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City Hall, Nairobi MCAs battle for control of lucrative Matatu stages

By Josphat Thiong'o | March 9th 2020

A fight for control of Nairobi Matatu stages has erupted between the County Executive and city MCAs.

The battle for the allocation of pick up, drop off points and extension of routes in the capital on Monday escalated with County government now accusing MCAs of interference.

Governor Mike Sonko (pictured) has promised action on those responsible for the mess.

In February, City Hall halted the issuance of new licences to Matatu saccos following revelations that more than 400 unregistered Matatu saccos were operating illegally.

Data relayed by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) revealed that there were only 272 registered saccos operating in Nairobi against a figure of 692 saccos as indicated by City Hall records.

Members of the Nairobi Assembly Transport committee blamed the disconnect between Transport and Parking sub-sectors for the surge in the number of unregistered Matatu saccos and even accused Director of Parking Services Tom Tinega, of overstepping his mandate.

They said Tinega got involved in the issuance of pick-up and drop-off points, route extensions and loading zones, which were functions of those in the Transport sector.

The executive has now accused the Assembly of interference in its functions, blaming acting Clerk Monicah Muthami for meddling in the operations of the Executive.

Muthami was accused of appointing an officer from the Executive to be in charge of issuance of pick up and drop off points as well as route extension contrary to Section 9(2) of the County Government Act. The act stipulates that a member of the county assembly shall not be directly or indirectly involved in the executive functions of the county government and its administration.

On February 3, 2020, Muthami is said to have written a letter to the Director-General of NTSA informing the transport agency of a resolution by the Nairobi County Assembly Transport Committee designating Director of Public Works and Transport Engineer Jeremy Kimathi as the officer in charge of writing, signing and issuing pick up and drop points and approving of route extensions on behalf of the County Executive.

“…The purpose of this letter is, therefore, to notify your office of the resolution and request you to recognise only letters written and signed by the designated officer as above,” stated the letter signed by Muthami.

In response to the letter, Engineer Kimathi, on February 7, 2020, approved route extension to Expreso Limited to cover Kiserian-Rongai-KNH-Kenyatta Avenue-Ambassador-Moi Service Lane-Railways-Kabiria-Dagoretti Market and Karen. This was after a route extension request dated January 13, 2020, by the Sacco.

 “There is no objection to your request to operate the requested routes as per your route service license. The picking and dropping points are designated for the route and all operators on that route are expected to operate from the designated picking points only and for that route only,” read the letter by Kimathi.

“…You are further reminded that only the vehicles picking and dropping passengers will be allowed into the terminus and the company or Sacco will be required to look for their own holding ground,” it added.

Kimathi also approved route extension requests by Safaris Company Limited and Latema Travellers Bus.

The Sacco had sought to operate the Kangeni-James Gichuru-Lavington-Kawangware-Kabiria-Ngong Road-Kenyatta Avenue-Odeon route, which it was granted.

Officers from the parking and transport department are expected to appear before the Public Transport committee tomorrow for grilling.

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