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Matatus at a busy stage in down town Nairobi. Photo/CFM-FILE.

Kenya

Matatu Owners vow to resist Nairobi CBD decongestion unless properly consulted

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29- Plans to decongest Nairobi Central Business District might hit a snag if threats by the Matatu Owners Association are anything to go by.

The association has dared the Nairobi Metropolitan Services to “bring it on”, warning that if not consulted, the programme will fail- like it did when Governor Mike Sonko attempted.

The issue of contention, the Association chairperson Simon Kimutai said, is lack of dialogue and what he describes as a discriminative approach by NMS- as a result reducing them to poor millionaires.

On Thursday, Kimutai told journalists that they have many ‘cards’ to make NMS boss Major General Mohammed Badi to call them on the negotiating table, among them doubling their fare or simply downing their tools.

“At times I have always said, when you bring it on, we say we are lethal,” an agitated Kimutai asserted.

He dismissed the current efforts to decongest the city as a “lot of talk without substance”, saying if at all their plans sail through, the order to bar Matatu’s should apply on all Matatu saccos.

“We understand the city is not expanding and it needs a mechanism of de-congestion to be put in place but not every time threatening businessmen like us that you are going to kick us out of the city ,” he said. When you do not involve us, you don’t understand business and you will not succeed.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to launch a decongestion plan next month.

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According to Badi, bus stations are set to be constructed outside the CBD, where all public service vehicles will be terminating their journey.

Along Thika Road, he has indicated that a bus station will be put up in Ngara and Parklands.

And for vehicles coming from Machakos and Lang’ata, their final destination will be at the Kenya Railways Golf Club.

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