,” lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui for the operators said immediately after the court’s decision.
The lawyer contended that CCN ought to levy parking fees according to the authority’s by-laws adding that the notice given by the council was too short.
The applicants were aggrieved by the CCN’s move to increase the parking fees from Sh140 to Sh300, a move that was aimed at decongesting the city centre.
CCN was further accused of failing to prepare and publish up to date audited books of accounts how the current parking fees and additional revenue will be utilised contrary to Cap 265 of Local Government Act.
They argued that the 114 percent increment was unwarranted and excessive and accused the City Council of acting unconstitutionally as it neither consulted not sought views of interested persons or bodies before increasing the charges.
If the directive by the council was allowed to stand, matatu owners would be required to part with a fee of Sh1,000 for overnight parking.
Justice Korir held it was wrong for the councillors to sit and revise the rates through resolutions but the council is required to make by-laws.
The proposed rates were to take effect on November 1, 2010 following the Local Government Minister’s approval.
CCN had contended that it had a budget deficit of Sh1 billion and had spent millions of shillings in a bid to decongest the city.
It was the council’s argument that the revision of parking fees upwards was meant to discourage motorists from parking in the CBD.
The council had in October 2010 published new rates contained in a special gazette notice where daily parking fees for motorists was increased from Sh140 to Sh300 while off-street parking in the CBD was set at Sh400 up from Sh200. Taxi owners were also required to pay Sh3,500 up from Sh2,000.
Entry fee in automated parking areas will be Sh50 and Sh15 for every extra 30 minutes. Seasonal parking tickets were also hiked.
Others who were affected by the hikes include motor bike operators who will pay Sh1,000, Tuk Tuks (Sh2,000), 14-seater matatus (Sh4,000) and 43-seater buses (Sh8,000).