By Wainaina Ndung’u
The High Court has barred the Nanyuki Municipal Council from collecting fees and charges from six matatu Saccos until it repairs a bus park and provides sanitary facilities.
The order was granted after lawyer Wahome Gikonyo filed an urgent application on behalf of the traders who claim the council has abdicated its responsibility to provide a conducive bus park in the town.
The Saccos through Nyakati chairman Simon Maina Mukiri accused the council of relocating its members to the dilapidated Nanyuki Old Bus Stage “which is full of big potholes, lacks a public toilet and watering point and is littered with garbage.”
“Members are in law and policy not supposed to be paying any fees to the council as long as it has abdicated its responsibilities despite our pleas and notice,” Mukiri said in an affidavit filed in the case.
Justice Sergon granted the matatu Saccos a 14 day reprieve pending the hearing of the case interpartes on August 29.
The applicants argue that the council has failed to enforce provisions in the Traffic Act that give it powers to allocate bus parking bays a situation that has lead to chaos, breach of peace and threat to peace and order.
Licensed a rival
They also claim that while the council is entitled to charge levies, it should provide essential services such as repair and maintenance of bus stage, provision of watering points and toilets as well as garbage collection.
The matatu Saccos went to court after the council licensed a rival transport Sacco – Nyeri-based 2NK Sacco Limited - to also operate from the Old Bus Park which sparked public protest.
The applicants contend that Nanyuki Old Bus Park has been without a public toilet since the old dilapidated one was demolished after it was condemned by the Public Health Department in February, last year.
The other matatu Saccos enjoined in the case are Nyena Sacco Limited, Menany Services Sacco Limited, Datima Transport Sacco Limited, Nanaisio Shuttle Sacco Ltd and Nanyuki Express Cab Services Sacco Limited.
In 2009 the City Council of Nairobi relocated matatus to Westlands, Kariokor, Central Park and Railway Bus termini in an effort to decongest the Central Business District streets and parking.