Matatu welfare, motorists reject State plan to toll roads

Southern Bypass toll station along Nairobi Expressway on January 9, 2024. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Motorist have rejected government's plan to charge additional levies on Kenyan roads through toll stations.

The Motorist Association of Kenya (MAK) and the Matatu Welfare Association (MWA), in a joint briefing said the move will burden commuters as cost will be passed down.

They also cautioned the government against what they termed as double taxation, at the fuel pump and on the roads.

“When the tax was introduced on fuel it incorporated anyone who uses the road hence no need of paying tax and also added levy on the road,” said John Katimbwa, MWA vice national chairman.

Katimbwa also noted that the plan lacks public participation saying the constitution is very clear on any decision affecting people the public must be involved.

Peter Murima, chairman MAK, said: “We know that this public roads in nature cannot be privatized. You cannot privatize existing public roads anywhere in the world.“

The two officials spoke on Tuesday during stakeholders meeting in Nairobi.

They were reacting to a proposal by Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen who asked Kenya National Highways Authority’s (KeNHA) to consider tolling key roads to raise money.

Murkomen said the money would help finance the Sh7.8 billion KeNHA five year strategic plan.

“It is upon KeNHA to determine how we will be able to toll more roads beyond that listed in the plan to make sure that we achieve a greater road network in the country,” Murkomen said last week.

Some of the road networks the CS proposed to pioneer the tolling process include Athi River-Namanga road, Galleria-Rongai-Ngong-Karen Shopping Centre.

Other roads Murkomen listed for tolling include Kiambu Road, Mombasa to Malaba, Corridor C and D roads which are Museum Hill-Moyale and Sirare- Lodwar respectively. 

But speaking on Tuesday, Murima of MAK wants KeNHA investigated, over what he term as deviating from its core mandate.

Murima also stated that the current work programs benefit a few well connected private entities at the expense of building and construction industry.

“We oppose the simultaneous existence of toll roads and the Road Maintenance Levy, as it amounts to double taxation and burdens the public, “Murima said.

MAK further stressed the importance of auditing Government to Government deals on fuel, emphasizing the need for scrutiny and oversight to prevent any misuse of public resources.

 “Auditing such deals will help maintain integrity of transactions, safeguard national interest, and ensure that the benefits of these agreements truly reach the citizens of Kenya, “Said Peter.