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Matatu operators protest high levies

By Erick Abuga | Published Thu, September 13th 2018 at 00:00, Updated September 13th 2018 at 09:12 GMT +3

Transport was disrupted along the Kisii-Sotik road on Tuesday after matatu operators blocked the highway protesting high taxes.

A similar protest was also staged along the Kisii-Kilgoris road.

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Officers from Kisii Central Police Station lobbed teargas canisters to disperse the protesters who had blocked the road for more than three hours.

Hundreds of passengers were stranded at different bus termini.

According to Gusii Matatu Association officials, the county government had declined to lower levies.

Matatus operating along Kisii-Sotik road pay levies at Nyamira, Bomet and Kisii, amounting to Sh150 per trip. Alternatively, they are required to pay a fee of Sh3,500 to acquire a sticker every month.

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George Nyariki, the chairman of Gusii Matatu Association, said they had previously met Kisii County Deputy Governor Joash Maangi and agreed that the Sh3,500 should be reduced to Sh2,000 beginning September 1.

“Most of us have bought these vehicles on loan. We need to repay the loans but with such high levies, financial institutions will end up auctioning our vehicles,” said Mr Nyariki.

He called on Governor James Ongwae to convene a meeting and have the matter solved amicably.

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County Finance Executive Moses Onderi said matatu operators were incorporated in the process of preparing the the current Finance Act.

"All levies are within the law and therefore legal. All those with issues should be ready to participate in the making of the next Finance Bill. The current Act was approved by the County Assembly," said Mr Onderi.

Nyariki also accused a senior police officer at the Kisii Police Station of collecting bribes from individuals operating Probox matatus





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