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City Hall mulls allowing some matatus into CBD




Matatus return to Nairobi’s CBD on Tuesday after Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko suspended a ban on them. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG 

City Hall is mulling allowing three public service vehicle (PSVs) per sacco to enter Nairobi’s central business district in to help ease congestion and enable smooth flow of traffic.

This proposal was tabled at a meeting between City Hall and PSV operations Tuesday as they sought a way forward following the lifting of the ban that barred matatus from entering the city centre.

The move came as the High Court temporarily suspended the restriction for matatus to access the CBD arguing that City Hall could still make a U-turn over lifting of the restriction.

The ban triggered a traffic gridlock on Monday that saw residents take up to three hours to reach their homes, prompting Nairobi governor Mike Sonko to lift the blockade Tuesday morning citing suffering of matatu operators, commuters, employers and traders.

“We had a meeting this morning where a proposal to allow only three vehicles per sacco was tabled. The move is aimed at decongesting the city,” said Matatu Operators Association chairman Jimal Ibrahim.

The ban restricted matutus to termini on the edges of the CBD and the stations were inadequate to handle the PSVs, triggering the traffic jam that stretched for over 10 kilometres on Jogoo Road and Thika highway.

On Tuesday, Lady Justice Wilfrida Okwany formerly stopped implementation of the May 12 ban on matatus entering the CBD.

Justice Okwany said her order will remain in force pending hearing and determination of a case filed by businessman and Jubilee politician Paul Kobia.

“Nobody knows how long the reprieve pronounced by Mr Sonko will last,” said Justice Okwany, adding; “It may be revoked any time.”

The judge said Mr Sonko and those concerned did not put in place measures to mitigate the suffering of special needs persons such as the disabled, pregnant women, the elderly, children, and the sick among others.

The judge said that the ban did not factor in the constitutional rights of city residents and the economy which she said “led to loss of billions.”

Justice Okwany certified the case filed by Mr Kobia as urgent and directed it be heard December 11.