Take us back to CBD, matatus tell Nakuru governor-elect Susan Kihika

Governor-elect Susan Kihika speaks at Ngomongo polling station in Bahati, Nakuru County, on August 9, 2022. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

Only a day after Senator Susan Kihika was declared Nakuru governor-elect, matatu operators in the county have begun a plot to return their operations to the Central Business District (CBD).

During her campaigns, Kihika capitalised on their eviction, promising them that if elected, she would facilitate their return to the old bus terminus in the town centre.

“I understand the challenges that the eviction has caused to the sector and the businesses that depended on the terminus. Once elected, I will ensure matatus return to town,” said Kihika.

The operators were evicted from the CBD by Governor Lee Kinyanjui’s administration in 2020 to address congestion that left motorists stranded for hours.

“As a city, we must come up with strategies to address congestion. We relocated the terminus to the outskirts of the city and we have secured more land to set up a modern bus park,” said Kinyanjui.

As a temporary solution, his administration set up three new termini outside the town where matatus have been operating for the past three years amid disquiet from the operators.

With Kihika’s election, the Central Rift Matatu Owners Association, led by their Chairman Stephen Muli, on Saturday convened a meeting to deliberate on their return to the CBD.

“We tried seeking an audience with Kinyanjui but he turned us down. We supported Kihika and now that she is set to take over as governor, we are counting on her promise,” said Muli.

The eviction had been done in line with Covid-19 containment measures before the county announced that the matatus would not be allowed back.

This was followed by running battles between them and the police as the operators attempted to force their way back to the CBD without success on several occasions.

Association vice-chair Francis Njoroge said their return will be controlled especially on the number of matatus within the town centre.