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Remove ‘matatus’, ‘chokoras’ and hawkers in Nairobi CBD

By DrNjenga Solomon | April 2nd 2016

Nairobi, popularly known as “Green City in the Sun", has completely been mutilated! The invasion of city streets by beggars, hawkers, ‘chokoras’, ‘bodaboda’ and ‘matatus’ is worrying! More worrying is the inability of the county government of Nairobi to reign over this madness!

The county government of Nairobi has relegated its role as the custodian of law and order and instead, it has become partners to this menace. Cartels have taken over our CBD and this will cost us greatly in the now and in the near future. Failing to enforce policies and regulations that already exist is chocking growth and development in Nairobi Central Business istrict (CBD).

Congestion in any CBD in the world costs the economy millions due to insecurity, dirtiness and unnecessary delays and wastage of fuel due to traffic jams. This is why measures to remove beggars, ‘bodabodas’, hawkers and ‘matatus’ must be enforced.

Plans such as creation of parking spaces and introduction of dedicated lanes for buses and emergency vehicles will be taken to ensure we unclog our city for prosperity and safety. ‘Matatu’ operators notorious for flouting rules, are increasingly getting bolder in the city centre, picking up and dropping passengers at undesignated areas.

This is happening as new bus stops crop up, with use of some roads restricted, worsening the situation. The Nairobi County government should issue an immediate directive to authorize cancellation of all parking permits for public service vehicles in the CBD and allocate them different venues out of the CBD.

The move will among other things help to bring an end to the traffic snarl up, insecurity and dirtiness in the city center. The hawkers and street beggars have invaded the streets, raising security concerns among the city’s residents, since they obstruct access to shops and supermarkets.

The influxes of all these nuisances in the CBD have made city traders threaten not to pay land rates and licenses to the county government as their businesses are suffering due to ‘matatu’ operators parking their vehicles outside their premises.

Indeed, the traders have every right not to remit payments to City Hall as their businesses are seriously affected by this obstruction. This indiscipline has to stop. Implementing the stringent laws which are already in place is what Kidero has failed. Construction of hawkers’ streets and booths outside CBD, building parking complexes outside CBD, elimination of roundabouts and roads expansion are among proposals to decongest the capital city.

Dr. Njenga, Solomon Ph.D

Dean - School of Governance, Peace and Security

Africa Nazarene University, Kenya

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