Less traffic on city roads, activities reduced in CBD

Shops are closed along Ronald Ngala Street in Nairobi CBD during the Azimio demonstration in Nairobi on July 18, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Nairobi city roads are experiencing less traffic as a fresh round of three days of anti-government protests called by the Azimio Coalition starts today.

Unlike the last demonstrations when the majority of the workforce braced for the day and carried out their activities, the movement on the roads and estates is notably low.

Also, unlike other days when anti-riot police operate alone at the city centre alone, today City is witnessing several troops from National Youth Service.

The team has been deployed to man some areas among them supermarkets and hotels.

The NYS groups were spotted patrolling around all the way to the downtown areas of the city.

All the entries to the city centre however have anti-riot police on standby and monitoring those checking in the city centre.

In downtown areas, some shops and hotels were operational but traders kept an eye from outside in case of any eventuality.

A spot check by The Standard on various routes established that most of the matatu saccos parked their vehicles within the petrol stations and others in their yards unsure of how the day would unfold.

And those that drive into town, drop passengers and immediately drive out.

This was the case along Mombasa Road, Jogoo Road, Juja Road, Lang'ata Road and other roads, only a few matatus were ferrying passengers to the city centre from 6am in the morning.

Even so, Matatu Owners Association Chairperson (MOA) Albert Karakacha told The Standard that they did not send any communication to the matatu operators to keep off the roads.

"Some matatu owners have decided to keep off the roads as a precautionary measure, we have not directed anyone to stop their operations," Karakacha stated.

Pointing out, "We are also businesspeople and we hope that peace will be found so that we can continue serving Kenyans as usual."

Several other people who depend on Commuter services were affected after Kenya Railways suspended their services until further notice.

In a statement on Tuesday evening Kenya Railways said they suspended the services as precautionary measure following recent incidents during the anti-government protests.

"Our stations and trains were vandalized, putting passengers' lives at great risk. The corporation is compelled to take these measures for the safety of our customers," the statement read in part.

The affected routes include, Lukenya, Syokimau, Embakasi, Village, Ruiru, Kahawa west and Limuru.

Several city parking slots were deserted as motorists kept off the city centre; some estates were equally deserted as several shops remained closed.

The Azimio coalition insists that the demonstrations to push the government to lower the cost of living among other issues will continue for three days as planned.

For the better part of the week, several quarters have been calling upon President Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga to settle for a dialogue so as to end the current stalemate in vain.

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