Call off protests for dialogue, State urges Nakuru matatus

Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya (3rd left) speaks on October 5, 2020 after a meeting with a section of Nakuru matatu owners.

Photo credit: Eric Matara | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The security chiefs intervened to tame a safety crisis after the matatu operators vowed to continue with their protests.
  • Last Monday, matatu operators brought Nakuru town to a standstill as they engaged police in running battles.
  • They lit bonfires and barricaded roads within the CBD as they demanded audience with the governor.
  • The matatu operators have accused the county government of neglecting them after dumping them outside the CBD.

The national government has waded into the stand-off surrounding the relocation of matatus from Nakuru town's central business district and called for an amicable solution to end protests by operators.

On Monday Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya held a meeting with a section of the matatu owners in his office and ordered them to call off the protests to allow for dialogue in order to resolve the stalemate.

Mr Natembeya, who was accompanied by Rift Valley Regional Police Commander Marcus Ocholla, addressed journalists after the meeting and revealed that he had convened another meeting to resolve the stand-off.

“I have convened a meeting that will bring together matatu operators and the Nakuru County government with a view to resolving the stand-off. I have also directed matatu owners to call off a strike they had announced earlier to give room for dialogue,” said Mr Natembeya.

The Nation established that the security chiefs intervened to tame a safety crisis after the matatu operators vowed to continue with their protests.

Engage governor

Mr Natembeya also promised to engage Governor Lee Kinyanjui to ensure the Nakuru County government provides matatu operators with better services at the new termini where they were relocated to.

“As a government we are keen to ensure business people have a proper environment to operate from as they eke out a living. The national government and the county government will work together to ensure your demands are addressed,” stated Mr Natembeya after the two-hour meeting.

Last Monday, matatu operators brought Nakuru town to a standstill as they engaged police in running battles to protest Governor Kinyanjui’s decision to lock them out of the CBD.

They lit bonfires and barricaded roads within the CBD as they demanded audience with the governor.

They accused Mr Kinyanjui of dumping them in new matatu terminuses which are in poor state without shades and basic amenities like toilets and water.

Strike called off

Central Rift Matatus Association Chairman Steve Muli told journalists that they had called off their strike to allow for dialogue following the Monday meeting.

“We have called off the strike so that we can dialogue and resolve the stand-off. We have directed our members to also suspend planned protests to allow for dialogue,” said Mr Muli.

In March, the county Coronavirus emergency response committee ordered all public service vehicles out of the CBD, as a containment measure against the spread of the virus.

Matatus were relocated to areas including Ziwani, Kwa Jack, Showground area and Railways grounds among others, all out of town, a move operators have vehemently opposed.

The matatu operators have accused the county government of neglecting them after dumping them outside the CBD.


EMatara@ke.nationmedia.com