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Matiang'i caught up in Limuru anti-roadblocks demo

By George Njunge | June 16th 2020

A traffic snarl-up along the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway at Rironi in Limuru yesterday. A demonstration caused the jam. [George Njunge, Standard]

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i was caught up in public protests over a roadblock along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway. 

Matatu operators, Limuru business community and members of the public yesterday blocked the road to protest a roadblock erected at Rironi, which had a fortnight ago been moved further to Lari.

Dr Matiang'i, who was travelling to Nyandurua, found a massive snarl-up from Rironi to Kamandura, prompting him to address the gathering.

“Thank you all for making your voices heard; we shall see what to do for you and before the close of business tomorrow you will see our action. We don't want to see you suffer,” Matiang'i said amid cheers.

The more than 300 demonstrators marched to the roadblock demanding its removal. Peter Kiongo, a secretary to one of the matatu saccos taking part in the protests, presented a petition to the officers manning the roadblock.

In the petition seen by The Standard, the community said while it fully supported the government move to curb the spread of Covid-19, the erection of eight roadblocks within one sub-county was tantamount to economic sabotage and ill will.

The roadblocks are at Rusigeti, Mutarakwa, Kwa Mathoore, Cianda, Kentimere, Redhill, Ngecha, Rironi and Nazareth.

The petition stated that the Rironi roadblock had resulted in the whole sub-county being placed under ungazetted lockdown, which they said had adversely affected businesses and occasioned job losses. 

They demanded that the roadblock be moved to ease movement to and from Nairobi.

The Rironi roadblock that was reinstated on June 12 at around 6pm has particularly angered the residents. Robert Githire, one of the organisers of the demonstration, claimed the roadblock has become an extortion stop where matatus, cars and trucks cough between Sh100 and Sh500 to be allowed through.

Peter Muiruri, another resident, said Limuru is within Nairobi metropolis and wondered why the town has been cut off. 

Margaret Njeri, a resident of Rironi, said even getting to hospitals had become a tall order.

”We can't access Kiambu or Nazareth hospitals. Tigoni is closed and moving to Kikuyu is not even an option. This is unfair,” Njeri lamented.

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