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President Suluhu visit causes unforgiving traffic snarl-up on Mombasa Road

By Jael Mboga | May 4th 2021

Tanzania's new President Samia Suluhu Hassan inspects a guard of honour mounted by the Tanzania Peoples Defense Forces after she was sworn into office at State House in Dar es Salaam on March 19, 2021. [Reuters]

Motorists plying Mombasa Road are stuck in the unforgiving traffic caused by visiting Tanzania President Samia Suluhu.

Some were in traffic from as early as 6am and have not moved from the same spot until 10am.

Others have opted to use boda bodas or walk the rest of the way. Boda boda riders are charging Sh1,500 from Gatewayy Mall to Uhuru Park.

Motorists criticised the government for what they termed poor planning, saying other options like the train could have been explored to avoid the traffic snarl-up.

Others said there was no major announcement on President Suluhu's visit and that the major road would be closed for so many hours, inconveniencing many.

One matatu operator said, "We have lost money, the passengers have lost, the trains have lost possible revenue."

Others said to avoid the gridlock, trucks should also have been rerouted elsewhere or kept on one lane.

Part of the traffic snarl-up near Gatewayy Mall on Mombasa Road on May 4, 2021. [Robert Abong'o, Standard]

President Suluhu is arriving in Kenya for a two-day State visit following an invitation from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

From the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Samia’s entourage will use the Southern Bypass, then head to Lang’ata Road, Mbagathi Road, and access State House.

Motorists and commuters will continue spending longer hours in traffic for the rest of the year, as the construction of the Nairobi Expressway moves to an advanced stage.

The government argues this is a ‘small price to pay for the greater good for the 27km stretch, whose construction will ensure “seamless flow of traffic” among other economic benefits.

Mombasa Road plays host to scores of industries and offers access to the larger Industrial Area, which houses key firms in the manufacturing and logistics business.

Motorists snake their way through the traffic jam caused by the construction of the Nairobi Expressway along Mombasa road near Nyayo stadium. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

According to the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, traffic gridlocks cost the capital’s economy almost Sh110 billion ($1 billion) a year in lost productivity.

The construction works have over the past year burdened road users with long hours in traffic, with motorists having to contend with untimely disruptions. 

On April 10 Uhuru sent Sports CS Amina Mohamed to Tanzania to formally deliver Kenya’s invite to President Suluhu.

President Suluhu said her Government was ready to resolve all the differences – perceived or real – that Tanzania has with Kenya.

The Tanzanian leader said the two countries share a rich history, and that the ties should not end over issues that can be resolved.

President Suluhu said Tanzania and Kenya should revive the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC), which she suggested would play a crucial role in strengthening bilateral ties.

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