Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko says the ban on matatus from accessing the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) will help commuters in the city to exercise and remain physically fit.
Speaking on Monday morning as the ban came into effect, the governor played down concerns that commuting between one terminus and the other was a tall order, saying that most city residents “don’t go to the gym.”
“From Muthurwa to the CBD is a one minute walk. Many people don’t go to the gym. We want our people to exercise,” said Sonko.
The governor was questioned briefly on the matatu ban from the CBD while appearing before the Senate County Public Investment Committee over issues raised by Auditor General in the audit for 2014/15 Financial Year.
The Senate committee said the matatu issue would be discussed in detail on Wednesday this week.
Sonko further said he had spoken with President Uhuru Kenyatta and plans were underway to make available buses that will save the physically challenged commuters the pain of moving from one terminus to another.
“I know people are suffering, I am just requesting for patience from commuters we are going to work on an amicable and permanent solution. In the morning, I spoke to the president we are looking for the big buses from NYS to transport the physically challenged from their stages to the CBD,” said Sonko.
Sonko maintained that enforcement of the ban on matatus, boda bodas and hawkers from the city centre will continue in a bid to restore sanity in the capital.
He further dismissed Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja’s claims that he (Sonko) had not conducted a public participation exercise before driving matatus out of the CBD. The governor accused Senator Sakaja of seizing the moment to play politics.
“I was expecting my brother Sakaja to campaign kidogo because every senator wants to be a governor,” said Sonko.
On Monday morning, Sakaja said he would move to court to seek orders suspending the ban on matatus from accessing the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD).
The senator accused the Nairobi County Government had enforced the edict without conducting public participation and without providing convenient alternatives, thereby leaving commuters stranded.
“The move by Governor Mike Sonko to ban matatus from the CBD is premature, and unfair to ordinary citizens. You don’t ban matatus before providing alternatives for commuters,” said Sakaja.
In a notice published in the local dailies last Thursday, City Hall announced that 11 termini had been designated for all matatus in Nairobi to pick and drop off passengers.
While some Kenyans support the matatu ban, a majority are of the view that the idea was poorly planned, hence, the chaos and inconvenience witnessed as the ban took effect.