, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – A strike planned by matatu operators in Nairobi on Thursday has been called off after an appeal by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.
Matatu Welfare Association Chairman Dickson Mbugua told Capital FM News that they put off the strike after promising discussions with the CS.
He said they agreed to a meeting with Macharia, his Interior Security counterpart Joseph Nkaissery and City Hall on Friday, to resolve the licensing grievances.
“Kenyans should not be worried. We will go to work because we believe in dialogue. We will wait and see how the discussions will go on Friday,” he said.
He however pointed out that matatu operators would hold consultative meetings Thursday to plan their agenda.
On Wednesday, police lobbed teargas to disperse rowdy matatu operators who blocked roads in downtown Nairobi ahead of the planned strike to protest parking license cancellations.
Trouble started when county askaris started impounding matatus parked on Ronald Ngala and other adjacent streets, prompting police to lob teargas at operators who tried to attack them.
Several drivers and conductors were taken into custody as police battled to end the afternoon chaos which affected businesses for hours.
The licenses were cancelled on Tuesday in a move Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said is aimed at decongesting the city, but the operators have termed the directive as discriminatory while arguing that it only favours shop owners.
“We were not even given notices, but we have learnt that the decision was taken after meetings between City Hall and shop owners,” another matatu driver said, “It is unfair.”
But a City Hall official told Capital FM News that the operators were informed long before the decision was taken.