, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 16 – Matatu operators have threatened to boycott work over an ongoing crackdown by the police.
An official of the Matatu Public Service Vehicle Owners and Operators Association Kenneth Micheni says the crackdown is unnecessary and is a means used by the police to extort money from the operators.
The association’s officials say that traffic police are extorting money from them and harassing them on the roads as they operate.
“Harassment and extortion has been an endless menace. It is evident that approximately 50 percent of the traffic officers are extortionists and will go to any extent to extort vulnerable matatu owners with the intention of enriching themselves,” Micheni complained.
Another official, Michael Kariuki stated that the association wanted an immediate stop of the clampdown and immediate dialogue initiated to discuss on the way forward.
“This crackdown must stop immediately and a roundtable discussion held immediately so that we can strategise,” said Kariuki.
He also said that they are willing to name and shame rogue officers who are known to extort money if they are not given audience by the inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru.
Officials have promised to take drastic action of downing their tools within three days if nothing is done to address their issues and they will not be in a hurry to resume working until there is dialogue.
The officials said that road safety is a communal responsibility and as such the dialogue forum is important so that they can have a harmonious working relationship between them and the police.
They asked the officers to give chance to the voluntary PSV inspection to ensure that the unfit vehicles are serviced by their owners and the Sacco’s that they are registered under can do follow ups.