Gachagua tells Sakaja to go slow on city traders

Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has asked Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja to go slow on some key decisions that could hurt city traders.

In the widely circulated two-minute video clip, the deputy president is heard saying he was the one who marshalled votes for Sakaja.

“We are the ones who chose him. I’m the one who directed some voters to support him. Some decisions that he makes and are likely to spoil businesses in Nairobi, we must sit with him and agree on them,” Gachagua says in the video.

“We don’t want to move with such speed. Any decision to remove matatus will not be allowed; that is not possible. I don’t want to disturb the traders.”

He said the same had happened in Nakuru during Governor Lee Kinyanjui's regime and he was happy that Governor Susan Kihika had promised to allow matatus back to the Central Business District (CBD).

“Sakaja is a good young man and governor and we will have a talk and agree on how the traders will operate in Nairobi without being disturbed,” Gachagua said.

His remarks come days after Governor Sakaja directed long-distance public service vehicles to vacate the city centre and operate from the new Green Park bus terminus.

The bus terminus which cost up to Sh250 million was set up to help decongest and bring order in the Nairobi CBD. The construction of the terminus began in November 2020.

But after several tests by the now-defunct Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), it emerged that the terminus was not convenient for town service.

This informed the decision to relocate matatus plying long-distance routes to the terminus after Sakaja held a meeting with some operators.

Despite its completion about four months ago, some city matatu operators commonly known as town service had declined to move to the terminus.

And when the long-distance PSVs were asked to move to Green Park, they declined and moved to court, saying it was unfair to be evicted from the city centre where they had been operating for many years.

The matatu saccos argued that the directive comes on eve of the peak festive season and could exposed them to losses.

They also argued that relocation could inconvenience long-distance travellers who predominantly travel with heavy luggage.

Among other issues, the operators told the court that the directive only aimed at the  long-distance PSVs would give a competitive edge to other matatus plying the same routes.

The operators said this would render the saccos moved out of the city centre less competitive and unpopular among passengers carrying heavy luggage.