Nairobi protest ends with clamps, seized car plates

March 5, 2014 1:51 pm
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Number plates of the vehicles removed and submitted to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to ensure the striking operators appeared in court. Photo/ MIKE KARIUKI
Number plates of the vehicles removed and submitted to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to ensure the striking operators appeared in court. Photo/ MIKE KARIUKI

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – The Nairobi County Government has taken strong action against striking matatu and taxi operators by clamping and towing vehicles that blocked various roads in the city.

The exercise overseen by the police further saw number plates of the vehicles removed and submitted to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to ensure the striking operators appeared in court to face charges before reclaiming their vehicles.

The action followed an order on Twitter by Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo: “The vehicles blocking roads should be towed and taken to police stations and traffic headquarters.”

The Nairobi Roads, Transport and Infrastructure County Executive, Evans Ondieki termed the action by the operators as impunity and stated that it would not be tolerated.

Speaking to Capital FM News, Ondieki pointed out that those aggrieved should have followed due process instead of inconveniencing passengers and other motorists.

He stated that before any recommendations are implemented, they would have to be passed by the County Assembly.

He further termed the statement by Nairobi Senator Gideon Mbuvi (aka Sonko) that operators should pay the previous reduced rates as ill advised.

“Those were his opinions, which he has a right to. But you need to realise that this does not necessarily translate to law. For recommendations to be implemented they must go through the right channels and this never happened. We will not back down on our stance,” he stated.

As the operators crippled transport across the city, boda bodas cashed in by increasing fares into the city centre.

They charged stranded pedestrians up to Sh700 to town from various parts of the city.

Taxi drivers took their protest right outside City Hall where they barricaded roads.

The busy Thika Superhighway was among those affected as matatu crews barricaded the road at Pangani, bringing traffic to a halt.

Queues stretched back several kilometres as motorists were caught unawares.

Jogoo Road also experienced similar delays as matatus formed convoys into town and refused to allow other motorists to pass through.

Commuters were forced to walk into the city centre as motorists caught in the chaos could be seen standing beside their cars awaiting the police to act.

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