A showdown looms after officials representing matatu associations and saccos withdrew their membership from the giant organisation Matatu Owners Association (MOA).
The officials, led by Calvin Nyaure, the chair of Matatus and Sacco Companies, cited lack of proper presentation of their interest by MOA.
They blamed the umbrella organisation of taking sides and for going to bed with the government in the ongoing crackdown on vehicles that have not adhered to the so-called “Michuki” traffic rules.
Those that have withdrawn their membership include the Matatu Welfare Association (MWA), Matatu Travellers Vehicles Association (MTVA), Mount Kenya Association (MA), Association of Bus Operators Kenya (ABK) and Association of Matatu Operators (AMO).
“We have decided to denounce our membership to MOA because we feel it has failed to defend us against the harassment that matatu operators in Nairobi have undergone since the crackdown by police officers enforcing Michuki traffic rules began,” said Mr Nyaure at a press conference in Nairobi.
Mr Nyaure also accused MOA chair Simon Kimutai and MWA head Dickson Mbugua of being among a group of cartels in the matatu sector.
“We can’t sit back and watch us our members suffer because of individual interests of MOA officials, some of whom don’t even own a matatu.
“We know how they are cooperating with NTSA to swindle us our money, an issue we have raised with anticorruption agencies but nothing is being done,” added Mr Nyaure.
The officials also lamented over the increased cases of police harassment in Nairobi and corruption despite their vehicles complying with the stipulated rules.
“Police are having a different checklist and are arresting our conductors and drivers for very petty mistakes with intention of getting bribes from them.
“We have complied with the rules fully and our business are legitimate so we don’t understand why the number plates of our vehicles are being confiscated,” said Ms Lucy Wachuka, who is a nominated member of Kajiado County assembly and chair of Serian Sacco.
The matatu owners also complained of a government scheme to remove 14, 25 and 33-seater matatus from the roads and replacing them with BRT buses.
They said if the said plan is fully implemented, it will add to the problem of unemployment in the country.