Row erupts over space allocation at Nakuru's new terminus

RIFT VALLEY |

Central Rift Matatu Owners Association Stephen Muli (left) emphasized the need for democracy in the allocation of the available space. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]

A fresh row has erupted in Nakuru City following the move by the county government to allocate some public transport Saccos slots at the new bus terminus on Monday.

A plan to storm the new terminus by members of disgruntled Saccos, led by local politicians on Tuesday morning, was foiled after the county security committee called for a meeting with them.

The stakeholders led by London Ward representative Anthony Nzuki said they had reached an agreement with the security committee to intervene on the matter.

"The county government has been making unilateral decisions on matters public transport. The security committee has asked for two days to engage with the county leadership," said Nzuki.

The matatu operators were ejected from the city centre in March last year to reduce congestion at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic but were not allowed back when other measures were relaxed.

Nzuki, in whose ward the new terminus is located, said they were ready to have a peaceful engagement with the county government, but their plea had fallen on deaf ears.

"How the new terminus was shared among a few Saccos was not fair. They locked out many of us. We are not fighting the county but for fairness as deserved," he said.

Central Rift Matatu Owners Association Stephen Muli emphasized the need for democracy in the allocation of the available space to ensure there is no bad blood among the members.

Matatu owners at Nakuru City's newly constructed bus terminus, December 2, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

"It is unfortunate the county government is attempting to divide us by favouring some Saccos over others. If we shall not have made progress by Friday, we shall take the next move,” said Muli.

He said that politics should not determine their business environment.

“It is against the spirit of our constitution for a government to discriminate its people over their political affiliation. It is unethical and a move that is likely to kill our businesses,” said Muli.

He said over half of the Saccos operating on various routes in the county had been left out to continue operating in the outskirts of the city.

“37 Saccos which have nearly three thousand matatus have been excluded. They employ double this number of people and feed their families. We will not allow them to go hungry as others eat,” said Muli.

He further called on investigating agencies to probe those involved in the allocation of spaces at the terminus, saying there was a likelihood of bribery by the Saccos allowed in.

“We urge the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to dig deeper into this matter. We believe hands exchanged money for public amenities,” said Muli.

Former Nakuru Mayor Kariko Mwangi urged the county government to redesign access routes for the new terminus, terming them as dangerous for the users.

“The exit of the new terminus directly joins a major roundabout. There are no designated places for pedestrians to cross the highway, posing a grave danger for motorists and pedestrians,” said Mwangi.

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