Normalcy in Nairobi CBD ahead of Azimio protests

A shoe shiner attends to his client in Nairobi CBD on March 30, 2023. [Pkemoi Ng’enoh, Standard]

There is general calm in Nairobi’s City centre with residents going about their daily businesses normally ahead of todays antigovernment protests by Azimio la Umoja.

An early morning spot check by The Standard has established that transport is operating normally and most shops are opened. However, majority of the parking slots remain vacant.

As opposed to Monday where there was heavy police presence, today there is little police presence patrolling and taking vigil of strategic routes.

Some of the police trucks stationed within the CBD. [Pkemoi Ng’enoh, Standard]

Several matatu stages within the CBD are also busy as usual. From 6am, most of the residents headed to the city were already queueing to board available matatus.

For the first time since the demonstrations started, some routes witnessed traffic snarl-ups among them Jogoo, Landhies, and Lusaka roads.

Visibly, hordes of other people who rely on commuter trains had no option but to find other alternatives.

This is because for the second time this week, Kenya Railways announced the unavailability of their services over what they termed as unavailable circumstances.

City dwellers go about their business on Thursday morning ahead of Azkimio protests. [Pkemoi Ng’enoh, Standard]

"We wish to inform our customers that due to unavailable circumstances, commuter services scheduled for Thursday, March 30, 2023, have been suspended," Kenya Railways shared on Wednesday evening.

And today, there were no trains to serve residents who use the commuter train services into the city center.

Several people who work around the industrial area and who rely on the train were seen trekking from very early in the morning, mostly around Pipeline and Donholm areas.

Some of the city residents spotted trekking to work. [Pkemoi Ng’enoh, Standard]

Others affected are those who commute from Athi-River, Syokimau, Kahawa, Ruiru, Dandora, and Kibera, among other stopovers.

On Wednesday, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja said no one would be allowed to picket in the city.

This was after Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyongo asked the locals to take the demonstrations to Nairobi.

Nyongo has since changed his mind and communicated that peaceful demonstrations will go on in the lakeside city.

In Nairobi’s city centre, some electronic shops along Race Course Road and Ronald Ngala had opened as early as 6:30 am.

"There is life in town today compared to last week, some of us must come to town so that we can put the food on the table," a shoe shinner at Bus station said.

Traffic snurl-up along Landhies Road ahead of Azimio protests. [Pkemoi Ng’enoh, Standard]

He added: "We are happy that several people are stopping over at our stalls for quick shine before heading to there workplaces, peace for us means a lot.”

The anti-government protests enter second week, todays mark round two for this week even as calls for peace, and sobriety rings.

On Monday night, a church and mosque in Kibra were torched by goons who took advantage to loot at night after daylong of running battles with police.

At the same time, a land linked to former President Uhuru Kenyatta family was invaded and looted before a company associated with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was stoned by unknown people.

The Azimio coalition has placed their irreducible minimums and insisted the protests will go on until the demands are met.

Lowering the current high cost of living and formulation of an inclusive IEBC are among the demands.